ESL and FACEIT merge under new ownership
Two of the largest tournament organizers in CS:GO find themselves part of a deal unprecedented in esports.
ESL and FACEIT, two organizers which have operated the vast majority of the CS:GO calendar throughout the game's history, have been bought by Savvy Gaming Group, it has been announced. The deal, which is worth a combined $1.5B according to a report published by Sports Business Journal, will see the two companies retain their current leadership teams under a new structure.
The deal is expected to be finalized by the second quarter of 2022, the announcement states. According to the ESL FACEIT website, the brands owned by the two companies (FACEIT, DreamHack, ESL, ESEA, and Badlion) will continue to operate as normal.
The group responsible for the merger, Savvy Gaming Group, is backed by the Saudia Arabian government's Public Investment Fund and is headed by CEO Brian Ward, previously an Activision Senior VP.
The newly-merged company's website lists a range of initiatives that they will be focusing on, but there are specifically three items of major interest.
Firstly, a statement that one of their "core objectives is to revitalize the North American player base and esports scene for CS:GO," suggesting that investment in the NA scene will be a major part of the organisation's work.
Secondly, the statement discussed a commitment to "develop even stronger anti-cheat programs," explicitly stating that these would be intended to "defend the integrity of top professional LANs." The website also goes on to state that the programs would be free to everyone.
Lastly, the merger promises to provide a "better path to professional play," which includes expanding the FACEIT Pro League (FPL) through things like monthly stipends and hardware support, and supporting partner teams in setting up scouting and development programs.
"Our mission remains unchanged: to create a world where everybody can be somebody," ESL CEO Craig Levine said. "Our merger with FACEIT, along with the backing of SGG, will give us more know-how, capabilities, and resources than ever before to deliver on this vision."
"Whether you are competing or watching, doing so socially or at a professional level, every stage of the pathway will be improved through this merger. For gamers, publishers, and partners, this is a hugely exciting proposition, to be able to take everyone on the journey from your first step into competition to playing on the biggest esports stages globally."