According to a report from sportsbusinessdaily.com, ESL recently announced that tournaments under the ESL One, Intel Extreme Masters and ESL Pro League brands will all feature a standardised format come 2018. Spanning a total of six days, the events will feature an aggregate of sixteen participants, which will be split into two groups of eight contestants. Group stage matches will adhere to a double-elimination format, where the top four participants from each group will advance to the quarter-finals.
ESL aim to ensure that the play-offs of events will take place in major arenas where possible, although in their statement to sportsbusinessdaily.com they remarked that "it will be difficult to secure a third day in some high-demand locations."
ESL's Senior Vice President Product, Ulrich Schulze had the following to say according to the report:
We wanted to make sure we change it to set clear expectation for everyone in the ecosystem as to how many teams are going to be at a specific event, and then how many of those do we invite, and based on what criteria, and then how do the rest of the slots get determined.
Whilst more financially straining, reportedly costing the tournament organiser well into the six figure range, the standardisation of event formats will appeal to planning needs of potential sponsors and advertisers, creating a more workable environment for corporate budgets and planning. Schulze noted after the remark that "we believe it’s something we [ESL] can more than make up for on the revenue side."
Of currently announced events the standardisation will affect ESL One Genting 2018 and ESL One Katowice 2018 for Dota 2, whilst Counter-Strike: Global Offensive will see the changes implemented for ESL One Cologne 2018 and IEM Katowice 2018.