ESL, DreamHack unveil revised ESL Pro Tour 2021 format

The ESL Pro Tour for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive will feature an altered format and a new dedicated studio in 2021, sister companies ESL and DreamHack announced this week.

The updated format will expand all major tournaments into a dual-weekend format with a greater focus on original content, along with tentative plans for live competitions.

ESL Pro Tour 2021
Image credit: ESL

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Ulrich Schulze, Senior Vice President of Product at ESL, commented in a release: “The new vision of ESL Pro Tour CS:GO is part of our ongoing mission to place players and fans at the centre of the esports experience. The dynamic double weekend format will maximise excitement and content for fans around the world, while players will benefit from a more balanced competitive schedule. […] With this new format, ESL Pro Tour will bring players and fans alike closer to the action.”

All told, the season will feature more than $5 million (£3.9 million) in total prizing. The first weekend of each major tournament will take place at the newly-constructed ESL Pro Tour studio, which is built with COVID-19 restrictions in mind. Teams that advance to the second weekend will travel to the location of the planned live event, and the additional time will be used to produce original content around the playoff teams.

ESL notes that the new format will spread out matches for teams and reduce the amount of travel, while also putting a larger spotlight on the finals for fans planned to be in attendance for the second weekend of each major tournament.

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Each of the eight planned majors will feature at least 16 teams and a prize pool between $250,000 (£196,500) and $1 Million (£786,000). The season will begin with Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) Katowice in Poland, which is planned as a live competition from February 16-28th, 2021.

EPL: Season 13 is planned for Malta from March to April, DreamHack Masters will take place somewhere in Europe in June, and ESL One Cologne will take place in Germany in July. IEM Melbourne is planned for August, EPL: Season 14 in Malta will take place between September and October, and IEM events are planned for North America in October and Asia in December.

Mike Van Driel, Chief Product Officer at DreamHack, added: “The launch of the ESL Pro Tour during last fall meant a huge leap forward in creating a sustainable ecosystem for the CS:GO scene—focusing on both amateurs and professionals in order to create a true ‘zero to hero’ opportunity. The new vision we’re announcing today shows that we’ll continue to develop this ecosystem as we strive to create the best format possible for the community and players alike.”

Esports Insider says: The ESL Pro Tour’s debut CS:GO season was definitely muted by the pandemic, but it sounds like ESL and DreamHack are trying a few different things for 2021.

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