At a press conference at the Barclays Center, where the ESL One New York playoffs are about to get underway, Michal “Carmac” Blicharz, ESL’s VP of Pro Gaming, announced that the new ESL Pro Tour flagship tournaments, the Masters Championships, will have a $1 million prize purse starting with ESL One Cologne 2020. Before that, one Masters Championship will be played, IEM Katowice 2020, where the prize purse will remain at the already announced $500,000.
The ESL Pro Tour is a consolidation of ESL’s and DreamHack’s circuits into a single entity with over 20 competitions running yearly across several tiers. The Challenger tournaments, which include the likes of DreamHack Opens, ESL’s national championships, or MDL, will give way to the Masters tournaments, such as ESL Pro League or DreamHack Masters, with the two top events of the year, the Masters Championships, being IEM Katowice and ESL One Cologne.
Despite the circuit having a ranking system which will provide invites to teams for the Masters Championships, open qualifiers will still be provided for teams to qualify to ESL Pro Tour events. The first tournaments to send their winners to the first Masters Championship will take place this autumn, being DreamHack Masters Malmö, IEM Beijing, and the ESL Pro League finals
With the “where everybody can be somebody” tagline, ESL hope to create a circuit which will encompass competitive play from the grassroots all the way to the highest level while creating a single narrative across all of their brand’s tournaments.