ESL Gaming, a part of ESL FACEIT Group, and Malta’s Ministry for the Economy, EU Funds and Lands through the GamingMalta Foundation, on Thursday announced the extension of their partnership for the ESL Pro League until the end of Season 20.

The expansion will see Malta be the host location of the biggest and longest-running Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) league featuring an $850,000 (€849,000) total prize pool per season, by bringing both Conference Stage and Group Stage teams to the Mediterranean island.

“We’ve been a proud partner of GamingMalta for the past two years of ESL Pro League and couldn’t be happier to finally be in Malta to host the upcoming seasons of our premier CS:GO league,” said Brian Krämer, general manager, CS:GO at ESL Gaming.

“Together with GamingMalta, we are not only offering the perfect environment for the best teams in the world, but we continue to underline our core principle of creating a world where everybody can become somebody through activations for aspiring CS:GO players in the region.”

The extension agreement runs until the end of 2024 and will focus on growing and fostering the local esports ecosystem via local tournaments and conferences, thereby setting up the development structures needed to offer aspiring players and teams from Malta the opportunity to go pro.

Silvio Schembri – Minister of the Economy, European Funds and Lands for the Government of Malta, welcomed this partnership: “Our vision to position Malta as an esports hub is bearing fruit and this continued partnership with ESL will continue to showcase Malta’s gaming ecosystem as the Home of Gaming Excellence, welcoming top esports athletes to our island for years to come.”

Ivan Filletti, CEO of the GamingMalta Foundation added: “Growing the local esports ecosystem is a vital part of our strategic efforts to ensure that we build a strong esports structure. Our partnership with ESL ensures that not only do we host international ESL tournaments in Malta but builds on the zero to hero concept whereby local esports athletes participate in localised ESL events, thought leadership sessions and a sustainable esports business environment.”

ESL Gaming and GamingMalta first joined forces in 2020 to establish opportunities across all levels of the zero-to-hero path offered by ESL Gaming’s esports ecosystems. Moreover, the collaboration allowed Malta to establish itself as the home of esports while also helping ESL Gaming deliver exciting and top-quality content and transmissions of the ESL Pro League for fans worldwide, despite the challenges that the global pandemic presented. ”The partnership with GamingMalta has shaped the ESL Pro League experience for CS:GO fans over the last two years and I am proud that it will continue to do so,” said Alex Inglot, Commissioner of ESL Pro League.

“It has grown to become an essential part of the League’s identity and we are looking forward to having the very best players in the world competing in the unique environment of this beautiful Mediterranean island.” Commencing on 31st August, the Group Stage of ESL Pro League Season 16 will see 15 Louvre partner teams plus nine teams qualified through either the ESL CS:GO World Ranking or the ESL Pro League Conference Stage hosted at DreamHack Summer in Jönköping, Sweden earlier this summer, gather in Malta to battle it out for one of the twelve spots in the Playoff Stage, which will take place on September 27-October 2. The Playoff Stage of ESL Pro League Season 16 will take place in front of a live audience with open attendance, but the availability is limited. Tickets will be released on 5th September.

For more details about ESL Pro League Season 16, check out the official website.

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