Valve to end team and tournament organizer partnerships starting in 2025
Counter-Strike's IP owner will put limits to the way tournaments are run when it comes to invitations and partnerships between teams and TOs.
Valve has announced three measures that will limit the business relationships between teams and tournament organizers, effectively putting an end to leagues and tournaments with partnered teams.
ESL and BLAST, the two biggest operators in Counter-Strike, have both set up their circuits with teams that are handed invites straight into their tournaments and sharing the revenues. This has largely gone against the game's historic ethos, which relied on a plethora of tournament organizers running events for an open field of teams and paid out with prize pools.
Now, Valve is going back to roots by reopening the field and forcing tournament operators to either invite teams based on Valve's own ranking system or by holding open qualifiers.
The three rules Valve has broadly announced while still working on the finer details are:
Tournament organizers will no longer have unique business relationships or other conflicts of interest with teams that participate in their events.
Invitations to all tournaments will use our ranking system (detailed here), or otherwise be determined by open qualifiers.
Any compensation for participating teams—prize pool or otherwise—will be made public and will be driven by objective criteria that can be inspected by the community.
The North American software company has given teams and tournament organizers with existing long term commitments time to redirect the ship and a moratorium on the new rules is in place until 2025.
Valve's announcement can be read here in full.
ESL and BLAST sent out their own announcements after Valve's, stating that they will remain in CS under the new conditions and that their tournaments will be filled with teams either from Valve's ranking or open qualifiers.
ESL FACEIT Group's SVP of Game Ecosystems, Ulrich Schulze, also said that ESL's revenue share model would go from selected teams to all teams participating at their events.