ESL and DreamHack have announced their tentative ESL Pro Tour LAN schedule for the 2021 calendar year. Their plans include a total of eight LAN events with a combined prize pool of $4.5 million.
Better for players, better for fans – this is our vision for #ESLProTour 2021 🙌
— ESL Counter-Strike (@ESLCS) September 22, 2020
ESL will also be rolling out many changes to the scheduling and format of these events in order to help reduce stress for the teams and increase production quality. Previously, LAN events with prize pools of over $250,000 all took place within the course of one week. Now, these events will have a two week run time with a break between the group stage and playoffs.
This break will serve to give teams more practice and rest time in the middle of the most important tournaments in Counter-Strike. Additionally, ESL will strive to produce more content such as trailers, interviews, and analysis for fans to enjoy with this extra time.
Despite the 2021 schedule having two less events than the 2020’s (before COVID-19 intervened), the entire competitive season will take one extra week to compensate for the format changes. This will also affect how long teams will need to be abroad for during LANs.
ESL have also announced a brand new dedicated Counter-Strike studio in Europe. The studio will be the center of all ESL activities and will also be made with COVID regulations in mind. While it is only planned to be used for group stage matches, it may have to host playoffs if public health regulations are not lifted by tournament time.
The Pro Tour calendar for 2021 currently looks like this:
IEM Katowice – February 16th-28th ($1,000,000)
Pro League S13 – March 10th-April 18th ($750,000)
DreamHack Masters – June 3rd-13th ($250,000)
ESL One Cologne – July 6th-18th ($1,000,000)
IEM Melbourne – August 17th-22th ($250,000)
Pro League S14 – September 1st-October 10th ($750,000)
IEM Masters Event – October 14th-24th ($250,000)
IEM Masters Event – December 2nd-12th ($250,000)