BLAST Premier Counter-Strike 2 circuit revamped for 2025

BLAST Premier
Image credit: BLAST

Esports tournament organiser BLAST has unveiled plans to overhaul its Counter-Strike 2 circuit, following Valve’s decision to mandate a more open Counter-Strike esports ecosystem.

Plans include a revamped BLAST Premier format with standalone tournaments, which the company said will result in more broadcast hours and more teams participating in its events.

ESI Lisbon 2024

Changes to the BLAST Premier format follow game developer Valve announcing plans last year to put an end to franchise-style leagues in Counter-Strike in an effort to open up Counter-Strike esports ecosystem, starting in 2025.

BLAST Premier is currently operates a ‘partner team’ structure where 16 permenant teams who bought in receive guaranteed invites, alongside a few slots open to non-partnered teams via qualifiers.

BLAST’s new plan will change BLAST Premier to instead consist of six standalone tournaments split across two seasons. The 2025 BLAST Premier season will see events taking place in Lisbon and London with more set to be revealed.

Additionally, the tournament organiser announced it will invest $6m (~£4.74m) “directly into teams” through a new payment structure. Details of this payment structure were not revealed in the announcement.

In addition to BLAST Premier’s format change, the tournament organiser has unveiled the BLAST Bounty, a new tournament featuring the top 30 CS2 teams and two wildcards. Each team will have a bounty with those achieving victory earning half the bounty as a guaranteed payout. The remaining bounty carries over into the next match and is added to the winner’s existing bounty.

Alongside the Bounty format, BLAST also unveiled the BLAST Open, where 16 teams from the Valve Global Rankings will compete with four teams sourced from regional qualifiers. The Open will be played from BLAST’s studio in Copenhagen for the first week before moving to arena finals in various cities.

Also revealed by the tournament organiser was BLAST Rivals, a competition where the top eight ranked teams in the world battle it out.

Andrew Haworth, VP of Ecosystems for BLAST, Valve, and Riot Games, commented on the news: “2025 is shaping up to be BLAST’s most exciting year to date.

“We are ripping up the script at BLAST from next year onwards by introducing a fresh and exciting format that will keep fans and players on the edge of their seats at all times. Valve ranking-based invites and regional qualifiers, alongside dynamic prize pools and incredible arena locations, will mean the world’s best teams will be competing on a global platform.”

The new Premier format comes at a busy time for BLAST, which has expanded rapidly in recent years from Counter-Strike to other esports scenes, including Dota 2, Rainbow Six Siege, Rocket League and Fortnite.

Jonno Nicholson
Jonno is a Freelance News Writer for Esports Insider and has been part of the ESI team since 2019! His interests include the rapid rise of sim racing and its impact on the wider industry.