Following the successful 2016 Halo World Championships, Xbox and 343 Industries are teaming up this year to present the Halo Championship Series Pro League.
That league will feature 14 of Halo's biggest teams -- eight in North America and six in Europe -- and will begin May 31 and end July 28.
The league will feature a $250,000-per-season prize pool. The finals will occur in Los Angeles in July. At the 2017 World Championship, the prize pool will be $1 million with potential crowdfunding to increase the pot.
ESL will broadcast the tournament three days a week (two in North America and one in Europe).
Counter Logic Gaming, the 2016 Halo world champion, automatically received an invite to the North American part of the league. Other teams will have five chances to qualify for the league in North America.
The first tournament will take place at gaming convention PAX East in Boston on April 24 and will award one team a spot in the league. That tournament will include Evil Geniuses, OpTic Gaming, Enigma 6 and Team EnVyUs. It will also feature the four respective teams that feature the four ex-members of now-disbanded Team Allegiance, which took second at the 2016 World Championship.
From there, 16 teams will be invited to an online qualifier on April 30, with the top eight moving on to a LAN qualifier on May 8. The top four of that tournament will earn spots, joining Counter Logic and the winner of the PAX East invitational in the league.
The final two spots in North America will be awarded to teams through two tournaments. Two open qualifiers will happen on May 14-15 and will seed into a last-chance qualifier, to be played on May 21-22.
Xbox and 343 will allow teams that don't qualify for the pro league to play in an open circuit. Those teams will earn points across multiple events hosted by different tournament organizers and have a chance to relegate the bottom two in each pro league.
Halo is now the third major first-person shooter to build regular, competitive leagues.
Last year, ESL and E-Sports Entertainment Association (ESEA) started the ESL ESEA Pro League -- now known as just ESL Pro League -- featuring the top Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams from North America and Europe. Next month, Turner Broadcasting Group and sports management agency WME/IMG will launch its televised Counter-Strike league, ELEAGUE.
Meanwhile in Call of Duty, developer Activision, video-game console brand Playstation and ESL launched the Call of Duty World League earlier this year. Much like the HCS Pro League, the CoD World League was the first of its kind.