ESL Pro League: 2023 Update

After receiving feedback from the community, on-air talent, and the partner teams of the Louvre Agreement throughout 2022, we’ve taken the decision to reevaluate ESL Pro League. There are changes and improvements we’ll be making in 2023, all of which will be effective starting from Season 17 in February.

What’s changing?

  • Format: From Round Robin to a format combining double-elimination groups with a last chance bracket
  • Teams: Group Stage increased from 24 to 32 teams
  • EPL Conference: Moved online to advance 11 teams to the Group Stage
  • Schedule: From six to five weeks
  • Streams: From A-B-C streams to only A-B streams
  • Broadcast: New philosophy and production setup for the show 

FOrmat

The goal of the format change is to move towards more meaningful matches, much earlier on within the tournament. The new format for the Group Stages will be a format combining double-elimination groups with a last chance bracket into a ‘Ro16 Single Elimination’ bracket for the Playoffs.

  • 4 Groups of 8 Teams
  • Three chances before elimination

Previously with Round Robin, there were many matches that became meaningless as they had very little to no impact on the development of the tournament.

epl 17 GROUP STAGE (1)
EPL 17 Playoff Bracket (2)

Teams

The Group Stage will increase to 32 teams. This change was done to accommodate a larger, more global representation of teams in the core of the tournament as well as to better synergize with our desired new format.

S17 2023 - Team Allocation (unique to S17 - please see details below)

  • 15x Partner Teams
  • 3x ESL World Ranking
  • 3x ESL Challenger 
  • 11x EPL Conference

EPL Season 17 - Group Stage Team Distribution

Conference StageGroup Stage
EU: 3x ESL PARTNER TEAMS 15x
NA: 2x ESL WR: 3x
SA: 2x ESL Challenger 3x
ASIA 2x CONFERENCE STAGE: 11x
OCE 2x

EPL CONFERENCE

The EPL Conference for S17 did not take place this year as originally planned, due to this, more feeding tournaments have completed and have generated a larger than anticipated amount of teams (23x) that have earned the right to compete for advancement to the EPL Group Stage. In order to best serve all these teams, the best course of action is to regionalize and run the EPL Conference online, offering them all to retain the ability to compete for advancement.

The 23x teams that competed across the second half of 2022 in ESL Challenger League, in ESL National Championships or partnered National Competitions are positioned as such: 

  • Europe - 3x Teams to advance
    • ECL S41: Team Falcons
    • ECL S42: 9INE
    • ECL S43: forZe
    • ESL NC TR: Eternal Fire
    • ESL NC UK: Endpoint CeX
    • ESL NC DE: Sprout
    • ESL NC PL: Permitta Esports
    • ESL NC ES: Case Esports
    • ESL NC FR: HEET
    • ESL NC BNL: KRC Genk
    • ESL NC CH: Babos
    • RES Adriatic League: Partizan
    • Master League Portugal: SAW
  • North America - 2x Teams to advance
    • ECL S41: ATK
    • ECL S42: Nouns
    • ECL S43: MIBR
  • South America - 2x Teams to advance
    • EC Melbourne 2nd: Imperial Sportsbet
    • ESL NC BR: 00NATION
    • SA Qualifier: TBD
  • Asia - 2x Teams to advance
    • ECL S41: Rare Atom
    • ECL S42: Lynn Vision
    • ECL S43: IHC Esports
  • Oceania - 2x Teams to advance
    • ANZ Champs S2 1st: Grayhound
    • ANZ Champs S2 2nd: Rooster
    • Oceania Qualifier: TBD

These competitions will be taking place across the week of January 16 - 21 and there will be a follow up announcement to detail the exact format and day by day schedule.

With the increase from 24 to 32 teams in the EPL Group Stages, the EPL Conference will cease to exist in Season 18 and the planned team allocation will be as follows. 

S18 2023 - Team Allocation 

  • 15x Partner Teams
  • 3x ESL World Ranking
  • 2x ESL Challenger
  • 4x EU
  • 2x NA
  • 2x SA
  • 2x AS
  • 2x OCE

The EPL competitions in 2024 are expected to follow a very similar allocation and will be announced later in 2023.

Schedule

With the introduction of the new format, EPL S17 will now take place across: Feb 22 - Mar 26, a one week reduction in comparison to what we announced on Oct 27th. The change is a byproduct of the desired outcome from the format adjustments in order to get towards more meaningful matches, quicker.

Streams

As another desired result of the format change, we will no longer be producing a C stream. The tournament will have a total of 26 play days, 10 of them requiring a B stream to broadcast parallel matches.

Broadcast Vision

We are under-work on reevaluating our broadcast philosophy and will follow up with more details in the new year. The production setup for the coming season will furthermore be structured in a way that it addresses the shortcomings which were experienced during the previous season. We genuinely believe that the new broadcast philosophy together with the setup will raise the experience for everyone.

CONCLUSION

We are excited for ESL Pro League in 2023 as we believe these adjustments will give the product a breath of fresh air. We’ll be looking to announce more details on the broadcast vision and the details of the format and scheduling for EPL Conference in the coming days.

Coming UP on ESL Pro Tour

IEM Katowice

31 JAN - 12 FEBCHAMPIONSHIP

ESL Pro League

22 FEB - 26 MarMASTERS

IEM Spring

17 - 23 APRMasters

ESL Challenger
Melbourne

28 - 30 AprChallenger

IEM Dallas

29 MAY - 4 JunMasters

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