Competitive gaming platform FACEIT has teamed up with hugely popular streaming service Twitch to start a new esports league, the Esports Championship Series, which kicks off on Wednesday.
Interestingly, the ECS will be the first esports league to offer teams co-ownership, similar to the way many traditional sports leagues operate. To that end, the ECS will be giving teams and players seats on the league’s governing committee, allowing them to have input on “regulatory framework, integrity, players’ welfare, holidays, and best practices to ensure synergy among the league and its participants.”
“We’ve listened to what the teams and players are looking for, which is to have a bigger voice in the movement, and it inspired us to partner with FACEIT to launch the ECS,” says Stuart Saw, Twitch’s Director of Esports Strategy. “This will mark a significant and welcome change to the sport, and will lead to a wider impact across the industry.”
FACEIT has also announced plans to create a developmental league to help feed teams and players into the ECS (similar to, say, the NBA’s D-League), though that won’t arrive until season 2.
The first game on the docket for the ECS will be Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The 20-team league will be equally split between North American and European teams and boasts a $3.5 million payout for prizes and team financial support.
The first qualifying matches will be streamed exclusively on Twitch starting April 6 at 8:30 am (PST), after which the final teams headed into the league will be decided.
Taylor Cocke is always ready for more CS:GO. You can hear him constantly have his heart broken by the NA teams over on Twitter @taylorcocke.