ESL Pro League 2019 to feature live studio group stage matches in new format

ESL and WESA have announced details of the new CS:GO Pro League format for the 9th season which will get underway in April 2019. The brand new format will feature live studio matches, a groups system and an increase to 16 teams in Europe, Americas and Asia-Pacific regions. 

ESL Thomas Schmidt

As aforementioned, the new season will get underway in April 2019, with each region competing in four groups – consisting of four teams in each group. The groups will be pre-seeded based on ESL’s CS:GO World Ranking. The group matches in Europe and America will take place in an offline environment, with ESL UK’s Leicester studio playing host to the European fixtures and a to-be-announced studio in America doing the same. The Asia-Pacific region remains online. 

The confirmed slots per region are as follows:

– Europe: 4 groups from Europe

– Americas: 3 groups from North America, 1 group from Latin America

– Asia-Pacific: 2 groups from Australia/New Zealand, 1 group from Greater China, 1 group from Southeast Asia

The winners of the European and American groups will receive a direct spot in the season finals, with the teams that come second and third proceeding to a second round of group stages. In Asia-Pacific, the winners and runners-up are able to secure a second group stage slot. 

During the second group stage, European teams must come first or second to play at the finals – whereas only the winners of the America and Asia-Pacific regions will proceed further. The new format will see the CS:GO Pro League conclude after a maximum of four weeks, thus taking up a significantly smaller portion of the CS:GO calendar. 

“The CS:GO Pro League will return with a brand new format featuring live studio matches in Europe and North America, offering more teams the chance to earn one of the coveted spots in the toughest CS:GO league to date,” said Ulrich Schulze, Senior Vice President at ESL. “We want to provide players, teams and the passionate CS:GO fans all around the world with the best possible experience – esports at its purest.”

“WESA’s goal was to bring Pro League to the next level. With the great commercial and competitive success of recent years we are grateful to be in the position to invest into improving Pro League even further. We want to make it more attractive for users and players who expressed their interest in improving the schedule, in order to have more time to prepare for matches,” commented Pietro Fringuelli, Commissioner of WESA. “With the new high-quality production in offline locations as well as the new league format, we are confident that the games will become even more attractive and more competitive than ever.”

Esports Insider says: We know that most players hate playing online so a move to a LAN environment is one likely to be welcomed by professionals. Also, having a more concise calendar can only be good for CS:GO in general and it frees up more time for offline events. Here’s to a cracking 2019.