On Thusday via Twitter, ESL announced that it is expanding the league from 24 to 34 teams in order to streamline the path for teams to advance into the final stages of the ESL Pro League, is changing how teams can qualify for CSGO EPL and will be adding an additional stage called ELP Conference for the 2022 season.
We are happy to announce some exciting changes to #ESLProLeague! 🤩
📈 Expanding from 24 to 34 teams
🆕 A new stage: Conference
🚀 All EPT Challenger level competitions now qualify for EPL
✔️ Season 15 to function as transitional season
— ESL Counter-Strike (@ESLCS) September 16, 2021
What changes are coming to CSGO ESL Pro League
According to ESL’s website, ESL Pro League will be the host of all ESL Pro Tour (EPT) Challenger tournaments. This means that teams will be able to qualify for the EPL through EPT challenger competitions such as the Dreamhack Open, ESEA Premier and ESL National Competitions. A total of 16 teams will be able to qualify for EPL throughout this new pathway.
This new pathway is also the main reason that the number of participating teams in the EPL will now be 34. An additional week of competition will be added to compensate for the extra teams. The overall prize pool will also be increased to $850,000.
Season 15 of the EPL will act as a transitional season to implement this new format. ESL will be favoring teams that have already won previous EPT events or an EPT masters (IEM Cologne and Katowice) competition from 2021. This means that teams who have won a Dreamhack Open, ESEA Premier teams competing for EPL placement and ESL National championship teams will have more favor for EPL.
What is the CSGO EPL conference schedule?
All of the qualifying EPT teams will go to a conference stage in order to fight it out for a place in the EPL. Here is a current look on who the conference will feature:
The EPL conference will take place during the scheduled Dreamhack festival dates. The first of these conference stages will take place from 23-28th November. While the first ESL Conference will take place online, ESL has shown their commitment to host it as a LAN tournament. This new system will allow new teams to test their skills out in a more organized format, hopefully bringing new blood into the CS:GO circuit.