The ESL Counter-Strike Pro League will have plenty of changes next season and they were announced via Twitter earlier this week.
“We are happy to announce some exciting changes to ESLProLeague!
Expanding from 24 to 34 teams
A new stage: Conference
All EPT Challenger level competitions now qualify for EPL
Season 15 to function as transitional season”
The buzz is all about upgrading for the 2022 season and if what we are reading is right then we should expect a more streamlined path for teams to advance within the ESL Pro Tour. We will also see that the EPL will host all of the EPT Challenger tournaments. We should also expect the ESL Pro League to be extended by a full week and a stage called the EPL Conference will be similar to the IEM Cologne and IEM Katowice play-ins. There will be 16 teams that will earn entry into the ESL Pro League solely through the EPT Challenger Competitions.
The ESL Pro League will be bumped from 24 to 34 teams starting from Season 15 on and there will be one more week of competition which will up the ante on prize money to $850,000. Also, if a team wins an EPT Challenger competition they will qualify for the ESL Pro League. And the news has captured the attention of the sports gambling world as many of the betting platforms that carry esports odds will be offering lines on virtually all of the contests.
DreamHack & ESL Parting Ways
Another piece of big news is that DreamHack will no longer be in the picture. The two are parting ways and Marc Winther, Kristensen Senior Product Manager, of ESL Gaming, had a series of tweets that explained the move.
“Anyone who has followed CS:GO for a while will notice the DreamHack brand no longer being part of the ESL Pro Tour. Making that decision was not the easiest, but we’re confident it was the right one.
“It started with defining how we saw the ESL & DreamHack brands serving their respective purposes when now organized in the same entity. This followed two fairly large branding processes in which both ESL (2019) & DreamHack (2020) had respectively defined their brand positioning.
“Although the result of that process is not trivial to explain, and did not come without a series of tough considerations, it came down to ESL being the brand we see building consistent and clear paths for players to go from their first match, all the way to lifting the IEM trophy.
“DreamHack, on the other hand, is where we see the gaming community come to life. Although esports undoubtedly made DreamHack what it is today, it was never the only part of the DreamHack experience. After all, it started as a demo party in 1994 and has been evolving since.
“In the past years, esports was necessary to DreamHack’s growth, but the merger with ESL allowed us to reflect on the brand’s future from a different perspective. For the first time in a long while, we could invest in DreamHack as a platform for everything gaming again.
“Based on this, going into 2022 and forward, we categorized our esports in one of two ways. Is it an attempt to build durable large-scale esports ecosystems focused on developing a path to pro? Or is it one component of many, focused on the casual participatory elements?
“Our CS:GO brands are some of the biggest in our portfolio, and so you’re seeing the results of this process here first. We’ll be repeating the exercise for brands in all of our ecosystems, both existing and future ones.
“Does that mean there’ll no longer be DreamHack-branded esports? No. Esports is very much still a core element of DreamHack. But rather than being alongside an IEM in an ESL Pro Tour, it’ll be along things like LAN parties, cosplay, speedrunning, indie games, and much more.
“DreamHack will also remain the physical platform in which many ESL-branded CS:GO tournaments will take place. In other words, you can still watch some CS, scream “hallå”, listen to metal, and round off with some SSBM all in the same day & place.
“I personally attended my first DreamHack festival in 2007 and have now been to more than 50 DH events as either a volunteer, freelancer, visitor or as a full-time employee. All of which has been due to my passion for the game of Counter-Strike.
“I’m looking forward to many more unique and one of a kind experiences in the future and opening the door to this wonderful world to my son once he’s old enough. Much like parents of my generation have done with their kids.
“A lot of the same people that were there in 2007 when I first got introduced to the DreamHack festivals are still there and Counter-Strike still holds a special place in the heart of the festivals world wide. While change is coming, DreamHack is definitely not going anywhere!”
Source: Plato Data Intelligence