Cologne – By switching to a regional online format, ESL One Los Angeles gives a foretaste of the Dota Pro Circuit in the coming year. Teams like the world champions OG, Nigma or Secret fight against each other in the league for Eastern and Western Europe.
“We see the current situation as a test run,” says Ulrich Schulze, Senior Vice President Product of ESL in an interview with the German Press Agency. “Although it was planned differently, we can already see what the leagues could look like next year.” The switch to online mode for ESL One Los Angeles was necessary because of the corona crisis.
Valve’s plan for the 20/21 season: All minor tournaments will be replaced by regional leagues in six regions. The number of majors is reduced from five to three. Prize money in the leagues is up to 14th place. Valve even set the seasons.
This should make the data scene more sustainable for less strong teams. “Teams in Tier 2 and 3 will be helped massively,” says analyst and commentator Shannon “SUNSfan” Scotten TEH. “There is currently zero infrastructure to support Tier 2 teams.”
Even if the Dota World Championship sets prize money records in e-sports almost every year, this benefits the strongest teams in particular. While the players of double world champion OG are multi-millionaires, smaller teams fight for survival. At the same time, Valve monopolized in-game crowdfunding.
“These leagues will offer sponsors more stability,” says SUNSfan. “This allows younger teams to better profile themselves and build their own identity.”
The disparity in prize money also means that teams sometimes do not take the tournaments away from the World Cup seriously. Due to a lack of a break, it often happens that leading teams skip majors and minors to prepare for the World Cup.
Whether the cautious optimism in the scene is justified will be seen later this year when the tenth edition of “The International” has ended and the new season begins. The tenders for the regional leagues are fiercely contested by organizers, especially the first division of the European league with what are currently the strongest teams.
With the online version of the canceled LA major, ESL is now positioning itself strongly for this. As Ulrich Schulze of the TEH confirmed, the ESL also participated in the tender for Valve.