ESL, DreamHack and the Counter-Strike Professional Players' Association (CSPPA) have reached an agreement for the participation framework for players competing in the ESL Pro Tour.
The agreement, described by all parties involved as the first of its kind in esports, is modeled after similar deals in traditional sports and 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."
The partnership between CSPPA and the two MTG-owned tournament organisers is effective immediately and will cover all competitions in the ESL Pro Tour, a new global circuit that will be launched by ESL and DreamHack later this month and will combine over 20 events and more than $5 million in prize money.
The CSPPA will cooperate with ESL and DreamHack on several matters concerning the ESL Pro Tour including the governance of the event circuit, player rights, tournament conditions, and the summer and winter breaks. The agreement also paves the way for future cooperation between all parties in terms of player contracts, player intellectual property rights, and potential joint projects further down the road.
"The life of a professional CS:GO player revolves around tournament participation all over the world," Mads Øland, CEO of the CSPPA, said in a statement. "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 maintaining and developing 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."
The CSPPA was launched in 2018 by Scott "SirScoots" Smith in collaboration with the Danish Elite Athletes Association, an organization that operates as a union for sports athletes in Denmark. Andreas "Xyp9x" Højsleth, Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski and Nathan "NBK-" Schmitt are some of the members on the association's board of players, with Sean "seang@res" Gares having been named advisor in August 2019.
ESL has remained tight-lipped on the scope and scale of changes that will be implemented in the ESL Pro League in 2020. According to a recent report from DBLTAP, it will meet with "at least 13 teams" next week in an effort to convince them to commit to the Pro League, at a time when several North American organisations are reportedly attempting to launch their own project, tentatively called 'B Site', with a $2 million entry fee.
The ESL Pro Tour will start next week with the DreamHack Open event in Leipzig, where eight teams, including Virtus.pro, Cloud9 and MAD Lions, will square off for their share of a $100,000 prize pool.