European football is set to undergo an enormous shakeup in 2021, and that’s causing a bit of a branding issue in esports.
ESL, one of esports’ top tournament organizers that operates across almost every notable title in competitive gaming, has been getting mixed up lately with the new European Super League. The fledgling soccer association has been one of the most heavily discussed topics in all of sports, and that’s naturally causing a bit of trouble for the tournament organizer.
We are not the European Super League.
Your ESL team
— ESL (@ESL) April 19, 2021
What followed from there was a bit of light ribbing towards the European Super League from other esports institutions including teams, casters, and pro players.
Come on Boomers… There’s only one real ESL.???? pic.twitter.com/YqZ1TDVPti
— Astralis Counter-Strike (@AstralisCS) April 19, 2021
The Super League is a new soccer league that is set to include several of the biggest clubs on the continent. Manchester United, Barcelona, and Real Madrid are all among the 12 founding members of the league, with three more reportedly set to join in the near future. Though it is currently simply being billed as “The Super League,” the organization’s business filings have been under the name “European Super League Company.”
Of course, ESL does not officially stand for the European Super League. And that has caused some confusion.
ESL > European Super League
Don’t @ me
— Team Vitality (@TeamVitality) April 19, 2021
What does ESL stand for?
When it comes to esports tournament organizer ESL, its name technically isn’t an acronym these days. The company’s name is simply those three letters.
It was previously known as Electronic Sports League, but has since rebranded as simply being “ESL.” This has been a common phenomenon in esports over recent years, with a number of prominent institutions moving away from their full names and adopting their abbreviations as their full names. This includes the likes of Team SoloMid and Kingzone DragonX, now TSM and DRX, respectively.
Is ESL One a major?
Generally speaking, no. ESL One events are usually not majors whether they’re being held in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive or Dota 2.
CSGO and Dota 2 publisher Valve traditionally picks dates on the calendar for the next year and works with various tournament organizers to put together events that are sanctioned as a major. ESL One events can become majors if these schedules align. In 2020, ESL was set to host the ESL One Los Angeles Major in Dota 2 and the ESL One Rio Major in CSGO. Both of these events were canceled.
In Dota 2, ESL’s Dota Pro Circuit leagues in the CIS region has been designated as an ESL One event series. In Counter-Strike, a number of online events have been branded as ESL One tournaments with ESL One Cologne 2021 set to come up in July. Neither of these events are set to be majors, however.