Astralis Showing Interest in ESL Pro League Instead of B-Site
Not too long ago, we discussed the new CS:GO League, from B Site Inc., organized by FACEIT. Right now, all we know is that it’s the B Site League, but it could have another name. But what I think is fascinating is that it sounds like Astralis, the Danish powerhouse team would rather play in the ESL Pro League!
However, unlike a lot of esports news, this comes with a nice caveat that cannot be disputed. Astralis Group’s CEO, Anders Hørsholt delivered a brief but succinct announcement on their website.
How’s that for an opening salvo on the war for major teams in CS:GO?
ESL Pro League Is Serious Business
Here’s the letter from Anders in its entirety:
ESL and a number of the world’s top CS:GO teams including Astralis have met in Paris to discuss the transformation of the ESL Pro League. ESL and the teams are looking to secure a long-term agreement.
Negotiations regarding the final term sheet are still ongoing and are expected to be signed in the near future.
Further announcements will be published when the circumstances require it.
Could that be a sign ESL was worried about the B Site League? I doubt it. FACEIT is big, but they’re nothing compared to the might of the ESL Pro League. Last week, the format of the Pro League was changed, with the number of participants cut in half. ESL Pro League Season 11 is kicking off in March. Astralis is one of the 24 teams invited.
Now, none of the teams have officially said one way or another that they are going to either League. But Complexity and NiP (Ninjas in Pyjamas) did hint at an interest in the Pro League instead of B Site. It’s no big secret that Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander and the Astralis squad are the best CS:GO in the world.
What Is the Fate of CS:GO Esports?
It’s just a matter of fact. Every other team in the world likely has one goal: Beat Astralis and claim that spot for themselves. The B Site Inc. League is still looking to solidify deals with four other organizations. According to ESPN, the League has six partners: Cloud9, MIBR, Dignitas, Gen.G, MAD Lions and c0ntact Gaming. Those are serious names across a variety of games in the esports scene.
Those are all but confirmed with B Site. I have no idea if this is an exclusivity contract, though. If not, perhaps the teams like Cloud9 and Gen.G would double down and play in both? It would be hard to field a pair of professional CS:GO teams unless they bought out other lesser-known squads.
What I do think is interesting is that the change of the CS:GO ESL format wasn’t received positively from what I saw. With half the potential teams cut, we also saw that the teams would have to attend the next season of ESA MDL and qualify for ESL Pro League Season 12. There was a serious lack of communication here.
The CS:GO teams found out after the announcement. If that’s not enough, the Counter-Strike Professional Players Association (CSPPA) was also criticized for not protecting these teams and the players who lost their Pro League spot.
So Astralis joining the ESL Pro League would be smart. Less competition to stay on top against. With those other teams losing their ESL Pro League spots, they could move to the B Site Inc. League, even if it’s less money. We’ll have to see what kind of money is on the line across the two leagues, and what those who lost their spots will do next.
Vice President of Product in the ESL Ulrich Schulzer spoke about the lack of communication:
“We got it wrong by not letting affected teams know further in advance that significant changes were coming, including the number of teams playing. While several important elements that the league’s structure were unknown until last week, the teams were not given enough notice.”
“ESL Pro League and MDL are core elements of ESL Pro Tour [ESL and DreamHack’s circuit], and it is our clear intent to make sure that MDL remains and grows as a stable environment for teams to compete in below EPL.”
It could wind up being at least decent for other CS:GO tournaments like the B Site. There’s nothing wrong with having multiple tournament outlets, either. But it does sound like for now. We can expect more intense Astralis action in the ESL Pro League. Until we see a signed, sealed contract, anything could happen.