Five team owners have joined forces to found FLASHPOINT – an international Counter-Strike: Global Offensive esports league that is designed to stoke the embers of the sputtering CS:GO professional scene.
Announced on Wednesday and backed by FACEIT, the new league is scheduled to commence in March. It will feature two offline seasons per year, with 12 teams vying for US $2 million in prize winnings. League organisers have also promised that FLASHPOINT players will enjoy the largest revenue sharing scheme in esports history.
Out of 12 teams who will compete in the league, 10 spots will be locked in for FLASHPOINT’s partner firm. MiBR, MAD Lions, Dignitas, Cloud9, Gen.G Esports and c0ntact Gaming are already confirmed, leaving four more spots to fill. The two remaining spots will be awarded to teams who will make it through the qualifiers, beginning on Thursday, February 6, across North America, South America and Europe.
The format for FLASHPOINT will be quite different compared to the ESL, ELEAGUE, BLAST and ECS leagues. The new competition will have a unique format which will “complement their overall focus on banter between the teams and showcase the players’ personalities, while still providing intense competition”.
FLASHPOINT LEAGUE FORMAT
The 12 teams participating in FLASHPOINT will initially be seeded 1-12 based on a Counter-Strike Professional Players’ Association (CSPPA)-approved ranking system. The inaugural season will be split into two phases. In each phase, the 12 teams will be divided into three GSL double-elimination groups of four teams, where each match will be played as best of three (Bo3).
Before each phase kicks off, FLASHPOINT will feature a group selection show where the teams themselves will determine how the groups will look by selecting their opponents.
In phase one, the top three seeds will be randomly assigned to one of the three groups. After that, the captain of the team placed into Group A will choose another team out of the remaining nine to be placed into their group. The process will repeat with Group B and Group C. For the remaining spots, the most recently selected teams will get to choose their opponents from the remaining pool of unassigned teams, starting with Group A. The same system is then used for the selection of the last three teams.
The teams that were placed into the groups last will then have the opportunity to propose a swap with another team. The swaps can occur either within the group, to change up each team’s first opponents, or between the groups. However, the top-three seeded teams will get a chance to veto any swap with 2/3 consensus.
For phase two, the top three teams based on their placement in phase one get seeded into groups first. Otherwise, the selection process remains identical to phase one.
At the conclusion of phase two, each team will receive playoff points based on their performances over the course of the tournament. These points will be used to determine which eight teams enter the playoffs. The points distribution is as follows:
First place: 75 points
Second place: 50 points
Third place: 30 points
Fourth place: 15 points
The league is intended as esports’ answer to UFC and WWE with entertainment-driven sports properties, including a separate broadcasted event for the group selection process.
FLASHPOINT bills itself as the fix for the financial instability in the CS:GO scene as well as the hectic and sometimes unbearable schedules pro players have to go through. While the league will directly compete with other competitions, its teams have a free pass to participate in other leagues if they desire to do so.
In an intriguing twist, the league’s bylaws stipulate that all partner teams must retain a spot inside the top 20 in the CS:GO world rankings. If any teams fail to meet that criteria, they will be hit with a monthly fine of $100,000 until they reclaim their position in the top 20. The rule was implemented keep the quality of the league at a respected level.
Perhaps the most exciting addition to the FLASHPOINT CS:GO league is its on-air talent, which will include Auguste “Semmler” Massonat, former Overwatch League presenter Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykles and Duncan “Thorin” Shields, who will also serve as the competition’s creative director.
Joining them will be Jason “moses” O’Toole, Anders Blume, Sean “seang@res” Gares, Freya Spiers and the well-known casting duo of Dan “DDK” Kapadia and James Bardolph.