ESL has announced a host of changes to its CS:GO tournament, the ESL Pro League. ESL has stated that these changes have been made with the aim of “ensuring a more global representation of teams in the core of the tournament while maximising the importance of each match”.
The changes have been made after discussions with all the partner teams of the Louvre Agreement and will be in effect from ESL Pro League Season 17, which is scheduled for February 2023.
Changes that will be made are as follows:
- There will be an increase in the number of teams participating in the Group Stages. It was 24 before and will change to 32. This will include 15 Partner teams, 3 teams from the ESL World Rankings, 3 teams from the ESL Challenger and 11 teams from the EPL Conference.
- The format will change from a round-robin format to a double-elimination group with last chance bracket.
- The EPL Conference will be moved online to have 11 teams advance to the Group Stages. This will be the final time the Conference Stage will be held.
- The schedule will be cut down from six weeks to five. The new schedule will see ESL Pro League Season 17 held from February 22 to March 26, 2023.
- Broadcast streams will be cut down from A, B and C to only A and B streams. The 26 days of the tournament will see a total of ten B stream matches.
- ESL has also stated that there will be a new philosophy and production setup for the show with respect to broadcasting.
Shaun Clark, Senior Director of Game Ecosystems – CS:GO, commented:
“Our mission is to serve the community, and every discussion and decision taken keeps this in mind. Throughout 2022 we’ve been assessing the state of the ESL Pro League and striving to make positive changes to the product. The three priorities we set were to add more meaningful matches, to accommodate a larger and more global representation of teams, and to improve the broadcast experience. We believe the changes we’ve started to roll out, with more to come, are putting us on the right track moving forward.“
Alex Inglot, Commissioner of the ESL Pro League, added:
“In the spirit of collaboration that characterises the Louvre Agreement, and the desire to continue improving and progressing our CS:GO events and ecosystem, I strongly believe that we have come up with a new iteration of the ESL Pro League that takes things forward. This new format not only injects heightened drama and jeopardy into every game, but it also means more teams get to compete in the Group Stage, and more teams get to challenge in the playoff stage as well. Once we finalise and roll out the new production offering that will sit between the games, I am sure the ESL Pro League will become even more compelling and entertaining.“