ESL, a prominent esports tournament organizer, has announced the discontinuation of several national championships in CS:GO. This decision comes ahead of the game’s anticipated transition to Counter-Strike 2.
ESL clarified that moving forward, regional and national competitions will no longer be a primary focus for the company. Consequently, its CS:GO leagues in various countries, including Benelux, France, Spain, Turkey, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Germany, Poland, the UK, and Ireland, will see their final seasons in 2023 or early 2024.
This essentially means that ESL is streamlining its CS:GO tournament operations, making a significant shift in its approach. ESL and its parent company, ESL FACEIT Group, have expressed their willingness to collaborate with third-party organizers to support teams that have been part of these national leagues.
In a statement, ESL acknowledged that they have operated two distinct ecosystems for competitive Counter-Strike: the nation-based model, as seen in ESL Meisterschaft in Germany and ESL Premiership in the UK, and a ‘borderless system,‘ which involves teams from various regions and countries competing in pan-regional tournaments.
According to ESL, managing these two systems simultaneously placed a strain on their ability to focus and resulted in compatibility issues across different ESL Pro Tour properties. Over time, it became increasingly evident that the borderless system offers a more dynamic and flexible foundation for the EPT and a better path for aspiring teams and players to climb the ranks.
Notably, some National Championships will not have their final seasons this year, including Benelux, France, Spain, and Turkey. Other regional and national competitions will play their final season in 2023 before concluding in 2024.
Although the closure of these national and regional championships raises concerns about opportunities for smaller regional teams, ESL has stated that the best teams from Germany and Poland will still have the chance to compete in prestigious events like the IEM Katowice and IEM Cologne tournaments. Additionally, ESL has reached out to affected teams to explore “alternative opportunities,” although specifics about these opportunities have not been disclosed.
This announcement comes despite the $1.5 billion merger between ESL and FACEIT in early 2022, where the company pledged to support the development of local scenes and grassroots esports, as well as invest heavily in the path-to-pro for emerging players.
While the discontinuation of national and regional competitions may limit some opportunities for up-and-coming esports talent, it remains to be seen how ESL will adapt existing resources like ESEA and FACEIT matchmaking to further nurture players and teams on their journey to professional esports.
Impact on Esports Betting
With the discontinuation of these championships, the landscape of esports betting may experience a notable shift. The variety of matches and competitions that bettors have grown accustomed to might become scarcer as the focus shifts towards the ‘borderless system,’ emphasizing pan-regional tournaments.
Esports betting platforms, bookmakers, and enthusiasts will need to adapt to these changes. They might find themselves looking more closely at pan-regional events, while also keeping an eye on the evolving structure of ESL’s tournaments and collaborations with third-party organizers. The betting odds and dynamics could change as a result.
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