WESA denies 2018 exclusivity allegations

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Thumbnail image courtesy of World Esports Association

The World Esports Association has denied allegations that the organization will demand that WESA teams only play in WESA-sanctioned events in 2018.

In a public statement, WESA's executive chairman and commissioner Ken Hershman said that WESA team's players will not be permitted to play in any other leagues on any day they have to play in the ESL Pro League, but have made no decisions regarding league exclusivity beyond 2017.

"On the days of their pro league matches, WESA teams are not going to play any other matches in 2017," Hershman said. "WESA has not required any of its teams to drop any other leagues either in 2017 or any subsequent years. While no decisions have been made regarding league participation beyond 2017, any decision will be a joint one by all WESA members, including the players. We strongly distance ourselves from any suggestions saying otherwise.”

On Thursday, independent journalist Richard Lewis published a video in which he cited anonymous sources telling him that WESA was looking to make WESA teams exclusive to WESA-sanctioned events beginning in 2018, among several other allegations related to WESA exclusivity.

Among the allegations, Lewis claimed that ESL told popular CS:GO caster Alex "Machine" Richardson that if he accepted a job with the PEA league, ESL would "strongly consider" not hiring him again for an ESL event. WESA did not respond to theScore esports' requests for clarification regarding this allegation.

WESA was formed in in May as a partnership between ESL and eight European CS:GO teams, and aimed to "create an open and inclusive organisation to oversee standardized tournament regulations, player representation as well as revenue sharing for teams." Shortly after forming, FaZe Clan left WESA, leaving the organization with seven teams.

WESA is currently made up of Fnatic, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Team EnVyUs, Virtus.pro, Natus Vincere, G2 Esports and mousesports. If WESA were to demand exclusivity from those teams, they would be unable to play in the Esports Championship Series and ELEAGUE among other events, should they not be sanctioned by WESA at a later date.

Discussions of exclusivity in the CS:GO scene have been rampant of late due to a dispute between the Professional eSports Association and the players that make up its member teams' rosters. The PEA planned to run a North American CS:GO league in which its teams would participate, but which would conflict with ESL Pro League, claiming that the players' contracts allowed the teams to choose which events the rosters attended. The PEA eventually permitted the players to choose between PEA's own league and the ESL Pro League, citing a lack of consistent communication on the part of PEA about their league plans. Earlier this week, players voted to stay in the EPL and PEA suspended their plans to run a CS:GO league earlier today.

Josh "Gauntlet" Bury is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.

Daniel Rosen is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.

Cloud9, OpTic Gaming to play at IEM Katowice

en.intelextrememasters.com 1d ago

Cloud9 and OpTic Gaming will be representing North America at the IEM Season XI World Championships this March.

The two teams join Virtus.pro, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Astralis and SK Gaming at the tournament. IEM Katowice will run from March 1-5 in Katowice, Poland, and will feature a $250,000 prize pool.

Click here for the full article via en.intelextrememasters.com

YouTube Gaming purchase ESL Pro League English-language broadcast rights

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Thumbnail image courtesy of YouTube Gaming

YouTube Gaming has purchased the exclusive English-language broadcasting rights to seasons five and six of the ESL Pro League for an undisclosed sum, ESL announced Friday.

"YouTube is happy to announce our partnership with WESA to distribute the upcoming seasons of the ESL Pro League," YouTube's head of gaming content Ryan Wyatt stated in the press release.

"Entering their 5th Season, ESL’s ability to continue to produce the highest quality content at the pinnacle level of competitive play is unrivaled. Professional Counter-Strike fans and viewership has been growing at such an explosive rate and we are excited to continue sharing this passion with our gaming viewers."

This news confirms a Jan. 6 report from Slingshot’s Jarek “DeKay” Lewis.

Season five of the ESL Pro League will begin on Feb, 7, while the offline finals will be held in Dallas, Texas from June 3-4. Previous seasons were streamed on Twitch, though it is unclear if there was an exclusive deal in place regarding broadcasting rights.

An ESL spokesperson said that "YouTube will broadcast English stream only exclusively, with all other languages remaining available on Twitch."

Daniel Rosen is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.

