||A major contributor to this article appears to have a close connection with its subject. (September 2016) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)|
|Current season, competition or edition:
ESL Pro League Season 5
Electronic Sports League
|Sport||PC and console video games|
ESL, originally Electronic Sports League, is an eSports company which organizes competitions world-wide. ESL is the world's largest esports company, and the oldest professional esports organization that is still operational. Based in Cologne, Germany, ESL has eleven offices and multiple international TV studios globally. ESL is the largest eSports company to broadcast on Twitch.
The Electronic Sports League (later shortened to simply ESL) launched in the year 2000 as the successor of the Deutsche Clanliga, which was founded in 1997. The company began with an online gaming league and a gaming magazine. It also rented out servers for game competitions.
ESL annual productions more than doubled from 2012 to 2014. In 2015, ESL's Intel Extreme Masters Katowice became the most watched esports event of all time. The event had more than 100,000 in attendance and Twitch viewership was over one million.
In July 2015, Modern Times Group (MTG) bought a 74 percent stake in ESL from its parent company, Turtle Entertainment, for $86 million. That same month, ESL announced its participation in "esports in Cinema," which would broadcast live esports events to over 1,500 movie theaters across the globe. Esports in Cinema included Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive coverage from ESL One Cologne 2015 and ESL One New York, as well as a documentary, "All Work All Play," which follows the rise of esports and highlights pro gamers as they work toward the Intel Extreme Masters World Championship.
After a player publicly admitted Adderall use following ESL One Katowice 2015, ESL worked with the National Anti-Doping Agency and the World Anti-Doping Agency to institute an anti-drug policy. It was the first international esports company to enforce anti-doping regulations. Random tests for the drugs prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency were implemented for its events. Punishments for the use of performance-enhancing drugs range from reduced prize money and tournament points to disqualification and a maximum two-year ban from ESL events.
ESL worked with publisher Valve Corporation in August 2015 for ESL One Cologne 2015 at the Lanxess Arena where 16 teams competed in Counter-Strike:Global Offensive. ESL implemented randomized drug testing at the event. All tests came back negative. The tournament had over 27 million viewers, making it the largest and most-watched CS:GO tournament at that time.
In October 2015, ESL held a Dota 2 championship at Madison Square Garden Theater. That same month, ESL partnered with ArenaNet to produce ESL Guild Wars 2 Pro League, which is one of seven official ESL Pro Leagues.
ESL held its 10th arena event in November 2015 at the SAP Center in San Jose, California. The event had over 10 million viewers through Twitch.tv and was the largest Counter-Strike event in America at that time. ESL partnered with Activision for the 2016 Call of Duty World League for the World League's Pro Division.
ESL announced its acquisition of the E-Sports Entertainment Association (ESEA) in November 2015, after previous collaborations: ESL uses the ESEA anti-cheat system for the ESL CS:GO Pro League. The ESEA platform is used for ESL events as well as offline finals. As of July 2016, ESL is a member of the Esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC), a non-profit members' association to maintain integrity in professional esports.
ESL hosts competitions around the globe, partnering with publishers such as Blizzard Entertainment, Riot Games, Valve Corporation, Microsoft, Wargaming.net and multiple others to facilitate thousands of gaming competitions annually. ESL competitors are supported on both national and international levels. Some of their more notable competitions include the following:
ESL Play is the world's leading platform for esports. It provides tournaments and ladders across all games and skill levels. ESL Open, the first cup on the league ladder, is open to everyone, including beginners. ESL Major competitions have entry requirements and winning on this level is required to earn a spot in ESL Pro competition. However, ESL Major also contains Go4 Cups, which are free tournaments that are open to everyone. Tournaments at this level require prior qualification.
ESL Pro Leagues
ESL currently hosts 7 official Pro Leagues for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Rocket League, Gears of War, Guild Wars 2, Halo 5: Guardians, Hearthstone, Mortal Kombat X, and Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege. The game S.K.I.L.L. from Gameforge was also part of ESL's list of pro leagues games but was dropped after its second season due to poor reception.
The ESL CS:GO Pro League is a cross-continent competition with finals in Los Angeles, Cologne and London. In 2015, the ESL CS:GO Pro League held a pre-season invitational in Dubai. In 2016, ESL raised the CS:GO Pro League prize pool to $1.5 Million.
