Turner and WME | IMG have announced the schedule and details for the upcoming ELeague season. The initial season, TBS’ first foray into eSports, followed 24 international teams facing off in the popular first-person shooter Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The tournament followed a traditional sports format with a regular season and playoffs airing live on TBS and Twitch.
Russian team Virtus.pro won the inaugural season, claiming a $390,000 pot.
The first season drew 271,000 viewers on average on TBS, but performed much stronger on the streaming service Twitch, according to Venture Beat. ELeague GM Christina Alejandre said in a statement season two will feature an enhanced schedule which will make for higher competitive stakes.
“We’ve been very pleased with the performance of ELeague and the significant levels of engagement with our content across all platforms in our first season,” said Christina Alejandre, General Manager of ELeague and Vice President of eSports, Turner Sports. “In our second season, we’ve enhanced the schedule to make the stakes even higher from a competitive standpoint, while also creating an opportunity for a more open field. We believe this new format will keep our audience engaged with our content from the opening week through the grand finals and be more accommodating to team and player schedules.”
ELeague season two will feature a non-televised preliminary qualifier round for Europe from September 7 to 8 and North America from September 14 to 15. Starting October 22, the qualifiers will be placed in one of four groups featuring four teams. Those matches will be televised on Friday’s and streamed on Saturday’s. Once the group stages are complete, playoffs begin in late November with the finals being held December 3. You can find the full schedule here.
ELeague’s simultaneous viewing through TV and Twitch give the tournament a unique identity to be watched. TBS’s expansion into eSports has attracted a new audience of gamers and season two should continue the success. Televised viewership can be better, but Rome wasn’t built in a day.