Blizzard Entertainment announced on Tuesday that they will be partnering with ESL and Dreamhack for the next three years for their Hearthstone, Starcraft II, and Warcraft III: Reforged professional esports events.
New formats will be announced as ESL will create Pro Tour events for both Starcraft II and Warcraft III: Reforged.
"This deal is a great step forward for StarCraft II esports and creates an exciting new esports scene around Warcraft III: Reforged," said Pete Vlastelica, president and CEO of Activision Blizzard Esports. "We're deeply committed to bringing the best in competitive entertainment to fans and players around the world, and we're thrilled to expand our collaboration with ESL and DreamHack in support of that effort."
The new ESL Starcraft II Pro Tour will include tournaments on at least four different continents, with the global finals moving from Blizzcon to the Intel Extreme Masters Championship in Katowice, Poland. ESL will also build a new competitive format for Warcraft III: Reforged.
The first season of ESL's Starcraft II Pro Tour will be composed of seven total tournaments including Katowice 2020 and Katowice 2021. Two IEM competitions and four Dreamhack events will lead up to a Master Championship at IEM Katowice 2021.
"We feel extremely honored to establish a new home for RTS esports fans and be responsible for two of the most prestigious esports titles of all time," said Sebastian Weishaar, CPO at ESL. "ESL and DreamHack are deeply rooted within Blizzard esports games and have built ecosystems around them for years now. Tying both StarCraft II and Warcraft III into the ESL Pro Tour narrative is our contribution to these passionate communities and will provide both titles with a promising platform to continue writing esports history."
The Hearthstone Masters Tour will be doubling its number of events from three to six, with competitions in Arlington, Texas, Bali, Indonesia, Jönköping, Sweden, Montreal, Canada, and two other locations, one in Asia-Pacific and the other in Spain. The latter two event locations will be announced at a later date.
All six of the Masters Tour events will have a prize pool of at least $250,000 and additional crowdfunding options. Grandmasters Tour will also return for two more seasons in 2020 with a slight format change that will see all 16 players across three main regions (Asia-Pacific, Americas, and Europe) competing against each other for the first four weeks and earning placement points. These points will go toward division placements in the latter three weeks, when the two divisions will play internally in a round-robin. Playoffs will take place the final week.