Esports companies ESL and WESA have revealed details about next year's CS:GO Pro League, which will return but with a brand new format featuring live studio matches, groups system, and an increase to 16 teams in Europe, Americas, and Asia-Pacific, with the emphasis being on making the league "even more competitive."
The ninth season will start on April 12, with the three regions competing in four groups of four teams, pre-seeded based on world rankings. The group matches in Europe and America will be hosted at an offline LAN at Leicester's ESL UK studio in the UK, as well as an additional studio in the US that has yet to be announced, although Asia-Pacific matches will still be played online. The confirmed slots for each region are:
- 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
The winners of European and American groups will receive a direct spot in the season finals, with second and third teams moving to the second round of the group stage. In Asia-Pacific, however, winners and runners-up will be able to secure one of the second group stage slots.
During this second group stage teams from Europe need to place first or second to get to the season finals, while only the winners in America and Asia-Pacific will proceed. After a maximum of four weeks the format will conclude, "allowing players and teams to focus on the CS:GO Pro League for a shorter time frame within the vivid CS:GO ecosystem," according to the press release.
"The CS:GO 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 CS:GO league to date," said Ulrich Schulze, Senior Vice President at ESL. "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."
The season finals will feature the best 16 teams (eight from Europe, six from America, and two from Asia-Pacific), and more details on this will follow.
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