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FACEIT and Twitch have kicked off their new international Counter-Strike: Global Offensive league The Esports Championship Series on April 10, which offers $3.5 million in payout over its first two seasons and co-ownership of the league to the competing teams, according to a press release.

According to The ECS consists of 20 teams, 16 invited and 4 from online qualifying tournaments, split evenly between the American Counter-Strike: Global Offensive professional scene and the European professional scene according to csgoleague.com. The 10 teams in each region will play each other in league matches, and the top teams from each region will play for the lion’s share of the payout at an unannounced offline event at the end of the season. Alongside placement payouts, the teams competing in the league are in the unique position of profiting off of the league itself. The ECS is the first league to offer co-ownership to its teams, allowing them to profit off revenue from the league itself.

“Players and teams are the heart of the esports community and deserve the opportunity to reap the rewards of their hard work and dedication to grow esports into a mainstream phenomenon,” said Michele Attisani, co-founder of FACEIT. “We make the community our first priority and as such, we’re excited to support the first esports league that positions teams as co-owners.”

In addition revenue shares, players and teams will also be granted seats on the ECS’ regulatory committee, giving larger representation to the players. Players calling for increased representation, some even to the point of calling for the formation of a player’s union, may be relieved to hear that their voices haven’t been lost in the wheels of bureaucracy.

“We’ve listened to what the teams and players are looking for, which is to have a bigger voice in the movement, and it inspired us to partner with FACEIT to launch the ECS,” said Stuart Shaw, the Director of Esports Strategy at Twitch. “This will mark a significant and welcome change to the sport, and will lead to a wider impact across the industry.”

At the start of season two of the Esports Championship Series, a developmental league will begin simultaneous that will be a springboard for developing teams to enter the ECS.

The European ECS team list includes Astralis, Dignitas, Envyus, Faze, Fnatic, G2 Kinguin(qualified), Mousesports(qualified), Natus Vincere, Ninjas in Pajamas and Virtus Pro.

The American ECS team list includes Cloud 9, Complexity, Counter Logic Gaming, Echo Fox(qualified), Liquid, Luminosity, NRG, Optic, Team Solo Mid and Without a Roof(qualified).

Week 1 of the Esports Championship Series concluded Sunday, April 10. Here are the replays for Astralis vs MousesportsVirtus Pro vs Dignitas and Envyus vs G2 Kinguin in Europe, and NRG vs Complexity and Optic vs Without a Roof in the Americas.

The qualifiers were held between April 6 and April 9. Replays to the qualifying matches are hyperlinked below.

Echofox vs Splyce qualifier replays for map 1map 2map 3map 4, and map 5. Without a Roof vs Selfless qualifier replay map 1map 2map 3, and map 4. Mousesports vs Hellraisers qualifier replay map 1map 2map 3map 4, and map 5. G2 Kinguin vs Gambit qualifier replay map 1map 2, and map 3.

Are leagues and tournaments like the ECS a solution to the problem of the under-represented voice of the players, or is a players’ union positively mandatory to protecting the interests of the players?

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Drake Lupton

Staff Writer

I'm a writer, musician and gamer who enjoys normal things like MMA, pizza and central air conditioning.