ESL National Championships
ESL National Championships are region-specific ESL Pro competitions held in various countries. ESL Meisterschaft, the German championship, began in 2002 and is the oldest esports league in existence. The ESL UK Premiership, another regional esports program, has been ESL's largest regional tournament since 2010. National Championships are established in order to spread local esports competition around the world.
ESL One refers to premier offline tournaments across a variety of games, like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2, and are usually considered among the most prestigious events for each game. ESL One events are often selected to be part of the Valve-sponsored CS:GO Major series. The ESL Counter-Strike Majors have been: EMS One Katowice 2014, ESL One Cologne 2014, ESL One Katowice 2015, ESL One Cologne 2015 and ESL One Cologne 2016. As of April 2016, ESL has hosted four of the eight Valve Majors tournaments.
Intel Extreme Masters
The Intel Extreme Masters is the world's longest-running global esports tournament series.
ESL created the ESL Wire Anti Cheat software to combat online cheating in the increasingly competitive field. In 2015, ESL enhanced its tournament software by integrating Wargaming.net's "Battle API" into its tournaments. The API makes player and game data available through the API application. That same year, ESL released ESL Matchmaking which uses ESL's API to match competitors based on skill. Microsoft worked with ESL to create a Xbox app to use the ESL tournament system through Xbox Live on Xbox One in 2016.
AnyKey is a diversity initiative created by ESL and Intel to include underrepresented members of the gaming community in competitions including women, LGBTQ people and people of color. AnyKey is made up of two teams for research and implementation. AnyKey has researched and implemented a code of conduct, which aims to address an inclusion policy for esports events and online broadcasts and the harassment issues underrepresented populations face. It has also created and hosted women's tournaments. The two teams continue to research and implement inclusion in the gaming community.
- Sarah E. Needleman (23 July 2015). "Now Coming to E-Sports: Random Drug Testing". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
- Conditt, Jessica (1 July 2015). "Swedish media house buys world's largest eSports company". Engadget. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
- Bryan Armen Graham (23 July 2015). "Anti-doping in e-sports: World's largest gaming organization will test for PEDs". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
- Wawro, Alex (10 June 2016). "Report: ESL is the top eSports tourney broadcaster on Twitch (that's not Riot)". Gamasutra. Retrieved 24 June 2016.
- Alexander, Julie (10 June 2016). "People have watched more than 800M hours of esports on Twitch since August". Polygon. Retrieved 24 June 2016.
- Katharina Pencz (28 October 2015). "Phänomen E-Sport: ein neues Themengebiet für Journalisten". Fachjournalist. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
- O'Neill, Patrick Howell (25 March 2014). "IEM Katowice was highest-rated European esports event ever". Daily Dot. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
- Ren, Victor (10 April 2015). "Promise for eSports: Record Breaking Numbers For IEM Katowice 2015". Game Skinny. Retrieved 24 June 2016.
- "MTG acquires majority stake in ESL for $86 Million". theScore. theScore.
- http://www.hltv.org/news/15325-esl-sells-majority-stake-to-mtg, ESL sells majority stake to MTG, hltv.org, 1 July 2015
- "MTG to acquire the majority stake in the world's largest esports company".
- "MTG invests in world's largest esports company ESL".
- Barker, Ian J. (17 March 2015). "ESL is bringing live esports to more than 1,500 theaters around the world". Daily Dot. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
- "eSports in Cinema Live Event Confirmed for All Work All Play July 28 Premiere Broadcast from Cologne, Germany to over 465 European Cinemas". Reuters. 16 July 2015. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
- Molina, Brett (25 August 2015). "Video gamers drug-tested ahead of competition". USA Today. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
- Rovell, Darren (23 July 2015). "ESL announces plans to test for PEDs". ESPN.com. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
- Wingfield, Nick; Dougherty, Conor (23 July 2015). "Drug Testing Is Coming to E-Sports". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
- Lumb, David. "Anti-Doping Regulations Come to Esports: A Q&A With Electronic Sports League's Michal Blicharz". Fast Company. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
- "Video Game League Announces Random Drug Tests For Competitors". NPR. 13 August 2015. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
- Tach, Dave (12 August 2015). "ESL adopts World Anti-Doping Agency's prohibited substances list, like steroids and pot". Polygon. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
- MIRAA. "ESL One Cologne with $250,000". HLTV.
