Counter-Strike Global Offensive is a big deal these days. With news pouring from every orifice that lines its full metal jacket, there’s barely a week that goes by without an interesting story charging from its digital ranks. Today, it’s been announced that season one of the ESL Counter-Strike Pro League 2016 will commence on February 9 and march its way to Finals in May. Ten-hut!
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Last month, it was confirmed that Counter-Strike Global Offensive’s biggest tournament - ESL One Cologne - would return in 2016, thus it’s probably of little surprise that the Pro League is also set to make a reappearance.
Actually, consider this and the fact that last year’s Pro League generated over 100 million sessions, whereby almost 30 million hours were watched, and it’s almost no surprise at all. Add that to the fact that ESL One Cologne’s concurrent viewership hit 1.3 million at one point and, well, you get the picture. To mark these impressive stats, this year’s prize pool has risen 50 percent year-on-year to $1.5 million.
“The ESL Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Pro League is levelling up this year: we’ll be working on enabling larger offline crowds to follow the action as players battle in matches that could define the rest of their lives,” says Ulrich Schulze, the vice president of pro-gaming at ESL. “But it’s not just offline audiences we’re aiming for - television broadcasts, a higher standard of online production, a continued emphasis on competitive integrity - these are just some of the things you will see this year.”
A full list of the teams taking part can be found on the ESL Pro League website.