ESL, DreamHack, and CSPPA (Counter-Strike Professional Players’ Association) sign historic framework agreement for ESL Pro Tour

Cologne – Jan. 16th, 2020 – ESL, the world’s largest esports company, DreamHack, and the Counter-Strike Professional Players’ Association (CSPPA) on behalf of its member players today announced a partnership that will establish the participation framework for professional CS:GO players in the ESL Pro Tour. The agreement represents a group effort to ensure continued growth and professionalization for competitive CS:GO in a way that accounts for the needs of players as well as tournament organizers.

This will be the first-ever framework agreement of this sort in esports, modeled on the basis of similar agreements in successful traditional sports. It marks a milestone in the maturation and growth of the CS:GO ecosystem and provides a landmark for other esports titles.

The partnership is an extension of ESL and DreamHack’s ongoing dialogue and cooperation with the CSPPA, and covers all competitions within the ESL Pro Tour, which links every ESL and DreamHack competition globally through a series of over 20 events, culminating in Intel® Extreme Masters Katowice and ESL One Cologne.  

CSPPA will work with ESL and DreamHack on the governance of the tournament circuit, participation in business revenues, defining player rights and obligations at live events as well as making the current ESL tournament conditions the standard across tournaments. Further, CSPPA parties will cooperate on the ESL Pro Tour events calendar and the summer and winter player breaks.

The agreement also provides a basis for future cooperation regarding standard player contracts, player intellectual property rights, and potential joint projects in the future.

CSPPA will act as a joint representative for its member players and provide input from players on all matters relating to the working conditions of the players. ESL and DreamHack have committed to maintaining their current standard, which includes travel and accommodation for seven members per team, group stage tournament areas and private practice rooms in the player hotel, defined distances between the hotel and the playoffs venue, and more.  

The CSPPA will also elect representatives for the ESL Pro League Player Council which helps govern the league.

Mads Øland, CEO of the CSPPA:

“The life of a professional CS:GO player revolves around tournament participation all over the world. This makes the working conditions of players in connection with tournaments a key priority of the CSPPA. In the current tournament landscape, ESL sets the industry standard for such working conditions and with this partnership ESL has committed to maintain and develop such standards in close cooperation with the CSPPA. The agreement solidifies the working partnership between CSPPA, ESL and DreamHack and establishes the best possible basis for us to work together on elevating professional CS:GO to the benefit of all stakeholders involved and for the players to deliver a performance which meets the highest standards demanded by the global CS:GO community and the game and its 20 year legacy.”

Ulrich Schulze, Senior Vice President Product at ESL:

“It was ESL’s priority over the last 24 months to ensure that CS:GO pros regard our tournaments as best in class. The natural extension of this effort is recognizing the CSPPA as a partner in improving the ESL Pro Tour.  This partnership is a very important milestone for us, as well as a big step forward towards the future of the industry.”

The framework agreement will be effective immediately, starting with the very first CS:GO competition in 2020, being IEM Katowice.

For more information about the ESL Pro Tour, please visit the official website and follow ESL on Twitter and Facebook. Please also check out the announcement and interview videos. 

ESL is the world’s largest esports company. Founded in 2000, ESL has been shaping the industry across the most popular video games with numerous online and offline esports competitions. The company operates high profile, branded international leagues and tournaments under the ESL Pro Tour including ESL One, Intel® Extreme Masters, ESL Pro League, and other premier stadium-size tournaments, to more clearly define the path from zero to hero. ESL also produces the ESL National Championships, grassroots amateur cups, and matchmaking systems, creating a world where everybody can be somebody. With offices all over the world, ESL is leading esports innovation on a global scale through the combination of global ESL competitions, amateur leagues, publisher activations, and more. ESL is a part of MTG, the leading international digital entertainment group. 


DreamHack is all about entertainment for the digital generation. Founded in 1994 as a BYOC LAN party, DreamHack grew over 25 years to a global phenomenon as the digital festival for today’s youth, hosted throughout Europe and North America. DreamHack festivals feature multiple esports competitions, live music, exhibitions, creative competitions, LAN party, cosplay and much more. DreamHack helped pioneer esports and continues to be one of the largest global producers of esports content. Millions of viewers tune in from all over the world to watch DreamHack broadcasts every year. DreamHack events welcomed more than 345,000 visitors in 2019.

More information is available at DreamHack is part of leading international digital entertainment group MTG. More information at

Counter-Strike Professional Players’ Association (CSPPA) is the worldwide representative association of professional CS:GO players and is the first-ever independent players’ association in professional esports. CSPPA was established in 2018 by Scott ‘SirScoots’ Smith and a board of players consisting of Andreas ‘Xyp9x’ Højsleth (Chairman), Jonathan ‘EliGE’ Jablonowski (Co-Chairman), Chris ’ChrisJ’ de Jong, Epitacio ‘TACO’ de Melo, Tarik ‘tarik’ Celik, Jordan ‘n0thing’ Gilbert, Nathan ’NBK’ Schmitt. More information is available on CSPPA’s twitter account (@CSPPAgg) and the CSPPA website (

Contact us

EFG owns a portfolio of brands in different categories. We are leading the industry with numerous online and offline competitions, digital platforms as well as gaming lifestyle festivals.