In simple words, ESL originally stands for Electronic Sports League. ESL is an eSports company which organizes competitions around the world. It’s the oldest professional eSports organization that is still running as well as is the world’s largest eSports company. ESL is based in Cologne, Germany, but also has multiple international TV studios and eleven offices around the world. In addition, it is the largest eSports company to broadcast on Twitch. In the year 2000, ESL was launched as Deutsche Clanliga’s successor founded in 1997. The company started with a gaming magazine and an online gaming league. Also, it rented out various services for game competitions.
The Electronic Sports League hosts world-wide competitions, partnering with publishers such as Riot Games, Valve Corporation, Blizzard Entertainment, Wargaming.net, Microsoft and multiple others to assist the progress of thousands of gaming competitions each year. The competitors of ESL are supported on both international and national levels. The following are some of their more outstanding competitions:
ESL Play. For eSports ESL Play is the world’s leading platform. It provides ladders and tournaments across games and different skill levels. The first cup of the league ladder, known as ESL Open, is open to everyone (including beginners). While competitions of ESL Major have entry requirements and you are required to earn a spot in ESL Pro competition to win on this level. However, ESL Major also contains free tournaments that are open to everyone such as Go4 Cups. Tournaments at this level require prior qualification.
ESL Pro Leagues. Currently, ESL hosts 9 official Pro Leagues for Counter-Strike, Rocket League, Overwatch, Guild Wars 2, Guardians, Gears of War, Hearthstone, Halo 5, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege and Mortal Kombat X. A part of the ESL’s list of pro leagues games was also the game S.K.I.L.L. (from Gameforge), but due to poor reception, it was dropped after its second season.
The ESL CS:GO Pro League is a competition that takes place across continents having finals in Cologne, Los Angeles, and London. In the year of 2015, the ESL CS:GO Pro League had a pre-season invitational in Dubai, but in 2016, the CS:GO Pro Leagues prize pool was raised to $1.5 Million by ESL.
ESL National Championships. ESL National Championships are known as region-specific ESL Pro Competitions that take place in different countries. The German championship, ESL Meisterschaft, started in 2002 and is the oldest of eSports leagues. Since 2010 the ESL UK Premiership (another regional eSports program) has been the largest regional tournament of ESL. National Championships are established with a purpose to expand local eSports competition around the world.
ESL One. ESL One stands for premier offline tournaments of various games (such as Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive) and are normally considered among the most reputable events for each game. The events of ESL One usually are chosen to be part of the CS:GO Major series, which sponsored by Valve. The Majors of The ESL Counter-Strike have been: ESL One Cologne 2014, EMS One Katowice 2014, ESL One Cologne 2015, ESL One Katowice 2015 and ESL One Cologne 2016. But in July 2017, five out of the eleven Valve Majors tournaments were hosted by ESL.
Intel Extreme Masters. The Intel Extreme Masters refers to the series of the world’s longest-running global eSports tournaments.