ESL Pro League announces format change for 2023

Photo credit: ESL

The ESL Pro League (EPL) has announced changes to its CS:GO league ahead of 2023, including a new format and an increase in participating teams.

All changes will come into effect in February 2023 when EPL Season 17 begins. As with previous editions, the ESL Pro League will continue to feature two seasons per year of competition.

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The first change sees EPL introducing a new format that ESL FACEIT Group says will provide “more meaningful matches”. Previously, with the round-robin format, the ESL stated that their main concern was that many games had very little impact on the tournament.

However, the new format sees the group stage as a combination of double elimination and last chance bracket. Four eight-team groups now have a total of three chances to avoid elimination by having an upper bracket, a lower bracket, and a last-chance bracket.

It also means that the total number of teams in the group stage has increased from 24 to 32, a significant increase.

A total of 15 partner teams, three ESL world ranking teams, three ESL challenger teams and 11 EPL conference teams make up the group stage teams. In a press release, ESL stated, “This change was made to allow for larger, more global representation of teams at the core of the tournament.”

Second, the EPL conference – which did not take place in Season 17 – will no longer exist for future seasons. Previously, the EPL Conference qualified 11 teams. Now it will be played online over a period of one week, qualifying three European teams, two North American teams, two South American teams, two Asian teams and two Oceanic teams.

ESL stated that this change was implemented to “best serve all of these teams” as a large number of teams have earned the right to qualify.

ESL Pro League announces format change for 2023Esports Insider has partnered with the University of Warwick for ESI Next Gen. To learn more, click here.

Third, these changes affect the timing of the tournament. Season 17 runs from February 22nd to March 26th, one week less than originally planned.

Finally, games are now only streamed on two different shows. Previously, ESL had A, B, and C streams. Now there will only be A and B. These changes come with a reassessment of the “broadcast philosophy,” which ESL has promised to “improve the experience for everyone.”

Hisham Almadani, journalist

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Hisham joined Esports Insider in November 2022. As a freshman at the University of Detroit Mercy, he hopes to further his career in games journalism. When he’s not writing, he’s probably reading.