National-based competition helped lay the foundation of esports as we know it today.
Over 20 years ago, when esports was still in its infancy and we were a tournament organizer active in only a handful of countries, we believed that we could grow successful ecosystems with a core of national-based competition which led to us creating the ESL National Championship program.
While esports has matured over the years, we’ve seen it develop in a different direction as it has grown to become a borderless sport where teams often gravitate towards players of all nationalities.
For years we have been cultivating two parallel ecosystems for CS: the nation-based one similar to traditional sports leagues and the borderless system based on pan-regional online tournaments.
It ultimately took a toll on our ability to focus and created a number of compatibility issues across different ESL Pro Tour properties. Over time, it became increasingly apparent that the borderless system is a much more dynamic and flexible foundation for the EPT and a better pathway for aspiring teams and players to climb up the ladder.
Therefore with the launch of Counter-Strike 2, we will be closing our ESL National Championship program. Benelux, France, Spain, and Turkey will not operate their final season this year, while Australia & New Zealand, Brazil, Germany, Poland, and the United Kingdom & Ireland will play a final season in 2023 before stopping in 2024.
There is still room for regional and national competitions, but it will not be an active focus of ours. We are open to engaging with third-party tournaments in order to cater to players and teams that were used to and want to continue competing in national leagues.
Furthermore, Polish and German teams will continue to have the opportunity to represent their countries at the IEM Katowice and IEM Cologne Championships, respectively.
We have already begun reaching out to affected teams to guide them toward alternative opportunities, but if you haven’t been reached out to yet, please contact us at [email protected].