ESL has made another move in its negotiation battle with recently announced competitor B Site.

19:00, 11 Jan 2020

ESL has requested to meet in person with representatives of prominent esports organizations to ensure their participation in the ESL Pro League, per a report on DBLTAP earlier today. This move is likely a response to the recent announcement of a new professional Counter-Strike league set to debut this year.

Per the report, these meetings will go down between January 22 and 24, and will involve 13 of the most well-known organizations in the CS:GO scene, including Astralis, Team Liquid, 100 Thieves and Ninjas in Pyjamas. Astralis’s participation in these negotiations refutes rumors that the team had previously declined to participate in the next season of the ESL Pro League in favor of the new league, which has been developed under the working name of “B Site.”

When reached for comment by DBLTAP, ESL was somewhat tight-lipped on the details of the reported meetings. “We would prefer not to make a habit of commenting on every meeting that may or may not take place,” said ESL Senior Vice President of Product Ulrich Schulze in a statement to the site.

Though the rules of neither B Site nor the ESL Pro League explicitly prevent participating teams from getting involved in other leagues, schedule conflicts between the two leagues effectively make such cross-participation impossible. The debut of B Site will almost surely create a divide within the professional Counter-Strike scene. 

Some fans will certainly be upset by the potential loss of storied rivalries such as Astralis vs. Team Liquid—after all, if one of them goes to B Site and the other to the ESL Pro League, their only opportunities to compete will be at invitationals such as the cs_summit series. But competition between two Counter-Strike leagues may lead to increased benefits for the teams involved. In order to draw teams away from the more established ESL Pro League, B Site has offered participants a base revenue share of $1.04 million. Whether ESL will match this offer by introducing a revenue share of its own has yet to be determined.

Per the DBLTAP report, however, ESL is already primed to make its next move. At the meetings, the company will attempt to get the world’s most prominent CS:GO teams to sign a binding agreement called the “Lanxess Agreement.” By the end of this month, the CS:GO scene will have a better idea of the shape of professional Counter-Strike to come.


Image via ESL. 

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