ESL announces "historic" long-term deal with 13 organizations
ESL has formally announced the long-rumored deal dubbed the "Louvre Agreement", which sees 13 team organizations enter a long-term partnership with the tournament organizer.
Previously known as the "LANXESS agreement", the deal covers ESL Pro League as a standalone project and the ESL Pro Tour circuit as a whole, in both of which the 13 member teams will have various privileges for an unannounced period of time.
Those privileges include direct invitations to each season of ESL Pro League — in which the member teams are now majority stakeholders — and a number of spots reserved for the partnered organizations in other ESL Pro Tour tournaments, from which they will also receive a revenue share as long as they attend a large enough amount.
The agreement has been signed by organizations behind the vast majority of the current top-15 teams in the world, including Astralis, Liquid, Evil Geniuses, mousesports, and fnatic. The full list looks as follows:
The deal sees ESL Pro League transform to a vastly different competition compared to previous seasons, which will have a single global division and no longer feature a relegation system. Instead, it will comprise the 13 member teams and 11 others who will need to qualify every season.
After the league was cut down to 24 teams for the upcoming Season 11 and onwards — a decision that was met with much criticism —, ESL introduced a special qualifying process for Season 12. That will offer teams who were cut from the league as a result of the changes a second chance (coupled with MDL Season 33) to make it back to the league. This will change from Season 13, as the main avenue to qualify will be via the ESL World Ranking.
To learn more about the reasoning behind some of the changes and the agreement as a whole, you can watch the ninth episode of HLTV Confirmed from February 3, on which ESL's Vice President of ProGaming, Michal "Carmac" Blicharz, talked about the subject at length.