ESL Pro League Finals to host 12 teams at request of new WESA Players Council

by theScore Staff Sep 15 2016
Thumbnail image courtesy of Valve, ESL

The World Electronic Sports Association's new Players Council, announced just yesterday, has already decided on an important change to the ESL Pro League format, according to an announcement on ESL's website.

ESL announced that this season's LAN finals have been expanded to include 12 teams — six from EU and six from NA — up from the traditional eight teams that have attended in past seasons.

According to the release, the decision came from the new Players Council, led by chairman and Fnatic CS:GO team manager Viktor "vuggo" Jendeby. WESA announced the results of its Players Council election yesterday, bringing on Ninjas in Pyjamas' Adam "friberg" Friberg, Natus Vincere's Sergey "starix" Ishchuk and's Wiktor "TaZ" Wojtas, among others.

In a statement, vuggo call the old eight-team EPL format "outdated."

"The scene is now more competitive than ever, and so it feels natural to extend a tournament of this caliber to enable more teams to attend the finals," he said.

To accommodate the added teams, the group stage has been expanded to a best-of-one round robin with two groups of six teams each. vuggo said the Council "suggested more guaranteed LAN-matches for the teams attending, and proposed a format with two groups of six — like it is used at IEM events. ESL listened and we, the WESA Player Council, are very happy with how the new format looks like, and I hope the community will appreciate it as well."

In the new format, the top three teams from each group will move forward to the playoffs, which will be a single-elimination, best-of-three bracket. The first-place teams in each group will be seeded into the semifinals, while the second- and third-place teams will face off in the quarterfinals.

The event is set to run from Oct. 26-30 in São Paulo, Brazil, with teams competing for a $750,000 prizepool.

Olivia Da Silva is a news editor at theScore esports. She likes piña coladas, getting caught in the rain and dank no-scopes. Feel free to follow her on Twitter.