2019 – The year began with some rejuvenating changes! ESL introduced a new brand refresh, Season 2 of the Intel® Grand Slam and also launched the ESL Pro Tour. ESL entered a new friendship initiative with the ‘Good Luck Have Fun’ pledge for diversity and inclusion in gaming, while also jumping aboard the ‘Gaming for Good’ initiative alongside Gamers Outreach to provide children in hospitals with access to video games.
The Spodek Arena sought fans from around the world as IEM Katowice 2019 kicked off. Astralis earned their 3rd CS:GO Major title, the most Major titles achieved by any team in all of history after they defeated ENCE, an unsuspecting but dangerous Finnish squad who defied all odds to reach the final. Although Astralis won the Major, it was North America’s Team Liquid who astounded the world as they went on to win the second season of the Intel® Grand Slam in a bewildering 63 days earning themselves $1,000,000. After winning ESL One Cologne 2019, the Cathedral of Counter-Strike, Team Liquid continued on their tirade and won a total of 6 back-to-back events, their dream run finally ending after lifting the IEM Chicago 2019 trophy. Team Liquid weren’t the only team to achieve brilliance throughout 2019, their counterparts Evil Geniuses won ESL One New York 2019 right after rebranding from NRG Esports.
Team Secret lifted the trophy at both ESL One Katowice 2019 and broke Viewership records after winning ESL One Birmingham 2019. A new record was also set for Australian Esports Viewership as the Intel Extreme Masters visited Down-Under for the third time where Team Liquid claimed another title and took home the lionshare of $250,000.
StarCraft II celebrated a decade as the leading title on the Intel® Extreme Masters and 2019 shone as a truly record breaking year.