ESL Meisterschaft, a German esports league operated by tournament organiser ESL FACEIT Group (EFG) and esports and gaming agency Freaks 4U Gaming, is celebrating its 50th season.
The league, which first started in 2002, will feature CS:GO, Warcraft III, and Teamfight Tactics (TFT) in the upcoming season starting on March 6th.
ESL Meisterschaft’s CS:GO competition will see 12 teams compete for its €50,000 (~£44,395) prize pool and a chance to qualify for the IEM Cologne play-in stage. Additionally, the Warcraft III and TFT seasons feature prize pools of €11,750 (~£10,436) and €12,500 (~£11,101), respectively.
Freaks 4U Gaming became the license holder for ESL Meisterschaft in October 2021. This sees the company produce content for the domestic league, which is open to players in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Over the past two decades, the league has primarily focused on CS:GO but has expanded into Warcraft III and TFT in recent years.
ESL Meisterschaft started as the ESL Pro Series, acting as a platform for aspiring players to ascend to the top of their respective titles. For CS:GO, the likes of Berlin International Gaming (BIG) will field an academy team in 2023, alongside ALTERNATE aTTaX and Entropy Gaming
In 2022, ESL Meisterschaft merged with 99Liga to create ESL Meisterschaft by 99Damage for the DACH region. The league continues to act as one of the region’s largest circuits, consolidating Germany’s position as one of continental Europe’s largest esports markets.
Ralf Reichert, Executive Chairman of ESL FACEIT Group, spoke on ESL Meisterschaft’s milestone: “ESL Meisterschaft, back then it was called ESL Pro Series, was the first professional building block, and the most important of its time, to establish esports in Germany.
“It was the first league that created truly magical moments for players and fans. ESL’s mission, ‘From Zero to Hero,’ that anyone can make it to the top, originated from this league. We are glad to have Freaks 4U Gaming on board as they continue to shape the league’s future.”