The Counter-Strike calendar is filled with third-party tournaments and events. The successful nature of CS: GO esports is fuelled by these events. While most of the events culminate in a LAN environment, there are two leagues which persist throughout the year. This [ former ] online leagues took up the majority of the players’ times. The matches would often clash resulting in players having to choose between one league or the other. This did cause a lot of inconvenience to the players and they often had to choose between either league.
In a landmark decision, the two companies announced that they will be working on their schedule for the new year. While we did not know what the changes would be, ESL has now announced its plans for 2019. The event organiser will not be having any online matches for 2019. All of their matches will be offline in a LAN event.
???? The #ESLProLeague will return for Season 9 on April 12, 2019 with more teams and a brand new format that replaces online play with studio matches for the EU and AM regions!
— ESL Counter-Strike (@ESLCS) December 18, 2018
ESL will host offline matches
Starting in 2019, the regular season will be played in three separate regions: Europe, Americas and Asia-Pacific. Each of them will be divided into four groups of fours teams with seeding based on the ESL World Ranking. The move to a system of smaller groups helps us to make every match more exciting and more relevant towards the season finals, requiring all teams to live up to their full potential in every game of the season.
While APAC matches will remain online, EU games will be hosted offline at the ESL studio in the United Kingdom and the AM region in the United States. Playing all season matches offline on LAN allows us to provide the most competitive environment possible to all participating teams. With those changes, we strive to make ESL Pro League the toughest competition in CS:GO.
The New Format makes it easier for fans to follow their favourite teams. The LAN environment opens up new avenues of revenue for the tournament organiser. With other esports titles such as the Overwatch League and League of Legends successfully hosting Offline League matches, ESL hopes to join in the fray.