2002 – The very first ESL Pro Series Germany kicked off on Sep 4, 2002 and had 14 Teams battling for €28,000 prize money. The ESL Pro Series saw itself as the premier class within Germany’s largest gaming league, the Electronic Sports League, comparable to the Champions League in football. The idea was to have a league with a high amount of prize money (€80,000 in the first season), and marketable offline finals and LAN events.
Back in the days the current version of the game was Counter-Strike 1.5. On each matchday, an event called Intel Friday Night Games (abbr. IFNG) was planned where two teams had the chance to compete on LAN at the Future Point mall in Cologne. The first LAN featured Warcraft III 2v2 and Counter-Strike 5v5 tournaments with a live audience and online Windows Media Streaming.
Electronic Sports League also continued to grow with the start of several ladders: Counter-Strike 1v1, Counter-Strike 2v2 Female, Warcraft III 1v1 and 2v2 ladder.