ESL Pro Tour’s DreamHack Open 2021 is already under way


Talk about odd timing.

Today at eCentralSports HQ we received a press release from ESL Gaming. (Side note: ESL is the one and only esports organization that routinely sends us all of its press releases; apparently all the other publicists are asleep at the switch.) According to this missive, ESL was proudly announcing that Dreamhack Open will return in 2021.

What’s so odd about that? Well, as it turns out, DreamHack Open 2021 consists of seven tournaments. The first one started January 27—apparently the day before the whole thing was announced.

None of this changes the facts, though. And those are that the Open is part of the ESL Pro Tour for Counter-Strike Global Offensive. The tour combines a bunch of previously unconnected ESL and DreamHack tournaments into dedicated circuits. Those circuits will that build towards
grand championships.

The seven Open tournaments carry prizes that total US$700,000. They form the Challenger level of the ESL Pro Tour. According to ESL, the Challenger level “aims to create a more complete path for aspiring victors, and offers a more compelling story, and transparent structure, for new esports fans”.

“This first DreamHack Open Online of 2021 represents a crucial part of the ESL Pro Tour for CS:GO,” says ESL Gaming’s Shaun Clark. “ESL and DreamHack share the same vision of creating an open-ecosystem that provides aspiring players the platform to succeed, following the
path from ‘zero to hero’. Following in the footsteps of what we’ve announced, we are excited to release the entire year’s worth of competition with a roadmap to return to live events.”

The full schedule

For the curious, here’s the full DreamHack Open schedule:

Astute readers will note that the last two tournaments in the series are scheduled to be live events. As we reported last week, ESL and DreamHack’s plans to return to live gaming include strict COVID-19 protocols.

In a press release, ESL Gaming spokesman Ulrich Schulze noted that the pandemic has meant figuring out ways to pivot to keep audiences and esports teams and athletes engaged.

“We have had to react and change our plans so that we can ensure the safety of our community while still delivering the same world-class action,” Schulze said. “2021 will look different as we continue to follow the latest health guidance relating to the pandemic, but we are also excited at what prospects are on offer with this calendar. We are committed to returning players to a LAN environment and are currently aiming to have fans back in their seats.”

I have done a lot of different things over the course of my life and professional career. I have interviewed Oscar and Grammy winners and written cover stories for glossy newsstand magazines. I have played guitar in a rock band on national TV and run an independent music label for which I wrote all of the PR and marketing materials. In my spare time, I sweated out a novel about a world where raccoons are kings and dragons are real.

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