Richard Lewis: Valve urge ESL and BLAST to abandon "partnered leagues" by CS2 release

Valve may not issue ESL and BLAST licenses for hosting Counter-Strike 2 tournaments unless they refuse to sell slots to their events to so-called partner teams. This was reported by journalist Richard Lewis, who cited numerous sources familiar with these discussions.

According to the published information, Valve is concerned about the current state of the competitive landscape, with large clubs being able to secure permanent spots at big tournaments. During Paris Major 2023, the developers held discussions with ESL and BLAST executives, during which they urged the latter to abandon "partnered leagues" if they want to get a license for CS2.

Also, one of Lewis's sources discovered that ESL has already started looking for options to invite partner teams to Gamers8 2023, which will run in the capital of Saudi Arabia at the end of the summer with a prize pool of $1 million. Management has scheduled a special meeting to look for the possibility of continuing cooperation with the clubs in a way that would be allowed by Valve.

ESL and BLAST provide a significant part of the spots at their largest tournaments to partner teams, which, after acquiring such a privilege, also participate in the distribution of tournament operators' income. This approach has been repeatedly criticized by the community, as it only creates the illusion of an open circuit supported by Valve.