In response to a new Counter-Strike: Global Offensive league in development, ESL has requested in-person meetings with prominent organizations in an attempt to sign them to new ESL Pro League agreements, according to multiple sources close to the situation. ESL originally approached selected teams last month and asked them to sign non-binding letters of intent, and they will now attempt to sign them to what ESL has dubbed the “Lanxess Agreement.”
ESL will meet with at least 13 teams, which are tentatively expected to take place Jan. 22-24, according to sources. The full list of teams includes but is not limited to Team Liquid, 100 Thieves, Evil Geniuses, Fnatic, ENCE, G2 Esports, Vitality, Natus Vincere, FaZe Clan, Mousesports, Complexity, Ninjas in Pyjamas and Astralis.
"It is not at all unusual for ESL to meet with various parties," said Ulrich Schulze, ESL Senior Vice President of Product, in a statement provided to DBLTAP. "We would prefer not to make a habit of commenting on every meeting that may or may not take place. However, as a blanket statement, everything material we do in CS:GO is known to and discussed with Valve, and that includes respecting their positions and guidelines when it comes to the conditions of participating in tournaments."
The need to convince teams to sign with the ESL Pro League stems from the emergence of a new league started by North American organizations tentatively called B Site. The B Site league would not explicitly exclude teams from participating in ESL Pro League, but the limited space on the competitive schedule means the two would overlap. The B Site league will feature a one month offline regular season with a final that alternates between North America and Europe at the end of each season.
The entry fee for the B Site league will cost $2 Million, and in return the participating organizations will receive part ownership of the league. Involved in the creation of the league are the Cloud9 and Immortals Gaming Club, which owns MIBR. Other organizations who have expressed full or partial commitment include Gen.G, Dignitas, and MAD Lions.
Astralis was among the wave of teams to commit to B SIte in the initial report, but the org has swayed in recent weeks, according to multiple sources, and have not yet committed to either league. The league will feature a base revenue share number of $1.04 million USD for the players only, the first of its kind in professional Counter-Strike.
ESL Pro League was originally introduced in April 2015 as a joint effort between ESL and ESEA, featuring a $1 million prize pool. In Season 9, the league moved to a fully offline format from start to finish rather than an online regular season and offline playoffs. Season 10 ended in early December, with Mousesports beating Fnatic in the best-of five Grand Final.