Breakaway Counter-Strike league formed by esports teams

Gamers playing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Five top esports team owners have come together to launch an independent breakaway Counter-Strike: Global Offensive league, known as Flashpoint.

The league aims to offer an alternative to the league-dominated wider esports landscape, giving the teams themselves a greater stake and say in the direction of the competition. 

The ownership group includes long-standing investors in esports, such as Lionsgate, AEG, OverActive Media and Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, with notable esports teams such as Gen.G, Dignitas and Cloud9 among those set to compete. Each team will contribute an initial buy-in of $2m (€1.8m) to compete in the first year of competition, reports The Esports Observer. 

Esports production company and content platform Faceit has also taken a 0.5-per-cent stake in the company and will serve as the league operator. Its share will rise to 5.5 per cent in 2023 if it is still league operator by that time.

Kent Wakeford, Flashpoint co-founder and vice-president of Gen.G, said: “Today, many esports leagues are fundamentally broken, pitting the leagues against teams and players to bicker over divergent interests and scraps of economics. Flashpoint radically changes the model by bringing all groups together to share the rewards of their collective success.” 

The league will also buck the trend for franchises tied to specific cities, something which has become common across esports as rights-holders seek to find ways to increase fan engagement and tap into fan loyalty. 

Instead, teams will be based across the US, Europe and Asia and will compete in two “seasons” per year, with the 10 founder teams joined by two guest teams, who will gain access through a series of open qualifiers, each season. 

Wakeford said that the league will not look to curb Counter-Strike’s more violent and controversial elements, saying: “we are fully embracing that. This is for a mature audience.” There is a gap in the market, he added, for an adult-oriented esports competition. 

Flashpoint has already appointed commentators and content creators from the world of Counter-Strike, though as of yet no sponsors or broadcast partners have been announced.