The ESL UK Premiership, the company’s largest tournament since 2010, has been announced today for UK-only Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and League of Legends players to win £12,000.
The tournaments will be spread over two months of online brackets to culminate in an offline finals at London MCM Comic Con over the 22-24 May weekend, in front of an expected 110,000 spectators. The first qualifiers are scheduled to begin on 23 February.
Teams from the UK can qualify via three online events, held on ESL’s new tournament platform, play.eslgaming.com. The top two of each qualifier advance to the groups where each subsequent win earns a share of that £12,000 prize pool. The top four of the group stages will then advance to the offline final, and all matches will be broadcast live from ESL’s first UK studio.
The prize pool is similar in size to that of the Gfinity CS:GO Spring Masters tournament (£13,000) on 28-29 March, and ESL’s biggest offering since their 2010 Pro Series which had a prize pool of £30,000. The company’s return to UK soil is a marked step forward for the country’s eSports industry.
“We’ve seen huge growth in our community in the United Kingdom since the launch of a dedicated UK ESL office in 2013,” said Peter Mather, Community Manager at ESL UK. “We think it is time for us to step up our game, and start preparing our teams and players for the biggest stages in Europe. The ESL UK Premiership will help us, and the teams achieve this”.
The continued growth of CS:GO in Europe and North America is a strong sign for the game and the UK’s players, such as Sam “RattleSnk” Gawn and Brandon “weber” Weber, whose team FM! Toxic already competes in the ESL Pro League. ESL’s intention to improve the standing of UK eSports within Europe is a welcome move to the CS:GO community – a game which saw one million unique viewers for UK teams and players on ESL’s streams.
“This is extremely significant for the growth of the esports industry within the UK, not just on an international level,” said James Dean, Managing Director of ESL UK. “With ESL’s support, one day, we hope to stage UK teams in European and Global $1m tournaments”
Update [16:05]: ESL clarifies that the expected spectator number is made of 30,000 seated viewers and more than 100,000 attendees to the London Comic Con, as the stage will be located in a central area. They have also clarified the prize pool and tournament is open only to UK teams.
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