The new ESL Pro Tour StarCraft II and DreamHack SC2 Masters will see six international tournaments a year as well as weekly competitions that will feed into the ESL events.
We’re excited to announce the future of StarCraft II esports. Our 3-year deal with ESL will help create a longstanding, high-quality program that keeps StarCraft II esports thriving for years to come.— StarCraft Esports (@esportstarcraft) January 7, 2020
Read more here: https://t.co/DHXScnWFBBpic.twitter.com/yJoWfDYnyD
The World Championship Series (WCS) is being retired in favour of the new competitive circuit for 2020 hosted by ESL and DreamHack. The WCS mobile app was shut down on December 31st 2019 and the WCS site will be taken down in early 2020.
Joona "Serral" Sotala's legendary win in 2018 saw a non-Korean champion at the global finals for the first time in history, but Park "Dark" Ryung Woo’s 4-1 victory over Riccardo "Reynor" Romiti at BlizzCon in 2019 saw the title returned to South Korea before its retirement.
The global finals will shift to the new IEM Katowice World Championship in 2021, with the 2020 event marking the 10th anniversary of IEM StarCraft events with an increased prize pool of $400,000.
WarCraft III: Reforged will also be part of the ESL Pro Tour going forward.
Introducing the #ESLProTour for StarCraft II and Warcraft III: Reforged. Together with @Blizzard_Ent and @DreamHack, we're creating a new path for players of all levels to achieve greatness.— ESL (@ESL) January 7, 2020
Discover our vision at https://t.co/I6324omNZc! pic.twitter.com/b5D1JufsA8
Blizzard will be providing the prizing for all three years of this new ecosystem, more than $1.2 million each year, while the tournament organisers will take over the operational management of StarCraft 2 esports, serving as an overall support network.
Following a 2019 that saw Blizzard criticised for their actions in the Hearthstone scene after the ban of Chung "blitzchung" Ng Wai, the presence of an independent global final separates the pinnacle of SC2 from any possible drama related to the developer and publisher of numerous big esports titles.
All of the ESL Pro Tour StarCraft 2 action will be broadcast on the official ESL SC2 Twitch channel.