ESL announce Pro Tour changes and 2022 calendar; Rio Major under consideration
ESL has announced an expansion of ESL Pro League and a new qualifying structure for the prestigious league.
ESL has revealed the tournament calendar for the remainder of 2021 and for 2022 and announced significant changes to the ESL Pro Tour structure, mainly revolving around the expansion of ESL Pro League and the way teams qualify for the event.
The organizers have also shared that the IEM Rio Major is under consideration with Valve for 2022 after the plans for the 2020 Rio Major were scrapped amid the coronavirus pandemic.
From 2022 on, every tournament in the Pro Tour structure has been brought under the ESL brand, with DreamHack Open renamed to ESL Challenger and ESEA Premier called the ESL Challenger League.
While DreamHack Opens previously offered spots in other Masters-level events and had no direct connection to ESL Pro League, in the future the league will become the destination for all winners of the three types of EPT Challenger-level competitions including the ESL Challenger events, ESL Challenger Leagues, and the National Championships.
To facilitate the new structure, ESL has introduced an "EPL Conference" stage, which will garner the EPT Challenger winners and lead into the main Pro League seasons. The first such stage will take place this year already, on November 23-28, leading into ESL Pro League Season 15.
In other news, it's clear that the tournament organizer has abolished the DreamHack Masters competition, as it no longer features in the calendar after the last iteration took place in April-May. Another change involves this year's IEM Winter, which looks set to be played in Europe after it was originally planned to take place in Asia, with the organizers still aiming to hold the tournament on LAN.
Six EPT Masters tournaments are listed in the calendar for 2022, including four IEM stops in Katowice, the United States, Cologne, and China, and two Pro League seasons. EPT Challenger events include stops in the United States, Spain, Australia, and the Netherlands, four Challenger League seasons, and a variety of National Championships.
You can see the full schedule below:
EPT Masters and Championship events
IEM Fall — September 29-October 10
EPL S15 Conference — November 23-28
IEM Winter — December 2-12
IEM Katowice — February 16-27
ESL Pro League Season 15 — March 9-April 10
IEM US — May 31-June 5
EPL S16 Conference — June 14-19
IEM Cologne — July 5-17
ESL Pro League Season 16 — August 31-October 2
EPL S17 Conference — November 22-27
IEM China — December 6-11
IEM Katowice — February 2023
IEM Rio Major — under consideration for 2022
EPT Challenger events
DreamHack Open September — September 22-26
DreamHack Open November — November 10-14
ESL National Championships — January-May
ESL Challenger #48 — February 11-13
ESL Challenger League S40 — January 18-April 3
ESL Challenger League S41 — April 26-June 26
ESL Challenger #49 — July 1-3
ESL National Championships — August-October
ESL Challenger League S42 — August 16-October 23
ESL Challenger #50 — September 2-4
ESL Challenger #51 — October 14-16
ESL Challenger League S43 — October 25-December 18