ESL, the most prominent tournament organizer in esports, has introduced a brand new team-owned structure. It is for CS: GO competitions. They are trying to bring sustainability and boost profits in the competitive gaming tournament scene and eSports teams are excited about it.
The Louvre Agreement
The founding members of this newly made league are thirteen teams. They gathered in Paris to iron out details of what is now called the “Louvre Agreement” in January. Therefore, these teams will not be charged for the entry and will get long-term league slots. Moreover, a selection of eleven other groups according to the world rankings will also take place.
Twenty-four esports teams will have ESL Pro League’s ownership. They will also share profits and revenue from all CS: GO tournaments by ESL. The eleventh season of the ESL Pro League begins on 16th March.
What eSports Teams Are a Part of This New League?
Some of the top-ranked clubs in esports are a part of this new partnership. These include Team Liquid (with a net worth of approximately $320 million according to Forbes), Astralis, and mousesports.
Moreover, this news comes right after the Flashpoint announcement. The team-owned CS: GO league points to a new future for esports with its UFC-like broadcasts. It has announced teams like Immortals Gaming, Cloud9 and Gen.G. These are some of the best esports teams in the world. However, presently they are not the top-ranked in CS: GO.
ESL is the largest esports tournaments organizer in the world. In 2015, Modern Times Group, a Swedish media company, purchased a majority stake of $87 million in Turtle Entertainment. This company owns ESL.
We are proud to announce an exciting agreement between us and leading Counter-Strike teams!
— ESL Counter-Strike (@ESLCS) February 18, 2020
The co-CEO and founder of Team Liquid Victor Goossens also commented on the formation of this new league. According to him, they have been trying to create a framework that ensures a sustainable future for the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive ecosystem since the last year and a half. This new organization will make use of their combined strengths to pave a successful path forward. This would be beneficial for every person involved- from tournament organizers and teams to players and fans. Therefore, he considers it a monument agreement and believes it is a milestone for the entire esports industry.
It seems as if the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive professional scene will serve as a proving ground for team-owned leagues in esports.
Other esports events are either publisher-run tournaments such as the Call of Duty League (which requires club owners to buy franchise slots that reportedly cost $25 million). Or they are a collective of events by third-party organizers. An example is ESL.
The president of Cloud9, Dan Fiden, hinted last month as to why there is a need for new, better formats. The club loses around one to two million dollars every year in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, with ESL paying about seventy thousand dollars in 2019.
The fresh format of the ESL Pro League has already struck growing pains- early changes mean teams that have already won a slot will not participate in the upcoming season of the league.
One of the top players in esports, whose organization has been a part of the ESL Pro League for a long time, also expressed his feelings regarding this on Twitter:
“Just imagine YOU do qualifiers for a spot in the league then they cancel and send your team home, what pathetic organizers.”
Just imagine YOU do qualifiers for spot in TO league then they cancel and send your team home, what a pathetic organizers
— Sasha (@s1mpleO) January 25, 2020