As ESL One Cologne blazes across our screens, good news for the ESL group broke over at DBLTP, from Dekay. According to his sources, the first CSGO Major of 2019 has been awarded to ESL, with the IEM Katowice event a likely venue for Valve’s festival of CSGO. What makes that particularly interesting, and maybe exciting for some fans of the game, is that the Katowice event is not part of the controversial Facebook/ESL streaming deal.
This would mean that ESL were able to provide the full Twitch experience to a CSGO fan base that really has not taken to the Facebook deal so far, as well as maintain the relationship with the social media giant that is so lucrative. While there have been issues in Poland before, the long history of the Katowice event should mean it is a great one, even if Polish teams have little to no chance of victory there.
That was a concern at the recent ESL One Belo Horizonte event, where the organisers were concerned that the lack of Brazilian representation would damage the atmosphere in that country. While there was still a good crowd for the final, between FaZe and Mousesports, it was clear the crowd didn’t share the same enthusiasm for the game once their local heroes had fallen, and if the same happened in Poland that would be a massive shame.
For now though, the information available is just that ESL will be awarded the event, and nothing more. With Dekay’s sources normally well placed, and ours providing the same information, it is fairly safe to say the ESL will be back on the major circuit sooner rather than later to continue one of the most enduring legacies in esports.
History in esports
For those not aware, ESL hosted five of the first nine CSGO events classed as majors, but their last was in 2016, as Valve have looked to reward other firms and TOs and spread the love around when it comes to their flagship events. ELEAGUE did an impressive job with their first attempt, but maybe failed to build on that, and FACEIT are still looking forward to running the first ever UK Major later in the year, with Wembley set to be the venue for the event.
We caught up with Luckbox Director of Esports Sujoy Roy, who moved to Luckbox from a position at ESL, to find out his thoughts on the potential for a 2019 major in Poland. “ESL were instrumental in the growth of Counter-Strike, with Cologne known as the cathedral of CS:GO,” he told us. “It would be great to have a second ESL event at the same level. Katowice is a city that has already proven its love for CS:GO and a Major there would make it all the more special.”
With Cologne still in progress and providing some fantastic action, the anticipation for any news about CSGO is at record levels, and that has allowed ESL to grow in scale too. This event should be the culmination of more than two years of experience, and not only showcase everything good about CSGO, but also the best bits of ESL, without whom we would not be where we are today.