Read about ESL (formerly the Electronic Sports League), from where they are hosted, split into Majors and Minors, as well as the UK championship.
ESL, formerly the Electronic Sports League, has been around for nearly two decades and in that time has grown to be one of the largest esports tournament organisers in the world. Since it was founded in the year 2000, ESL has worked with the biggest games around, hosting tournaments for everything from League of Legends to Major tournaments for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2.
ESL LoL tournaments are run around the world. In Germany you have ESL Meisterschaft, in Poland you have ESL Mistrzostw Polski, and there are also minor tournaments across Latin America and Europe. ESL also used to run the UK Premiership, the top teams from which have now merged into Riot Games’ new Forge of Champions event in the UK.
The biggest LoL tournament ESL is currently involved in is the European Masters. This is a coming together of the top teams from each of the European regions to find out who’s the best. It’s a new tournament for 2018, and so far there have been Spring and Summer main events.
The EU Masters Spring semi-finals and finals were held at the Leicester Haymarket Theatre in the UK, while the Summer live finals were held in Katowice, Poland. They both had a prize pool of €150,000, with €40,000 going to the winner.
When all 16 teams have been decided, they participate in a Group Stage, with four groups of four teams, where each team plays the other once. The top teams then progress through to a single elimination knockout stage.
Origen from Spain won the Spring event defeating Illuminar Gaming 3-0, and another Spanish team, MAD Lions E.C. won the Summer event, defeating Ninjas in Pyjamas 3-0.
You can watch games from the European Masters in English on the Riot Games Twitch channel. EU Masters Spring ran from April 9-29, and Summer ran from September 10-30, however future tournaments may have different schedules, to be announced by Riot Games.
Germany has had ESL running local tournaments since back in 2011, when it was called the ESL Pro Series. It was rebranded to ESL Meisterschaft in 2015.
Each year of ESL Meisterschaft is split up into three seasons; Spring, Summer, and Winter. Playoffs and qualifiers are played after and before each season to determine winners and new teams.
Ten teams participate in each season in a double round robin, with matches being best of one. The top four teams based on the number of wins will go through to the playoffs.
The prize pool for each of the playoffs is usually somewhere between €22,000 and €28,000. Plus, the top team from ESL Meisterschaft will usually automatically qualify for the EU Masters event, while the second placed team will go into the Play-In stage for another shot at making the main event.
So far in 2018, EURONICS Gaming have won both the Spring and Summer playoffs, beating SPG eSports 2-0 in Spring and Ad Hod Gaming 2-1 in Summer.
The full list of winners since the rebrand are as follows: Spring 2015 - mousesports Summer 2015 - EURONICS Gaming Winter 2015 - Mysterious Monkeys Spring 2016 - EURONICS Gaming Summer 2016 - EURONICS Gaming Winter 2016 - Iguana eSports Spring 2017 - Mysterious Monkeys Summer 2017 - Mysterious Monkeys Winter 2017 - SPGeSports Spring 2018 - EURONICS Gaming Summer 2018 - EURONICS Gaming
The teams currently competing in Winter are: Ad Hoc Gaming, AeQ eSports, BIG, DIVIZON,EURONICS Gaming, mousesports, SK Gaming, SPGeSports, GamerLegion, and Tempered Fate.
The Winter season began on October 3, and will run until November 28. There are five matches a week, all taking place on Wednesdays starting at 18:30 BST / 10:30 PDT / 19:30 CEST / 02:30 KST. You can watch it on the German ESL_Summonersinn Twitch channel.
Poland’s ESL Mistrzostwa Polski has been running since 2013, when it was known as ESL Pro Series Poland. It also rebranded in 2015, much like ESL Meisterschaft.
Each year of ESL Mistrzostwa Polski is split into two seasons, Spring and Summer, with playoffs after each split to determine the overall winner.
Eight teams participate in the season, which is a single round robin, which each match being a best of three. The top six teams qualify for playoffs which leaves only two to miss out. Playoffs are single elimination, with matches being a best of five. The top two teams from the season receive a bye straight to the semifinals.
The prize pool for the playoffs is 50,000 Polish złoty, with 25,000 going to the winner. The winner also qualifies for the European Masters, and second place goes to the EU Masters Play-In.
The teams currently participating in ESL Mistrzostwa Polski are: Adive, Czas na zasady, Digital Paradox, Illuminar Gaming, Pompa Team, Ravioli Ravioli, Szata Maga, and Team DPD.
Illuminar Gaming won the Spring split, defeating Szata Maga 3-0 in the finals. The summer playoffs are still ongoing, with Illuminar Gaming, Pompa Team, Szata Maga, and Wisla Plock still in the running.
The full list of winners since the rebrand are as follows: Spring 2015 - Czas Rozliczen Summer 2015 - Kubyd’s Spring 2016 - S6 Summer 2016 - Refuse Spring 2017 - Illuminar Gaming Summer 2017 - Illuminar Gaming Spring 2018 - Illuminar Gaming
Season matches are generally played on Mondays and Tuesdays every week at 18:00 BST /11:00 PDT / 19:00 CET / 03:00 KST, and can be found in Polish on the ESL_lol_pl Twitch channel. The Summer grand finals will be held on October 14.
ESL also runs a number of minor local leagues and tournaments, open to any League of Legends team. In the EU West and EU Nordic/East region there is a Go4LoL Series cup each Sunday with €150, with monthly finals granting €250 prize money. Similar tournaments are run in Latin America, as well as Spain, which has a separate event from the rest of Europe in partnership with Domino’s. Europe also has the Southeast Europe Championship, with qualifiers involving nations such as Greece, Romania, and Bulgaria. Each with prize money in the range of a few thousand euros.