The ESL Pro Tour is officially partnering with Canadian ecommerce giant Shopify to amplify Starcraft II esports. As announced, the collaboration will bring doubled prize pools and the return of SC2’s “Signature Series.”
With ESL Pro Tour action underway in the StarCraft circuit, the organization has revealed that Shopify is getting involved as a new partner and what that partnership should entail.
For fans, the return of in-depth player portraits in the “Signature Series” should be exciting. For players, a simpler cause for excitement: all Open Cup prize pools are getting doubled.
ESL’s director of product management, Shaun Clark, broke down what this new partnership brings to the table, shared values between the brands, and details on upcoming enhancements. Aside from the Shopify-centric upgrades, he also touched on upcoming map pool efforts in collaboration with Blizzard Entertainment and Team Liquid.
We are beyond thrilled to announce that the ESL Pro Tour is levelling up! ✨
With the help of @Shopify , the circuit will continue to evolve during 2021
— ESL StarCraft 2 (@ESLSC2) May 21, 2021
As Clark notes, “Shopify shares our values, our vision, and has the same level of passion as we do.” This should be unsurprising to SC2 fans, as the ecommerce company already launched a StarCraft II esports team when they announced their esports organization, “The Rebellion,” in February 2021.
Now, Shopify is working to help the scene grow with content and prize pools — rather than just adding to the competitive field with their own roster.
This new partnership will allow the ESL Pro Tour to bring back the “Signature Series,” a number of miniature documentaries about individual players, diving into their life stories and road to the pros. Additionally, it will allow the Pro Tour to double all prize pools for Open Cup events, meaning the top eight teams weekly will all receive some compensation.
These changes are expected to both help the groundwork for SC2 with the Open Cup, while also generating hype for the IEM Katowice 2022 championship with original, player-driven content.
As a last note, Clark also expands upon another collaboration coming — with Liquid and Blizzard — that focuses entirely on map pools. As he elaborates, this new effort is poised to ensure that “the map rotations are refreshed on a regular basis.”