[image credit : Blizzard]
ESL and DreamHack have entered a three-year strategic partnership with Activision Blizzard Entertainment.
The deal will see ESL and DreamHack, which are both owned by Modern Times Group, establish ESL 2020 Pro Tour circuits for StarCraft II and Warcraft III: Reforged, boasting prize pools of $1.8m and more than $200K respectively.
ESL has a long history with both titles, having been involved with StarCraft II since its debut in 2010 and running tournaments for Warcraft II since way back in 2006.
The ESL Pro Tour StarCraft II will serve as a replacement for the StarCraft II World Championship Series, and will hit at least four continents, with qualifying based on the existing WCS system. The first season will consist of seven tournaments, including two IEM events, four DreamHack events and a Masters Championship at IEM Katowice in 2021.
Meanwhile, the ESL Pro Tour Warcraft III: Reforged, will consist of one ESL and three DreamHack events, plus a championship tournament later in the year.
Both new ESL Pro Tours, which join the ESL Pro Tour for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive announced in September 2019, will also feature weekly ESL Open Cups for the wider amateur and grassroots communities.
Discussing the partnership CPO at ESL, Sebastian Weishaar, said:
“We feel extremely honored to establish a new home for RTS esports fans and be responsible for two of the most prestigious esports titles of all time. ESL and DreamHack are deeply rooted within Blizzard esports games and have built ecosystems around them for years now.
“Tying both StarCraft II and Warcraft III into the ESL Pro Tour narrative is our contribution to these passionate communities and will provide both titles with a promising platform to continue writing esports history.”
While President of Blizzard Entertainment, J. Allen Brack, added:
“We are so proud that StarCraft II and Warcraft III are home to two of the most passionate, storied and devoted communities in esports history. Both ESL and DreamHack have been long-standing partners for our esports, and we want to give our players, talent, content creators and fans the stability inherent in a long-term relationship, keeping these communities thriving for years to come.”