The suspension of national CS:GO tournaments by ESL has recently been announced. This is undoubtedly a major setback for regional tournaments.
ESL suspends CS:GO National Championships
The tournament organizing company, ESL, decided to end the CS:GO National Championships ahead of the release of Counter-Strike 2. ESL has stated it is difficult to focus on so many national ecosystems simultaneously as the “borderless system based on pan-regional tournaments.” In addition, ESL revealed that focusing on so many regional tournaments has caused several compatibility issues across different ESL Pro Tour properties.
As a result, regional CS:GO tournaments will end immediately depending on the nation and, in some cases, will end after the season ends.
For example, countries like Spain, Benelux, Turkey, and France cannot hold their final season of the CS:GO National Championships this year. However, some countries, such as Brazil, New Zealand, Poland, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Australia, will be able to hold their last season in 2023.
Importantly, teams from Germany and Poland still have the unique opportunity to qualify for IEM Katowice and IEM Cologne. These two competitions will be held in their respective home nations. In ESL’s statement, the company commented that there will still be room for regional competitions. However, from now on, it will no longer be an active focus for ESL.
With the launch of Counter-Strike 2, ESL National Championships will no longer be an active focus of ours after 20 years of competition.
Read more on our thought process and what’s in store next:
— ESL Counter-Strike (@ESLCS) September 15, 2023
History of CS:GO National Championships
It is important to note that ESL has been responsible for holding CS:GO National Championships for the past 20 years. Each of these tournaments undoubtedly contributed to the development of CS:GO esports. Moreover, the CS:GO National Championships were essential for many Tier 2 and Tier 3 teams, as they contributed to expanding the local competitive scenes.
On the other hand, it is important to note that ESL was in charge of growing two parallel competition ecosystems for many years. On the one hand, they were in charge of the traditional leagues; on the other hand, they were in charge of the pan-regional online tournaments.
Changes in the Counter-Strike competitive scene
Undoubtedly, many changes in the competitive scene will come with eliminating the CS:GO National Championships. For its part, part of the community believes that these changes will come to improve the Counter-Strike scene. Recall that Valve announced that CS2 will have an open circuit in 2025. In addition, Valve revealed that tournament organizers such as ESL will not have unique commercial relationships with the teams participating in their tournaments.
With these changes, ESL can no longer collaborate directly with certain teams. Consequently, ESL will no longer be able to invite them directly to its tournaments, such as the ESL Pro League. This announcement should be another major setback for ESL, which may consider restructuring its business model.