Following a successful IEM Cologne LAN, ESL has announced that it would move back ESL Pro League Season 14 to an online format.
LAN Events Not Here to Stay Just Yet
The world is out of the pandemic, and then again, it is not. Recovery has been an ongoing ebb and flows with measures lifted and then reintroduced again. In light of the travel restrictions and uncertainty stemming from the pandemic, the ESL Pro League Season 14 has been moved to an online format.
CS:GO Pro League was officially scheduled as an in-person event in Malta, but these plans have now been scuppered in favor of a safer, remote format. ESL has been moving many of its events online to ease the traveling burden and reduce the risk of transmission.
The hosts did consult with the EPL Player Council and Counter-Strike Professional Players Association (CSPPA) prior to going ahead with the shift. Not much will change for ESL Pro League Season 14 despite the shift towards online gaming, ESL assured.
Season 14 will pretty much follow the previous edition of the league. The news is disappointing because ESL has just hosted the IEM Cologne LAN, and many fans took it as a clear sign that esports is bouncing back.
IEM Cologne LAN Doesn’t Mean Return of Live Events
Contrary to popular belief, esports fans do attend in-person events, and the venues hosting them are always packed out, bringing additional revenue to organizations and promoting esports culture.
Commenting in an official statement, ESL gave the reasons behind its decision: “We would have loved to continue on LAN, but with the first playday kicking off in four weeks, the ever-changing challenges are simply too great to overcome as we are facing different conditions compared to IEM Cologne 2021.”
ESL has remained vigilant of the epidemiologic situation in Europe, with more instances of the Delta variant registered all across the continent necessitating tighter pandemic restrictions. ESL Pro League is a much lengthier competition, the organization explained, and as such, shifting it online may be the best option for the safety of participants and organizers.
“Going online is the safest option to make sure all teams will still be able to compete in Season 14 while not risking anyone getting stuck with travel complications,” the statement noted. In the meantime, PGL, another tournament host, is negotiating with the Swedish government in order to host the Stockholm CS:GO Major in October.
The Swedish government has already objected to hosting a major event with a large live audience, to wit Dota 2 The International, the crowning event in the competitive gaming circuit for the year.
PGL assured that more European countries are now reintroducing live events, but it seems that ESL Pro League Season 14 was not located in one of them, as Malta, too, is tightening the screws on safety protocols.