ESL and BLAST react to Valve killing partnership Counter-Strike leagues in 2025

ESL and BLAST react to Valve killing partnership Counter-Strike leagues in 2025

The Counter-Strike ecosystem as we know it nowadays will no longer exist by 2025.

Valve released an official statement on Aug. 3, informing the community that CS2 will have an open circuit in 2025 and that tournament organizers will “no longer have unique business relationships” with the teams in attendance.

After Valve’s statement was made public, ESL and BLAST—the organizers of the ESL Pro League and BLAST Premier, which are the two biggest partnership leagues in CS:GO—released their own statements and will adapt their tournaments by 2025.

ESL’s senior vice president of game ecosystems Urich Schulze said ESL is already working on adjusting its events and all teams in 2025 will earn a tournament revenue share. Nowadays, the tournament revenue sharing model is only split between the 15 partnered teams of the ESL Pro League.

We will shift our tournament revenue sharing model from selected teams to all teams participating starting in 2025. We will announce more details on this in the coming months.

— Ulrich Schulze (@theflyingdj) August 3, 2023

BLAST, on the other hand, said BLAST Premier will remain “an integral part of tier-one CS” in the open ecosystem proposed by Valve.

The ESL and BLAST partnership leagues that exist in CS:GO have been a huge talking point in the community, especially after all the upsets witnessed at the BLAST Paris Major in May.

Tier-two teams such as GamerLegion, Apeks, Monte, and Into the Breach—who don’t own a spot in any partnership league—qualified for the playoffs while several established tier-one teams like Natus Vincere and G2 didn’t.

Related: CS:GO fans plead with Valve to take major step toward a more competitive tournament circuit in CS2

Here are the rules that all tournament organizers in the Counter-Strike ecosystem must abide by starting in 2025:

  • “Tournament organizers will no longer have unique business relationships or other conflicts of interest with teams that participate in their events.”
  • “Invitations to all tournaments will use [the Valve] ranking system, or otherwise be determined by open qualifiers.”
  • “Any compensation for participating teams—prize pool or otherwise—will be made public and will be driven by objective criteria that can be inspected by the community.”

Although it’s too early to make predictions, these changes could shake up the competitive Counter-Strike scene in CS2 and allow smaller organizations to compete against the top tier.

About the author

Leonardo Biazzi

Staff writer and CS:GO lead. Leonardo has been passionate about games since he was a kid and graduated in Journalism in 2018. Before Leonardo joined Dot Esports in 2019, he worked for Brazilian outlet Globo Esporte. Leonardo also worked for HLTV.org between 2020 and 2021 as a senior writer, until he returned to Dot Esports and became part of the staff team.

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