Restructure of the ESL Pro Tour will deliver a 270% increase in tournament content

StarCraft® II & Warcraft® III return to online competition and coverage in June 2020 leading up to the Masters Championship of 2021

Cologne, May 13th 2020 - ESL and DreamHack, both part of MTG, today announced a redesign for the ESL Pro Tour Starcraft® II and WarCraft® III: Reforged™ with the competition being enriched by 75 additional competition days as compared to the original design which featured four live tournaments. The ESL Pro Tour will now be held online across three seasons for the remainder of the year. A StarCraft II season will last five weeks while WarCraft III will compete over four. As a result of this sharp increase in competition, there is a +270% expected broadcast content compared to the original design projection. This ensures ongoing RTS action for both players and fans and enables a solid structure of the ecosystem. Additionally, prize money at the grassroots level of the system will be boosted by more than $34,000 until January 18th, 2021. This comes after the evaluation of the recent surge in participation and viewership of the weekly ESL Open Cups.

“We are confident that this is the best design that Starcraft II & Warcraft III: Reforged can get in 2020, combining regional & global competition while providing a clear pathway to the Masters Championship of 2021,” said Shaun Clark, Senior Product Manager at ESL. “As esports are global and inherently digital, we are uniquely positioned to continue this legacy, hold our tournaments online, and even improve the format for players, fans, and partners. By heavily increasing broadcast hours of the ESL Pro Tour, we aim to deliver even more esports content than before to entertain and support the RTS communities.”

ESL Pro Tour will continue to be tied together through a ranking system leading the way to the Masters Championship of 2021. With tournaments shifting online, the summer, autumn, and winter seasons will each feature six weeks of competition. ESL Pro Tour points will split regionally, with each region competing within their own division for positions at the IEM Katowice Masters Championship 2021. In addition to both regular ESL Pro Tours, weekly ESL Open Cups will remain active for the wider amateur and grassroots communities.

The structure for each season offers an optional return to offline competitions in the second half of the year, the redesign is otherwise supposed to run until 2021 when regular competition is expected to return. ESL and DreamHack will constantly evaluate the situation and will re-introduce the original format as soon as health and safety for players, fans, and employees can be ensured.

For more information please visit the official ESL Pro Tour website. Follow ESL on Twitter (StarCraft II / WarCraft III: Reforged) and on Facebook (StarCraft II / WarCraft III: Reforged) to get the latest updates on the redesigned ESL Pro Tour. To learn more about the games, check out the official sites for StarCraft II and WarCraft III: Reforged.

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About ESL

ESL is the world’s largest esports company. Founded in 2000, ESL has been shaping the industry across the most popular video games with numerous online and offline esports competitions. The company operates high profile, branded international leagues and tournaments under the ESL Pro Tour including ESL One, Intel® Extreme Masters, ESL Pro League, and other premier stadium-size tournaments, to more clearly define the path from zero to hero. ESL also produces the ESL National Championships, grassroots amateur cups, and matchmaking systems, creating a world where everybody can be somebody. With offices all over the world, ESL is leading esports innovation on a global scale through the combination of global ESL competitions, amateur leagues, publisher activations, and more. ESL is a part of MTG, the leading international digital entertainment group. about.eslgaming.com

DreamHack is all about entertainment for the digital generation. Founded in 1994 as a BYOC LAN party, DreamHack grew over 20 years to a global phenomenon as the digital festival for today’s youth, hosted throughout Europe and North America. DreamHack festivals feature multiple esports competitions, live music, exhibitions, creative competitions, LAN party, cosplay and much more. DreamHack helped pioneer esports and continues to be one of the largest global producers of esports content. Millions of viewers tune in from all over the world to watch DreamHack broadcasts every year. DreamHack events welcomed over 310,000 visitors in 2018. More information is available at dreamhack.com. DreamHack is part of leading international digital entertainment group MTG. More information at mtg.com.

ESL Pro Tour - The ESL Pro Tour combines multiple, previously unconnected ESL and DreamHack tournaments from various game titles into dedicated circuits that build toward grand championships each year. The collaboration aims to create a more complete path from “zero to hero” for aspiring players, a more compelling story to follow for existing CS:GO, StarCraft II and WarCraft III fans, and a more transparent structure for new esports fans. 

About Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. 

Best known for blockbuster hits including World of Warcraft®, Hearthstone®, Overwatch®, Warcraft®, StarCraft®, and Diablo® franchises, and the multifranchise Heroes of the Storm®, Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. (www.blizzard.com), a division of Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI), is a premier developer and publisher of entertainment software renowned for creating some of the industry’s most critically acclaimed games. Blizzard Entertainment’s track record includes twenty-two #1 games* and numerous Game of the Year awards. The company's online gaming service, Battle.net®, is one of the largest in the world, with millions of active players. 

About Activision Blizzard Esports

Activision Blizzard Esports (ABE) is responsible for the development, operation, and commercialization of Activision Blizzard’s professional gaming properties including the Overwatch League™, the Call of Duty® League™, Call of Duty Challengers™, Hearthstone® Masters, StarCraft® II esports, Warcraft® III: Reforged™, and the World of Warcraft® Arena World Championship and Mythic Dungeon International, among others. ABE also operates Tespa, the leader in collegiate esports. It is ABE’s vision to be the most innovative, scalable, and valuable developer of global competitive entertainment.

*Sales and/or downloads. Based on internal company records and reports from key distributors.

*Sales and/or downloads. Based on internal company records and reports from key distributors.