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ESL: the results of 2018

Posted Jan 25, 2019

ESL is probably the most prominent esports events organizer of all we had reviewed. The company that has a huge impact on the industry in general and collaborates with most developers. As a result, a huge number of championships in the most popular disciplines are held thanks to this tournament operator. Today we will summarize its results for the past year.

Looks like it’s worth starting with the fact that ESL is a truly unique project. In the modern world of esports, if a game developer wants to hold its own tournament, then, as a rule of thumb, they go to this particular company for assistance. In addition, the operator’s influence on the industry is so great that, for several years in a row, it maintains close relations with the authorities of the Polish city of Katowice, which is the final stop of each season of Intel Extreme Masters.

However, in 2018, the range of ESL activities has changed a little and now it is increasingly holding events on mobile games. It may well be that the top management understands the trends and tries to keep up with them. Will the tournament operator expand to the mobile gaming market in 2019? Who knows.

But the year has not passed without failures. The Facebook deal ended in the worst possible way. To remind you, through this agreement ESL was obliged to broadcast its events on a special platform from FB. The whole deal was about holding rights to the English-language part of events.

However, the unpreparedness of the social network played a bad joke and the community, for the most part, simply stopped watching such championships. But, to the delight of fans, in 2019 this partnership will affect only the Pro League on CS:GO. Most likely, the organizer received a lesson and in the future will think twice before embarking on such an adventure.

Speaking about the partnership, it is impossible not to recall Mercedes-Benz. During the year, ESL has played several such cars at its Dota championships. Such a gift was to be received by a player recognized as the best of all the participants. Unsurprisingly, most of the cars were earned by the guys from Virtus.pro.

We would like to finish this part of the article with DHL's advertising integration. Advertisements of this German logistics company fill us with emotions most pleasant. And this is to be expected after all the work done by advertisers.

If we sum up the general results, over the past year the company has managed to hold 86 major events, not counting the qualifications of course. The most popular event was the notorious IEM Katowice, which we wrote about earlier.

Popularity-wise, when taking the Chinese audience into account, the title of “people's favorite” will go to the ESL One Birmingham 2018. Eastern gamers have always loved Dota 2 championships. These are also the most “expensive” events, having awarded a total of $1 million to competitors.

At organizer's most popular event Intel Extreme Masters Katowice there were competitions in several disciplines at once. Western audience has enjoyed Counter-Strike: Global Offensive championship the most. Our Chinese friends have dedicated their attention to another shooter - Crossfire. Based on how their interests ranked, Dota tournament became the second most favorite for both of these regions.

Yet another game made by Seattle guys became ESL's most popular discipline. The company held a total of 38 major competitions for CS:GO. This level of interest, however, was not quite supported by shooter's creators themselves – since in 2018 both World Championships were given to other organizers. At the beginning of the year, the World Championship was held by ELEAGUE, whereas closer to the middle of the year, the organizational tasks were delegated to Faceit.

During 2018, the hero of our article was able to provide the industry with more than a dozen wonderful events. Many studios were approaching the tournament operator for help, including international gaming giants like Ubisoft.

Already in the beginning of 2019 ESL was instructed to hold two important championships at once. The organizer received the first major of the year in Katowice from Valve. On the other side, the creators of Rainbow Six Siege entrusted the organizer with an international event known as Six Invitational.

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