Competition heats up to claim a piece of Counter-Strike's massive, growing audience
Next year promises to be huge for esports and for Counter-Strike in particular. The shooter franchise has developed into one of the most-watched games in esports, and everyone wants a piece of that pie.
Turner Broadcasting plans to create its own esports league to broadcast matches on its cable television network TBS. The Modern Times Group reportedly bought a controlling interest in the ESL and seeks to add DreamHack to its portfolio, according to a report last week by Richard Lewis on Breitbart. And now, in the face of Turner and ESL potentially monopolizing teams and the event schedule, Lewis is reporting that other major organizers are banding together to create their own competitive circuit.
Major League Gaming (MLG), CEVO, Gfinity, Pro Gaming League (PGL), FACEIT, and StarLadder represent the biggest esports tournament organizers outside of ESL and DreamHack, and they want to make sure they aren’t pushed out of the Counter-Strike conversation. So they want to create their own circuit. Lewis reports the partnership has agreed to a minimum of $5 million and up to $9 million, though it's not clear if that figure is prize money or some other value.
The partnership comes in response to fears that the MTG-led group may be trying to sign teams to their league exclusively, according to one of the article's sources: "We are told this agreement would forbid them from playing in any other league and the only other tournaments they’d be allowed to attend would be [Valve’s own] the majors."
It’s clear there’s a power struggle going on behind the scene in Counter-Strike. The reason behind organizations like MLG and CEVO teaming up is likely a fear that they’ll be on the outside looking in as others benefit from a growing esports titan. While there may be some worries regarding the potential for exclusive competitions, it’s just another sign that esports is bigger than ever.
Image via Counter-Strike | H/T Breitbart