IEM Katowice details revealed

en.intelextrememasters.com

IEM has revealed the format for IEM World Championship Katowice 2017, with twelve teams set to compete for a $250,000 prize pool.

Eight teams will receive invites to the event, while there will be four spots to be filled out through three EU and one NA qualifiers. Teams will be divided into two groups of six for the best-of-one group stage, with the top three teams advancing to the playoffs.

The group stage will run from March 1-2, while the playoffs will be held from March 3-5 at the Spodek arena in Katowice, Poland.

Click here for the full article via en.intelextrememasters.com

Report: EPL Season 5 to be streamed exclusively on YouTube Gaming

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Thumbnail image courtesy of YouTube Gaming

ESL Pro League's fifth season will reportedly be streamed exclusively on ESL's official YouTube channel instead of Twitch, according a report from Slingshot Esports' Jarek "DeKay" Lewis.

Citing anonymous sources, DeKay says that the move is the result of a partnership between the World Esports Association and YouTube. WESA is a partnership between ESL and seven European CS:GO teams including Fnatic, G2 Esports and Ninjas in Pyjamas.

On Thursday, independent journalist Richard Lewis reported that WESA would enforce league exclusivity on EPL teams beginning in 2018. The association later released a statement stating no decisions have been made on league exclusivity beyond 2017, but that teams would not be allowed to play in other leagues on the days of their EPL matches in 2017. Lewis has since made a tweet in which he claims to have sources that support DeKay's claims regarding YouTube Gaming.

The report comes on the heels of a vote by North American players to remain in EPL instead of participating in the Professional eSports Association's league. It is unknown if players were aware of WESA's alleged partnership with YouTube when they voted.

As a result of the vote, PEA decided they would suspend their plans to hold a CS:GO league, stating that there isn't "sufficient financial support in the ecosystem" for another major online league in the CS:GO ecosystem.

theScore esports has reached out to WESA, ESL and YouTube Gaming for comment.

Sasha Erfanian is a news editor for theScore esports. Follow him on Twitter, it'll be great for his self-esteem.

PEA suspends CS:GO league due to player vote, EPL revenue sharing

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Thumbnail image courtesy of Dennis Gonzales / PEA

The Professional eSports Association has decided to suspend its plans to operate a CS:GO league later this year, following a player vote that saw the teams choose to participate in the ESL Pro League instead of the PEA.

Earlier this week, the PEA owners put the decision to play in a PEA-operated league or the EPL to a player vote. According to Scott "SirScoots" Smith, many of the players decided to vote to play in the EPL as they were concerned about the long-term growth of the PEA and wanted to be more connected to the community. SirScoots said that at least six teams' players voted unanimously to play in the EPL, though he is unaware of how compLexity Gaming's players voted.

"Since the time of the original announcement of the PEA CS:GO league, it has become clear to the PEA organizations that there isn’t sufficient financial support in the ecosystem," a PEA spokesperson wrote in a statement sent to theScore esports. "Either from broadcast/streaming partners, sponsors or others, to profitably operate a third prominent online league, due to the oversaturation of the marketplace and the recent upward spiral in operating costs."

In September, the PEA formed and announced their intention to run a 10-week, $500,000 CS:GO league, with a total of $1 million across its first year of play. The teams involved are Team Liquid, Counter Logic Gaming, Immortals, NRG Esports, Team SoloMid, Cloud9 and compLexity Gaming. These seven North American organizations stated that their goal was to become the "NBA of esports."

At the time, C9 CEO Jack Etienne stated that the PEA would be an "end to the 'Wild West' days of esports" as it would give stability and proper revenue sharing to players and teams who participated in the league.

Since then, however, the CS:GO scene has changed significantly. In their statement, the PEA cites the fact that the World Esports Association has increased payouts for the EPL and is now offering revenue sharing.

According to the statement, WESA is offering a total of 10 percent of EPL's gross revenue to non-WESA teams, half of which was offered to the PEA teams under the condition that they agree not to run a PEA league for two years and instead commit to the EPL for two years.

"We tried to put together a CS:GO league structure which was innovative and would allow players to help shape operations and execution," the PEA stated. "This wasn’t our time and we’re looking forward to the future."

Daniel Rosen is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.

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