ESL and ESEA, the largest North American Counter-Strike: Global Offensive league provider, are working together on a league with a prize pool of $1million.
The ESL ESEA Pro League, set to begin on May 4, will consist of multi-month seasons punctuated by a Valve-sponsored Major title. This year there will be two seasons, offering $500,000 prize money for each, bringing the total for 2015 to $1million.
The league will be played out through weekly online matches, making use of ESEA’s anti-cheat software, with all travel covered for qualifying teams to attend two four-day offline finals for each region.
Initially split across North America and Europe, the Pro League will encompass one division per region, and will consist of twelve invited teams per division.
This merging of giants from either side of the Atlantic is reportedly to “grow and sustain the global Counter-Strike scene.” ESL, a part of German events firm Turtle Entertainment, claims the move is to “consolidate the Counter-Strike market by providing consistent high quality content to the global esports audience.”
The move comes just weeks after rumours suggested ESL was in meetings with Twitch and fantasy eSports site Vulcun to create a Counter-Strike tournament circuit, though the alleged meetings were not confirmed by anyone attending.
The rumours caused cries of monopolies in professional teams and other event organisers, such as Gfinity and DreamHack, whose Bucharest tournament last weekend saw $75,000 of prize money awarded to the best CS:GO teams in the world.