Turner Broadcasting, WME-IMG and their esports brand ELeague will host the next $1 million Counter-Strike: Global Offensive major starting January 12, the companies announced on Thursday. The major will take place in both Boston and Atlanta.
The ELeague Major: Boston will begin with its major qualifier and group stage in Turner's ELeague Arena in Atlanta from Jan. 12-15 and 19-22. The event will then travel north as its playoffs, which span from Jan. 26-28, take place at Boston University's Agganis Arena. The event is the first Counter-Strike major to be hosted in two separate cities.
The event will be ELeague's second Valve-licensed Counter-Strike major and the first of the 2018 rotation. ELeague previously hosted the Atlanta Major in January 2017 at its own arena and the Fox Theatre in Atlanta. That event hit more than 3.6 million unique viewers in its grand finals across livestreaming and linear television across the world, breaking records for the most spectators on a single Twitch stream.
"We're looking forward to hosting our second ELeague Major in back-to-back years and bringing a CS:GO championship to Boston for the first time," Turner Sports chief content officer Craig Barry said in a statement. "Following the record-setting engagement during last year's ELeague Major, we appreciate Valve's ongoing trust in us and all of the continued support from the esports community."
Guaranteed teams invited to the event include eight who earned Legends spots from their placings at the PGL Kraków Major in Poland in July. Those teams include Gambit Gaming, Astralis, Virtus.pro, Fnatic, SK Gaming, BIG and North, as well as three-fifths of the roster of Immortals. That team encountered internal issues following the major, which jeopardizes the organization's guaranteed participation in the event.
The other eight teams for the event will qualify via the major qualifier, which will be filled with teams who participate in several minors across North America, Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States and Asia beginning Oct. 26. The American minor will take place in Toronto; Europe and Commonwealth of Independent States in Bucharest, Romania; and Asia in Seoul, South Korea.