Season three of the Esports Championship Series (ECS) will kick off on Saturday with the Open qualifiers, the league's organisers have announced.
For the second season in a row, ECS will run open qualifiers and a development division, which will allow teams to secure promotion into the main league.
Between February 18-26, open online qualifiers will be held in both Europe and North America to determine the eight teams (four per region) who will gain entry into the Development League, in which they will be joined by eight invited sides.
Astralis won the second ECS edition
The Development League will consist of a best-of-two round robin stage, with the top two teams then pitting their wits against the bottom two teams from the ECS Season 2 divisions in best-of-five promotion matches.
In Europe, it will be Virtus.pro and Fnatic fighting to keep a spot in ECS, while in North America, TSM and compLexity are the teams facing promotion matches.
Teams can sign up for the ECS Season 3 Open qualifiers by following these links:
February 18-19 - Qualifier 1
February 25-26 - Qualifier 2
The Development League will run from February 28 to March 16, while the promotion matches will be held on March 25-26.
The prize pool and the location of the season finals have not yet been disclosed by the ECS organisers, but it is expected that the league will continue to have one of the highest prizes funds in Counter-Strike, with $3.5 million having been paid out over the course of the first two seasons.
Once again, ECS will be giving new casters the chance to show their worth via the Community Caster Challenge. All casters interested in taking part in this challenge need to email ECS at email@example.com and provide the following information for consideration: first and last name, contact email, Skype link, Twitch channel URL, and other social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).