ESL Pro League to see changes to its format, schedule, broadcast vision, as well as an increase in teams

Improvements to ensure a more global representation of teams in the core of the tournament while maximizing the importance of each match

Press release summary:
– The ESL Pro League (EPL) Group Stage will see 32, instead of 24, teams compete in a format combining double-elimination groups with a last-chance bracket.
– The EPL Conference Stage of Season 17 will take place online, with 11 teams advancing to the Group Stage.
– Starting with EPL Season 18, the Conference Stage will cease to exist, resulting in five weeks of competition per season, instead of six.
– Commencing EPL Season 17, there will be a maximum of two live streams simultaneously and the production will be upgraded with a new broadcast concept. 

Cologne/New York ESL, an ESL FACEIT Group brand, today announced changes and improvements to the ESL Pro League based on feedback from the community, on-air talent, and the Partner Teams of the Louvre Agreement, that will be effective starting with Season 17 in February, 2023.

General ESL Pro League improvements

In order to maximize the importance of each match in the tournament, the ESL Pro League is unveiling a new format. The Group Stage of the tournament will now see four groups of eight teams battle it out in a format that combines double-elimination groups with a last-chance bracket, giving each team three chances before being eliminated out of the competition: 

This change in format also sees an increase in the number of teams competing in the Group Stage from 24 to 32, allowing for a larger and more global representation of teams in the core of the tournament. With this expansion of the Group Stage, the ESL Pro League Conference Stage will cease to exist, commencing Season 18. The planned team allocation for the Season 18 Group Stage will be as follows:

  • 15 Louvre Partner Teams;
  • Three teams qualifying via their ESL World Ranking;
  • Two teams qualifying by winning an ESL Challenger competition;
  • Four teams qualifying from the European (EU) region;
  • Two teams qualifying from the North American (NA) region;
  • Two teams qualifying from the South American (SA) region;
  • Two teams qualifying from the Asian (AS) region;
  • Two teams qualifying from the Oceania (OCE) region.

The four best teams from each Group Stage group proceed to the Playoffs with a round-of-16 Single Elimination bracket:

The ESL Pro League seasons in 2024 are expected to follow a similar format and team allocation, and will be announced later in 2023.

Changes to ESL Pro League Season 17

With the introduction of the new format, ESL Pro League Season 17 will now take place on February 22-March 26, 2023 – a one-week reduction in comparison to what was originally announced earlier this year.

In contrast with other future seasons, the Group Stage of ESL Pro League Season 17 will have a unique team allocation:

  • The 15 Louvre Partner Teams (Astralis, BIG, Complexity, ENCE, Evil Geniuses, FaZe Clan, Fnatic, FURIA, G2 Esports, Heroic, MOUZ, Natus Vincere, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Team Liquid, and Team Vitality);
  • The three teams that qualified through winning an ESL Challenger competition (Movistar Riders, Outsiders, and paiN Gaming);
  • The three teams that qualified based on their position in the ESL World Ranking (Cloud9, OG Esports, and Team Spirit);
  • Eleven teams that will qualify after competing in the ESL Pro League Conference Stage.

As things stand, a total of 23 teams have earned the right to compete in the Conference Stage and to battle it out for the Group Stage slots. In order to best serve all these teams and offer them all the best opportunity to progress, the Conference Stage of Season 17 will be regionalized and take place online in the week of January 16.

The 23 teams that competed across the second half of 2022 in ESL Challenger League, ESL National Championships, and partnered National Competitions are positioned as follows: 

  • Europe – Three teams advance to the Group Stage
    • ECL S41: Team Falcons
    • ECL S42: 9INE
    • ECL S43: forZe
    • ESL NC TR: Eternal Fire
    • ESL NC UK: Endpoint CeX
    • ESL NC DE: Sprout
    • ESL NC PL: Permitta Esports
    • ESL NC ES: Case Esports
    • ESL NC BNL: KRC Genk
    • ESL NC CH: Babos
    • RES Adriatic League: Partizan
    • Master League Portugal: SAW
  • North America – Two teams advance to the Group Stage
    • ECL S41: ATK
    • ECL S42: Nouns
    • ECL S43: MIBR
  • South America – Two teams advance to the Group Stage
    • EC Melbourne 2nd: Imperial Sportsbet
    • SA Qualifier: TBD
  • Asia – Two teams advance to the Group Stage
    • ECL S41: Rare Atom
    • ECL S42: Lynn Vision
    • ECL S43: IHC Esports
  • Oceania – Two teams advance to the Group Stage
    • ANZ Champs S2 1st: Grayhound
    • ANZ Champs S2 2nd: Rooster
    • Oceania Qualifier: TBD

Stay tuned as additional details, like the exact format and schedule for each of these regional competitions, will be announced in the upcoming days.

Additional developments of the ESL Pro League

The above format change has also supported further developments to the ESL Pro League product: the broadcasts from the competition will see improvements as a maximum of two streams will be live simultaneously, as opposed to three during previous seasons. More details about our re-evaluated broadcast philosophy will be revealed in due course.

Our mission is to serve the community, and every discussion and decision taken keeps this in mind, said Shaun Clark, Senior Director of Game Ecosystems – CS:GO.Throughout 2022 we’ve been assessing the state of the ESL Pro League and striving to make positive changes to the product. The three priorities we set were to add more meaningful matches, to accommodate a larger and more global representation of teams, and to improve the broadcast experience. We believe the changes we’ve started to roll out, with more to come, are putting us on the right track moving forward.”

In the spirit of collaboration that characterizes the Louvre Agreement, and the desire to continue improving and progressing our CS:GO events and ecosystem, I strongly believe that we have come up with a new iteration of the ESL Pro League that takes things forward. This new format not only injects heightened drama and jeopardy into every game, but it also means more teams get to compete in the Group Stage, and more teams get to challenge in the playoff stage as well. Once we finalize and roll out the new production offering that will sit between the games, I am sure the ESL Pro League will become even more compelling and entertaining,” added Alex Inglot, Commissioner of the ESL Pro League.

For more details about the ESL Pro Tour for CS:GO, visit the official website, and follow ESL CS on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. For more general information, head to, or follow ESL FACEIT Group and ESL on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.


About ESL

ESL creates a world where everybody can be somebody. For more than two decades, we have been shaping the industry and leading esports and gaming innovation globally across the most popular video games, creating a comprehensive ecosystem with opportunities for players to go from zero to hero and for fans to witness the best stories esports has to offer. The ESL portfolio consists of high-profile products such as the ESL Pro Tour, Intel® Extreme Masters, the Snapdragon Pro Series, and many more, ranging from grassroots to global elite competitions. ESL is part of ESL FACEIT Group, the leading competitive games and esports company.

About ESL Pro League
The ESL Pro League is the world’s longest-running professional league for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, featuring the best teams from Europe, North America, South America and the Asia-Pacific region. Broadcast across various platforms and staged over the years in landmark venues across the globe, the event, split into two seasons a year, provides a unique challenge in the CS:GO calendar and is highly valued by teams, players and fans alike. Originally established in 2015, by 2019 it offered a total prize pool of $1,5 million US dollars. Following the signing of the Louvre Agreement in 2020, ESL Pro League brings 15 of the biggest brands in esports to compete alongside 17 teams trying their best to capitalize on their recent successes (


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