Thank you for your interest in the ESEA League. We've tried to boil down all of our rules and format into a short summary of what the ESEA League is all about with relevant links to more information where required. If you still have any questions please don't hesitate to contact us via a "League" support ticket here. You can always navigate to the support ticket link by clicking "support" and "support ticket" on the left hand side of the ESEA.net website.
What is the ESEA League?
The ESEA League is one of the biggest open tournament formats for CS:GO with divisions in North America, Europe, Australia, the Middle East, South Africa, Asia and Brazil. It has grown to be very popular due to its reliable, regular structure with three seasons of games per year. Many high level teams have worked their way through the ESEA League to get the ESL Pro League (which is qualified to via the ESL Challenger League) and plenty of elite players got their first taste of competitive CS:GO in our lower divisions. Teams start in the Open division and depending on their playoff results are moved up to Intermediate, Main, Advanced or to the ESL Challenger League which is the highest ESEA run division.
Each season starts with a registration period where teams sign up and get their rosters organised for the upcoming season. Once registration closes then cooldowns will come into effect (such as only 3 players can join a roster per 7 days and a player can only join one team per 7 days) and shortly afterward teams who do not have the appropriate number of players with their fees paid will be removed. All of the key dates will be summarised in a post like this. Once the deadline in the announcement passes then each team will be generated their regular season-opening matchups versus the first few teams. Each week teams will be generated two additional matches versus teams with similar win ratios ie teams that win their opening first matches will go against those teams who also won. After 8 weeks of the regular season each team will have around 16 matches played, there is then a single "make up" week where any matches that were pushed back, for example for LAN events, can be played. The win ratios from this regular season are then used to seed a playoff bracket where the top teams from each division will play against each other to determine the best teams. The number of playoff spots depends on the number of teams registered for that division and are listed here. In divisions such as North America Open where there are multiple conferences (eg East/West) then all conferences are grouped together for the playoffs. Once the playoffs are over then teams are awarded prize money according to a breakdown announced earlier in the season similar to this. Teams are then moved up or down based on how they did during the season according to this structure.
For each of the two matches in the regular season teams may freely move the match around as long as both teams mutually agree on a time. Teams are provided with a scheduling interface to easily select a time and server that suits both teams. In the event that both teams are unable to come to an agreement on the scheduled time then as a last resort the game is forced to a previously announced default time for the match. These default times are different for each division and are available in the league rules. For the playoffs, since matches need to be finished before the next one starts then scheduling is a bit tighter. The playoff dates will be announced in a post like this months before the playoff dates to give teams time to prepare. Teams can then bring matches forward or push them back up to 24 hours from the default times.