Mega esports organizers ESL (Electronic Sports League) and the gaming conference DreamHack have announced they are entering a three-year deal with Blizzard to form new ESL pro tours for real-time strategy games StarCraft II and Warcraft III: Reforged.

Blizzard will provide a prize pool of $1.8 million for StarCraft II’s upcoming season and $200,000 for the first season of Warcraft III: Reforged. StarCraft II’s tour will take over for its World Championship Series. This new pro tour will have tournaments on at least four different continents, with the global finals moving away from BlizzCon in Anaheim and to Intel’s Extreme Masters Katowice in Poland.

“We‘ve hosted our annual StarCraft II Intel Extreme Masters Championship in Katowice already for several years, so the main difference is going to be that this championship is now the only true world championship existing for StarCraft II, while previously it was one next to Blizzard‘s world championship series finals at BlizzCon,” ESL chief product officer Sebastian Weishaar told The Post. “Merging both into one will make IEM Katowice even bigger and better, and I can‘t wait to see the finals on the big stage in Katowice in front of tens of thousands of people.”

While the 2003 real-time strategy classic Warcraft III has had a presence in esports for years, the to-be released Warcraft III: Reforged, a remaster of the original, will be entering the scene for the first time. Matches will be played in a 1v1 format, with 2v2 “potentially” coming down the road, Weishaar said.

“With Reforged being released later this month, we believe that a lot of fans and players will return to the legacy of Warcraft III, which we already saw happening during the recent weeks of the beta," Weishaar said. “We‘ve been working with Blizzard‘s RTS titles for the last 17 years, so for us it’s a very natural next step to deepen our relationship with Blizzard and offer fans and players exciting competitions to watch and compete in with the new ESL Pro Tour."


An earlier version of this article stated that there would also be a league around the game Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness. This is incorrect. The deal only involves Warcraft III: Reforged.

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