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ESL and DreamHack sign ‘historic’ revenue-share deal with esports teams

DreamHack Atlanta attendees compete against each other in the game Counter-Strike at the Georgia World Congress Center (Photo by Chris Thelen/Getty Images)

Thirteen leading esports teams have reached an agreement with Modern Times Group-owned companies DreamHack and ESL to participate in their competitions as part of a deal that will grant them a share of revenues generated from ESL Pro Tour events.

The deal, which MTG said was “historic”, has been informally dubbed ‘The Louvre Agreement’ and has been signed by Astralis, Complexity, Evil Geniuses, ENCE, FaZe Clan, Fnatic, G2 Esports, Mousesports, Natus Vincere, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Team Liquid, Team Vitality, and 100 Thieves.

The agreement will result in the introduction of a new structure for the ESL Pro League, granting teams a share of revenue from competitions. The teams have won 28 ESL and DreamHack Masters-level competitions and two Intel(R) grand slams between them over the past four years.

A global division for the ESL Pro League will also be instilled, with the agreement to regulate the way teams can influence the competition. The agreement will also ensure that the partner teams cannot get relegated from the league.

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The ESL Pro League is a leading Counter-Strike: Global Offensive competition and is contested by teams from around the world. Its 11th season begins in March and will comprise 24 teams as it moves from a multi-regional format to a global structure.

The 13 founding teams will receive a long-term place in the league, with the remaining 11 teams to qualify through the Mountain Dew League.

MTG president and chief executive Jørgen Madsen Lindemann said: “We are pleased to see this agreement which further establishes the ESL Pro Tour as the leading esports circuit format globally. This serves as yet another example of ESL’s and DreamHack’s shared ambition to build and commercially professionalise the global business of esports.”

Last month, DreamHack and ESL signed a three-year strategic agreement with Blizzard Entertainment, with the deal to result in the creation of new ESL Pro Tour formats for StarCraft II and Warcraft III: Reforged. Blizzard will provide respective prize pools of over $1.8m (€1.7m) and over $200,000 for the first season.