Last year, the ESL AU&NZ National Championship for 2018 saw 897,000 hours of watched content and over five million people reached on social media. Today, we're pleased to announce the return of the program for 2019 with our flagship title: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive!
This year, an increased focus on promoting strong local talent across Australia & New Zealand will see new opportunities for teams competing in the program, the first of which being the "IEM Sydney Derby" - a four-team CS:GO qualifier that will seed one team directly into the Intel® Extreme Masters Sydney Group Stages.
The ESL AU&NZ Championship season format will also see a change this year, with CS:GO featuring twelve teams (down from sixteen) as the season prize pool remains at $20,000AUD. The region's best teams from the season will qualify through to the live finals in the first half of this year, with more information on venue and dates to be announced in the coming months.
- Season 8 will feature twelve CS:GO teams;
- Eight teams will be invited directly into the league,
- Four teams will qualify through the open qualifiers,
- Teams will be split into two groups of six.
- All regular season matches will be on a best-of-three basis;
- Teams will only be required to play on one night per week,
- Matchdays will range between Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings.
- A direct qualification to the Intel® Extreme Masters Sydney group stage up for grabs via the IEM Sydney Derby;
- The season finals will feature six teams in attendance;
- The top two teams of each group will advance directly to the season finals,
- Teams ranked in the third and fourth place of each group will be invited to compete in the season's last chance qualifier.
For those that don't have a chance to qualify via the direct invitation phase, never fear - the open qualifiers are path for you! Taking place over four weekends respectively, the open qualifiers are open to anyone and everyone as teams partake in a double elimination bracket, featuring a best-of-one format.
The qualifying match of the tournament (grand final) will be on a best-of-three basis, with the upper bracket team having a one-game advantage.
- Qualifier #1 - February 09/10:
- Qualifier #2 - February 16/17:
- Qualifier #3 - February 23/24:
- Qualifier #4 - March 02/03
Commencing in March, 2019 - the league will see twelve teams in total compete over five weeks in the regular season. Teams will be split into two groups of six, with teams only being required to play one best-of-three series per week - with matchdays ranging between Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings.
By the end of the season, the top two teams of each group will advance directly to both the season finals, and the IEM Sydney Derby - a direct qualification pathway to the Intel® Extreme Masters Sydney Group Stages later in May.
Teams placed in the third and fourth place of each group will be invited to compete in the season's Last Chance Qualifier - a final chance for teams to qualify for the season finals and earn their share of $20,000AUD.
- Week 1: 12/13/14 of March, 2019;
- Week 2: 19/20/21 of March, 2019;
- Week 3: 26/27/28 of March, 2019;
- Week 4: 02/03/04 of April, 2019;
- Week 5: 09/10/11 of April, 2019;
IEM Sydney Derby
One of the latest opportunities this season for our players is the introduction of the IEM Sydney Derby - a four-team CS:GO qualifier that will seed one team directly to the Intel® Extreme Masters Sydney Group Stages.
Operating as a four-team single elimination competition, the leading team in each group respectively will take on the opposing team's second ranked team. This opening round will be on a best-of-three basis.
The championship match will be where everything is on the line - a best-of-five series with the winner taking home a group stage ticket to the Intel® Extreme Masters Sydney.
- IEM Sydney Derby: 16/17/18 of April
Last Chance Qualifier
The last chance qualifier is the last step in qualifying the final two teams for our season finals. For this stage of the season, teams ranked in the third and fourth place of each group will face off in a weighted elimination tournament in a series of best-of-three matches.
With the opening round operating as a best-of-three series, the third ranked team in each group will take on the opposing group's third ranked team - with the winner qualifying directly to the season finals.
Meanwhile, the fourth ranked team in each respective group will take on one another, with the loser being eliminated from the competition. From here, a best-of-five series will take place between the Loser of Match A, and the Winner of Match B to determine the final qualification slot into the season finals.
Operating as a six-team single elimination tournament, the season finals will showcase the best Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams from across the region as they compete for their share in $20,000AUD.
More information on the venue and dates to be announced in the coming months.