- "ESL Announces World's Largest CS:GO Tournament This August". IGN. 23 February 2015. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
- Chalk, Andy (24 August 2015). "ESL One Cologne drug tests come up empty". PC Gamer. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
- Mueller, Saira (22 October 2015). "eSports Is Big Time: Pro Video Gaming League Eyes Global Distribution, Drug Testing". IB Times. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
- Wynne, Jared (26 August 2015). "ESL One Cologne pulls in $4.2 million in revenue for teams, sets viewer records". Daily Dot. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
- "27 Million People Watched the Biggest Counter-Strike Tournament Ever". IGN. 25 August 2015. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
- Richard Procter (14 October 2015). "Guild Wars 2 Gets Its Own Esports League". Forbes. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
- Lee, Kevin (28 March 2015). "eSports: the latest 21st century phenomenon or passing fad?". TechRadar. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
- "IEM San Jose With $100K CS:GO Tournament". Domination esports. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
- Keshav (28 October 2015). "ESL confirms they're partnering with Activision for Call of Duty World League Pro Division". Charlie Intel. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
- "ESL Acquires ESEA, Largest CS:GO Platform". IGN. 20 November 2015. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
- Trevor Schmidt. "ESEA partners with IEM for CS:GO Qualifiers". ESEA. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
- "ESPORTS INTEGRITY COALITION LAUNCHED WITH IAN SMITH APPOINTED AS THE FIRST ESPORTS INTEGRITY COMMISSIONER". 8 July 2016.
- "Kontrola antydopingowa wkracza do e-Sportu". Miasto Gier. 13 August 2015. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
- "La montée de l'e-Sport dans le monde". Labo G4. 15 November 2014. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
- John Gaudiosi (3 July 2015). "This eSports company just got acquired for $87 million". Fortune. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
- GmbH, Turtle Entertainment. "A statement from the S.K.I.L.L. team about eSports and other changes - News - Europe - S.K.I.L.L. | ESL Play". play.eslgaming.com. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
- Rasmus Lund-Hansen (3 September 2015). "ESL Reveals Group for Dubai Invitational". 1337 Magazine. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
- Rasmus Lund-Hansen (10 September 2015). "The Crazy Dubai Desert Heat Delays ESL Dubai". 1337 Magazine. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
- Rod Breslau (18 January 2016). "ESL raises CS:GO ESL Pro League prize pool to $1.5 Million for 2016". ESPN. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
- "Germany's best gamers come in Duisburg against each other". WAZ. 29 April 2015. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
- Chris Higgins (16 February 2015). "ESL reveals biggest UK tournament for CS:GO and LoL". MCV. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
- Drall, Pranjall. "ESL Announces $ 1 Million USD Prize Pool for ESL One events". GosuGamers.
- MIRAA. "ESL One Cologne with $250,000". HLTV.
- Striker. "ESL One Katowice with $250,000". HLTV.
- Kim, Sovann. "ESL One 2015 announced for June 20th". GosuGamers.
- "3 Things to Know Before Watching Intel Extreme Masters". Unikr. 21 November 2015. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
- Evan Lahti (24 July 2015). "After drug scandal, ESL says "esports needs to mature"". PC Gamer. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
- Will M (6 March 2015). "ESL Gaming Network to use Wargaming.net Battle API". Programmable Web. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
- Chris Higgins (12 February 2015). "ESL releases matchmaking devkit to debut in WipEout spiritual successor". MCV. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
- Jeff Grubb (13 February 2015). "ESL is using its e-sports expertise to offer developers a multiplayer matchmaking tool". Venture Beat. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
- Stephany Nunneley (16 March 2016). "ESL working with Microsoft to integrate eSports tournament system into Xbox Live". VG 24/7. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
- Melanie Emile (29 February 2016). "AnyKey Focuses on Supporting Diversity in Competitive Gaming". CG Magazine. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
- John Gaudiosi (29 February 2016). "Intel and ESL Aim for More Women in esports". Fortune. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
- Angus Morrison (28 February 2016). "ESL and Intel launch esports diversity initiative AnyKey". PCGamer. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
- Chris Higgins (29 February 2016). "ESL and Intel create AnyKey diversity program for eSports". MCV. Retrieved 15 June 2016.