Step aside, ESL Pro League and BLAST Pro Series: there’s a new league in town.
A new professional Counter-Strike: Global Offensive league featuring MiBR and Cloud9 will launch early next year, according to a report by DBLTAP. Per the report, the working name of the league is “B Site,” but the league’s final name has not yet been revealed to the public.
DBLTAP’s report, which cites multiple sources involved in the incipient league, indicates that ten of the twelve participating teams will receive partial ownership of the league in exchange for a $2 million buy-in. The remaining two teams will be able to enter through a qualifier. The $2 million buy-in fees match the league’s total yearly prize pool, which will be broken into two $1 million prize pools for the first and second season of each year—similar to the spring and summer splits used in professional League of Legends.
The report also says that Astralis has declined to participate in the next season of the ESL Pro League in favor of B Site; however, this has been disputed by Astralis player Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander, who says that Astralis hasn’t yet decided which league to participate in. (His tweet does, however, appear to confirm the name of the new league.)
This isnt true at all btw. The Astralis team hasnt decided anything yet about what league they will participate in.
Could be ESL, could be B-site. NOTHING is decided for us. — Lukas Rossander (@gla1ve_csgo) December 16, 2019
The new league’s rules do not prevent participating teams from competing in other events or circuits. But though its first season will only run for a month before the final, it will overlap with ESL Pro League, all but confirming that teams will functionally be unable to participate in both leagues.
In the past, Astralis has come under fire for avoiding ESL events in favor of BLAST Pro Series invitationals. A complete divide of the professional scene could leave many CS:GO fans upset over their inability to watch classic team matchups in league play.
Of the “big three” esports of the current era—that is, CS:GO, League of Legends, and Overwatch—Counter-Strike is the only esport whose biggest leagues are not administered by the developers of the games themselves. This has resulted in a fractured professional scene that has both defined and in some ways held back the growth of competitive CS:GO. This team-owned league, led by MiBR and Cloud9, is the latest attempt by team owners and tournament organizers to centralize the CS:GO scene and blaze a potential path towards profitability.
Image via ESL | Helena Kristiansson