CSPPA announces CSGO partnership with ESL and DreamHack

By Nick Johnson


Jan 16, 2020

Reading time: 2 min

The Counter-Strike Professional Players Association has announced a partnership with ESL and DreamHack that they say will lead to a “participation framework” between the players and the tournament organizers.

The partnership covers a wide array of subjects ranging from involvement in revenue to player contracts. The official announcement contains little in the way of specific detail, merely announcing that a framework is forthcoming but has yet to be established. 

The framework is said to apply to all events within the ESL Pro Tour circuit. WIN.gg has contacted the CSPPA with questions regarding the framework itself but has not yet received a reply.

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The partnership signals that the CSPPA might be choosing sides in what is slowly becoming a war between tournament organizers in the CSGO space. Reports have indicated that organizers are becoming increasingly territorial regarding teams that are scheduled to, or have planned to, attend their events.

The ecosystem has been complicated by the emergence of B Site, a codenamed tournament circuit owned and operated by the organizations themselves. As of now, Cloud9 and MIBR-owners Immortals Gaming Club are said to be leading the charge.


ESL, arguably the largest and most successful tournament organizer in the CSGO scene, has gained a strong ally in the CSPPA in its seeming feud with other major tournament organizers. It was, after all, the players that ultimately sunk the 2017 Professional Esports Association’s bid to create a team-owned league akin to the NFL at the expense of ESL’s Pro League.

While how far the partnership between the CSPPA and ESL goes is ultimately unknown, a paragraph in the announcement links ESL to potential involvement in player compensation:

“The agreement also provides a basis for future cooperation regarding standard player contracts, player intellectual property rights, and potential joint projects in the future,” says the release.

ESL, a tournament organizer who wouldn’t typically have involvement in contracts made between a team organization and its players, is specifically mentioned as being a possible future collaborator in standardizing player contracts.

This paragraph makes the announced framework look more like the collective bargaining agreement the CSPPA has sought between tournament organizers and players rather than the agreements between organizations and organizers that have been the standard in Counter-Strike for some time.

While the announcement is little more than an announcement of a plan, what little there is points to the possibility that the players themselves are getting involved in the future of the Counter-Strike ecosystem.


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