ESL Meisterschaft: The longest-running esports league celebrates its 50th Season

ESL Meisterschaft at DreamHack Hanover

The German national league, also called “Königsklasse”, looks back at 21 years of esports history

– ESL Meisterschaft was founded in 2002
– The 50th Season runs until June 11, 2023
– Games included are CS:GO, Warcraft III, and Teamfight Tactics
– ESL Meisterschaft is a stepping stone for players in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland to perform on the big stage

Cologne The historic 50th season of the German national league, ESL Meisterschaft, has started! Until June 11, 2023, the best players and teams from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland will go head-to-head in hopes to win the title of German Champions. ESL, an ESL FACEIT Group (EFG) brand, and Freaks 4U Gaming, a global full-service agency specializing in esports and gaming, are set to host competitions across Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), Warcraft III (WC3), and Teamfight Tactics (TFT). The 50th season officially starts on March 6, 2023, at 6:30pm CET.

Launching in 2002, ESL Meisterschaft is the longest-running esports league. While Counter-Strike has always been an integral part of ESL Meisterschaft, other games have been added over the years. Freaks 4U Gaming has been operating EFG’s national league since 2021 as part of a multi-year partnership with the aim to further strengthen Germany as a leading esports market for players, fans, and partners.

“ESL Meisterschaft has been an integral part of the esports community for over two decades. The league’s rich history of memorable moments, champions, and exciting narratives is unique in esports,” said Michael Haenisch, CEO of Freaks 4U Gaming. “The league has laid the foundation for German and international esports as we know it today. I am excited that Freaks – as the official operator of the league and a key player that has helped to shape esports in the region alongside ESL – can continue to write exciting history together with EFG.”

“ESL Meisterschaft, back then it was called ESL Pro Series, was the first professional building block, and the most important of its time, to establish esports in Germany,” Ralf Reichert, Executive Chairman of EFG, recalls. “It was the first league that created truly magical moments for players and fans. ESL’s mission, ‘From Zero to Hero,’ that anyone can make it to the top, originated from this league. We are glad to have Freaks 4U Gaming on board as they continue to shape the league’s future.”

Long-standing partnerships also show that ESL Meisterschaft still carries great significance with big names such as Intel®, BenQ, McDonald’s, and Deutsche Post (German parcel service).

The 50th season of ESL Meisterschaft features three competitions:

  • CS:GO:
    • 12 teams
    • 50,000 € total prize pool
    • The date and location of the finals will be revealed in the upcoming weeks.
    • The winning team qualifies for the Play-In Stage at IEM Cologne 2023.
  • WC3:
    • 12 players
    • 11,750 € total prize pool
    • The date and location of the finals will be revealed in the upcoming weeks.
  • TFT:
    • 16 players
    • 12,500 € total prize pool
    • The top 7 TFT players receive an invitation to the Golden Spatula Cup where they have to stand their ground against the best players from other countries.

The complete 50th season of ESL Meisterschaft in CS:GO will be streamed live on the 99Damage Twitch channel, starting on March 6, 2023, at 6:30pm CET. The WC3 and TFT tournaments will be streamed on the Twitch channels of Back2Warcraft and SummonerstInnLive respectively.

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More info about and clips of ESL Meisterschaft are available at as well as on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.


About Freaks 4U Gaming
Freaks 4U Gaming is a global full-service agency specializing in esports and gaming. Headquartered in Berlin with regional offices across Europe, Asia, and North America, the company offers unparalleled industry insights and a multitude of client-centric solutions since 2011. From strategic consultancy to online and offline activations, Freaks 4U Gaming also delivers state-of-the-art broadcast productions as one of the most prominent esports content creators worldwide. Deeply rooted at the heart of the community, Freaks 4U Gaming has built some of the most successful communities through its proprietary platforms including 99Damage, Summoner’s Inn, and 1pv. For more information visit

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 FACEIT Group
ESL FACEIT Group (EFG) is the leading esports and video game entertainment company dedicated to creating worlds beyond gameplay where players and fans become community. EFG is built on a legacy of world-renowned brands including ESL, FACEIT, DreamHack and DreamHack Sports Games, providing innovative ecosystems for global communities of players, fans and creators around the games they love. Working alongside leading partners, brands and global IPs, EFG operates an unmatched portfolio of live events, digital platforms and developer tools that reach and engage millions of gamers worldwide. For more information visit

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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.