ESL and DreamHack have announced that the two companies will merge on September 30.
Founded in 1994, DreamHack has evolved over the years into a place for fans to gather together. Its events are defined by offering fans the opportunity to participate in something akin to an esports ComicCon, where gamers can gather together. The operator’s bring-you-own-computer LAN events often include cosplay competitions and exhibition booths for fans to take part in. In recent years, it has also hosted smaller esports competitions in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Fortnite, and StarCraft. In November 2015, ESL owners MTG purchased 100% of DreamHack for approximately $28 million.
Since then, DreamHack and ESL have been joined at the hip, with DreamHack’s smaller tournaments offering a pathway to ESL’s larger, more prestigious events. Now, MTG has fully integrated DreamHack into ESL. According to the DreamHack co-CEO Marcus Lindmark, the merger allows both companies to engage with esports fans in a more direct way.
“With ESL, we will be able to offer a more tailored approach for both our community and our partners across all regions through an array of gaming and esports opportunities, all while creating impactful and memorable experiences,” Lindmark said.
But that doesn’t mean that DreamHack no longer exists. In a comment to WIN.gg, DreamHack’s PR manager Per Sjölin said that ESL and DreamHack events will continue to be separate, with ESL handing its usual tournament events while DreamHack focuses on planning and running festivals with an emphasis on the fan experience.
“Both brands will run side by side leaving [DreamHack and ESL] with new and exciting opportunities when it comes to how we’d feature each other’s brands and expertise at our respective events,” Sjölin said.
The merger is effective immediately, meaning that ESL GmbH, will control and coordinate events between the two brands. ESL’s next event, IEM New York 2020 Online which begins on September 6 will be the first event held in this new era. Unfortunately, DreamHack’s entire 2020 slate of festival events have been rescheduled to 2021. In that regard, fans will have to wait until next year to see the merger’s impact on DreamHack’s legendary events.