Modern Times Group properties ESL and DreamHack have entered a three-year strategic agreement with Blizzard Entertainment.
StarCraft II and Warcraft III: Reforged will receive their own ESL Pro Tour circuits with respective prize pools of $1.8 million and over US $200,000 in 2020 as part of the deal.
As a replacement of the StarCraft II World Championship Series, the ESL Pro Tour StarCraft II will have tournaments in at least four continents. The qualifying format for the circuit will be based off of the existing WCS system, with the first season being made up of seven tournaments: two IEM events, four DreamHack stops, and a Masters Championship at IEM Katowice in 2021.
Sebastian Weishaar, CPO at ESL discussed the deal in a release: “We feel extremely honored to establish a new home for RTS esports fans and be responsible for two of the most prestigious esports titles of all time. ESL and DreamHack are deeply rooted within Blizzard esports games and have built ecosystems around them for years now. Tying both StarCraft II and Warcraft III into the ESL Pro Tour narrative is our contribution to these passionate communities and will provide both titles with a promising platform to continue writing esports history.”
The ESL Pro Tour WarCraft III: Reforged has also been announced, comprised of one ESL competition and three DreamHack events – all working towards a championship tournament to be held later in 2020. The newly-announced ESL Pro Tours will have weekly ESL Open Cups to support the amateur communities of each title.
J. Allen Brack, President of Blizzard Entertainment also commented on the landmark agreement: “We are so proud that StarCraft II and Warcraft III are home to two of the most passionate, storied and devoted communities in esports history. Both ESL and DreamHack have been long-standing partners for our esports, and we want to give our players, talent, content creators and fans the stability inherent in a long-term relationship, keeping these communities thriving for yearsto come.”
Both circuits join the ESL Pro Tour for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive which was initially unveiled in September last year.
Esports Insider says: This could well be one of the biggest stories of the year and it’s only January 7th! With Blizzard Entertainment typically being very controlling over its games’ competitive endeavors, the ESL Pro Tour format must have been a big sell when discussing with MTG. We can’t wait to see how both circuits are received one they get going.