Tournament organiser ESL Gaming has extended its partnership with independent non-profit foundation GamingMalta until 2024.
As a result, the ESL Pro League will host its Conference Stage and Group Stage in Malta until the end of Season 20.
The agreement is said to focus on growing Malta’s esports ecosystem through the use of local tournaments and conferences. According to a release, this in theory should set up development structures that give aspiring players and teams from Malta more opportunities.
The ESL Pro League Season 16 Group Stage is set to take place in Malta from August 31st to September 25th. Moreover, a live audience has been confirmed for the Playoffs.
This season’s Conference Stage took place in Jönköping, Sweden. Teams compete for ESL’s $850,000 (~£ 719,185) total prize pool, with the winner of Season 16 qualifying for the BLAST World Finals 2022 as well as IEM Katowice 2023.
ESL Gaming first stuck a partnership with GamingMalta in 2020 in order to establish talent pathways through the tournament organisers’ esports structure.
Over the past few months, ESL has seemingly looked to bolster the regional ecosystem in CS:GO. This includes launching affiliate tournaments with third-party companies; securing partnerships for its regional competitions and rebranding its national leagues.
At ESI London, taking place September 5-7th, ESL Pro League’s Commissioner will also be speaking on a panel discussing how esports can offer destinations more opportunities.
Set up by the Government of Malta and the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), GamingMalta is primarily associated with the iGaming world. According to its website, the foundation is tasked with promoting Malta as a hub for the gaming sector and is responsible for liaising with local relevant authorities to improve the country’s reputation.
Ivan Filletti, CEO of the GamingMalta Foundation, commented: “Growing the local esports ecosystem is a vital part of our strategic efforts to ensure that we build a strong esports structure.
“Our partnership with ESL ensures that not only do we host international ESL tournaments in Malta but builds on the zero to hero concept whereby local esports athletes participate in localised ESL events, thought leadership sessions and a sustainable esports business environment.”