Esports gaming giants ESL and DreamHack have merged together to form a new global behemoth, ESL Gaming.
DreamHack and ESL Consolidate Ties by Merging into a Single Entity
Esports tournament and festival hosts ESL and DreamHack have merged under a new name, ESL Gaming. The pair is owned by Modern Times Group (MTG), a Swedish digital entertainment company. The company has, for years, sought to consolidate the esports tournament space.
With this move, MTG has succeeded. No big changes are expected right away with regards to the intellectual properties of either company. DreamHack and ESL will continue to organize events and operate under their own names.
DreamHack will focus on both esports events and gaming festivals. In the meantime, ESL will continue to run as a purely esports organization on a tournament level. ESL co-chief executives Craig Levine and Ralf Reichert will retain the same positions they are currently holding in ESL Gaming.
DreamHack chief executive and president Marcus Lindmark is also joining the ESL executive team as part of the move. MTG has deemed the merger appropriate as it responded to changing needs and demands from players, fans and partners.
The new company will seek to connect with broader esports audiences. ESL is already running mobile esports tournaments for award-winning games. Those include games as Supercell’s Brawl Stars, Clash of Clans, and Clash Royale.
Bringing their operations together, ESL and DreamHack are expanding on an already existing joint broadcast rights partnership with Twitch, an Amazon-owned streaming platform. DreamHack and ESL signed in April 2020, replacing Facebook’s 2018 deal. Since the signing, Twitch has been the main broadcaster for ESL and DreamHack events.
Restructuring for a Better Future
Twitch is the official streaming partner for a number of competitions, including Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), StarCraft II and Warcraft III. Commenting on these developments, Levine had this to say:
“Through maximum cooperation and collaboration, and the melding of some of the best creative and visionary gaming minds in the industry, we will, together, continue to advance the innovation that drives this space via the most exceptional products and events.”ESL co-chief executives Craig Levine
He continued by elaborating that partners would now have the opportunity to engage with the brand across a wider range of activations on all levels of esports and gaming. Levine explained that esports fans could expect one of the most “expansive esports lifestyle portfolios available.”
Lindmark joined the congratulatory statement and explained that ESL would be able to offer a tailored approach to community and partners in all regions where the entity operates. The goal, Lindmark clarified, was to create an impactful and memorable experience.
Speaking to GamesIndustryBiz, an ESL Gaming representative confirmed that the organization will be scaling down on staff. The decision is not a direct result of the merger, the spokesperson said. Rather it’s the result of organizational restructuring to seek an optimized operating model.
The spokesperson did mention the global pandemic and the challenges that have stemmed from it, facing the business with new and unpredicted events. ESL Gaming assured that the decision to let members of the staff go was not an easy one, as members of the staff were like family to the organization.