CS:GO

ESL announce exclusive ‘Louvre agreement’ with 13 CSGO teams

by Andy Williams

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ESL have announced an exclusive deal with 13 CS:GO teams dubbed the ‘Louvre agreement’ which provides long-term slots in their global Pro League.

Following FACEIT’s Flashpoint League announcement on February 5, ESL have set forth their new agreement with 13 of the world’s leading Counter-Strike teams.

The agreement sees ESL, DreamHack and 13 top-tier CS:GO teams partner to govern the brand-new global ESL Pro League. Participating teams will also become majority stakeholders in the league, granting them their own long-term slot.

ESL
Signatories of the Louvre agreement include the likes of Astralis, FaZe Clan, Team Liquid and Fnatic.

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What is the Louvre agreement?

In effect, the agreement will seek to bring deep-rooted stability to the participating teams by not only providing them with long-term slots in their new 24-team Pro League, but also dishing out shares of revenues and profits from ESL’s Pro Tour events — previously leaked to be 21.25% of all gross revenue and 60% of profits in the first year, although this is yet to be officially confirmed.

Per ESL’s press release statement, “the new agreement further establishes the ESL Pro Tour as one of the most valuable properties in the global business of esports.”

Given that all 13 teams are majority stakeholders in ESL’s new operational model, they will play a pivotal role in the league’s strategic decision-making process.

Teams for Season 11 of ESL Pro League.
ESL
24 teams have been invited to compete in ESL’s global Pro League for Season 11.

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What does the Louvre agreement mean for CS:GO?

The Louvre agreement will alter the landscape of competitive CS:GO. For starters, ESL have scrapped their regionalized approach and moved to a single-division model for their Pro League, inviting 11 more teams to join their founding 13 teams.

Partner teams will retain a spot in the Pro League, while the remaining 11 teams can qualify through their ESL Ranking or directly through the Mountain Dew League (ESL Pro League’s gateway competition) for future seasons.

Coming March 16, ESL’s Pro League will separate the 24 teams into four groups, each comprised of six teams. Matches will take place in a round-robin, best-of-three format, where the winner of each group will earn their chance to play for a direct slot into the semifinals.

All matches starting in Round 3 are set to be played in an arena location, which will build-up to a best-of-five Grand Final. All other ESL Pro Tour events will not be scheduled to take place during the ESL Pro League season.

ESL Pro League new format.
ESL
ESL’s Pro League format grants the top three teams from each group a ticket into the single-elimination bracket.

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ESL’s Chief Product Officer, Sebastian Weishaar, spoke of the “stability and growth” that will come as a by-product of the investment from the agreement’s founding teams. 

“‘The Louvre Agreement,’ as we have grown fond of calling it, is a clear vote of confidence by the best teams in the world (and their players) to create the most valuable products,” Weishaar shared.

“It will build a platform to create stability and growth, without sacrificing the ability for new teams and players to climb to the top,” ​

Helena Kristiansson (ESL)
Pro League teams will compete during a four-week period, which includes a full offline regular season in a studio and a three-day finals event.

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ESL provided Dexerto with the following statement regarding the Pro Tour structure, exclusivity and the ESL Ranking system:

“As an important part of driving the CS:GO ecosystem forward, we have been working with multiple teams to improve and further establish a joint approach to funding the activities in the space. That process started years ago and has been continuing ever since, being adjusted multiple times along the way.

“In-line with the spirit of the Valve blog post, any team playing in our tournaments will remain free to participate in any other tournaments they want. Regarding the ESL Ranking, we have developed it in the past years as a key tool for event invites and seeding and will continue to do so without preventing any team from referring to any other ranking.

“Overall, ESL Pro Tour events will remain open for everyone to play in regardless of if they want to engage in closer business relationships with us beyond their tournament participation."

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ESL partnered teams under the Louvre agreement

  • Astralis
  • Complexity
  • ENCE
  • Evil Geniuses
  • FaZe Clan
  • Fnatic
  • G2 Esports
  • Mousesports
  • Natus Vincere
  • Ninja in Pyjamas
  • Team Liquid
  • Team Vitality
  • 100 Thieves

Remaining 11 invited ESL Pro League teams (Season 11)

  • BOOM
  • Forze
  • Furia Esports
  • Godsent
  • Heroic
  • North
  • OG Esports
  • Rengades
  • Sharks Esports
  • Tyloo
  • Virtus.pro

Some glaring omissions include Immortals-owned MiBR and former major winners, Cloud9 — who have both pledged their allegiance to FACEIT's Flashpoint League, alongside the likes of Dignitas, MAD Lions and Gen.G.