A new format for ESL Pro League 2019 has been announced, with all matches in Europe and America being held offline and 16 teams from each region included in the qualifying stage.
Previous ESL Pro League seasons have features online qualifiers but season nine will see group matches for Europe and America hosted in offline LANs at studios in the UK and US. Asia-Pacific group matches will continue to be held online.
ESL says the changes will "not only allow the league to become even more competitive but also emphasizes the importance of every match for the qualification leading to the season finals".
ESL Pro League Season 9 format
Pro League Season 9 will start on April 12th, with teams from three regions competing in four groups of four.
Europe: 4 groups from Europe
Americas: 3 groups from North America, 1 group from Latin America
Asia-Pacific: 2 groups from Australia/New Zealand; 1 group from Greater China; 1 group from Southeast Asia
Only the winners of the European and American groups will receive a direct spot in the season finals that are played in front of a live audience.
Teams that finished second and third in their groups will proceed to the second round of group stage. Within the Asia-Pacific region, winners and runners-up will be able to secure one of the second group stage slots.
During the second group stage European teams must score first or second to play at the season finals whereas only the winners of the America and Asia-Pacific regions get the chance to proceed further in the tournament. The new format will conclude after a maximum of four weeks full of gripping esports, allowing players and teams to focus on the CSGO Pro League for a shorter time frame within the vivid CSGO ecosystem.
'Esports at its purest'
Ulrich Schulze, senior vice president at ESL, said: “The CSGO Pro League will return with a brand new format featuring live studio matches in Europe and North America, offering more teams the chance to earn one of the coveted spots in the toughest CSGO league to date.
“We want to provide players, teams and the passionate CS:GO fans all around the world with the best possible experience - esports at its purest.”
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