ESL Australia has officially announced the return of the ESL ANZ Champs - a staple on the Oceanic Counter-Strike and Starcraft 2 calendar - and with it, the launch of three new broadcast studios based in western Sydney.
Now in it’s 12th iteration, the official ESL ANZ Champs CS:GO season begins March 8 with the first of the three open qualifiers beginning February 13. The Starcraft 2 season is set to begin later in May, with a second season penned for August. Information, registration and more can be found on ESL Australia’s official site.
In a first for ESL ANZ Champs, the main CS:GO season will feature 16 teams with a full Swiss system format, expanding from the 10-team double-elimination playoffs from Season 11, with 12 teams qualifying from opens to join the four invited squads who have yet to be announced.
All matches of the season will be broadcast live from the new studios, which have been purpose-built with versatility in mind, allowing for a variety of options for presentation - from traditional desk broadcasts to a more casual approach with couches and video walls.
James Fletcher, Product Manager for ESL ANZ Champs, noted a switch in focus of the presentation of the end product: “We see the ANZ Champs as the place where all CS:GO and StarCraft 2 fans can come; whether it’s to watch their favourite teams compete, or simply take part in an interactive broadcast.
“Coming into 2021, we’ve been working on what is the biggest change to the league since its inception in 2015. We’re talking less of the stiff, ‘Sports Show’ vibe and more Twitch chat, memes, and content.”
The studios can even facilitate a remote broadcast, a feature that has no doubt come as a consequence of the COVID pandemic that had seen the cancellation of most in-person broadcasts in 2020.
The 2021 OCE CS:GO season is yet to begin, but it already is set to look wholly different to 2020’s end. Between massive changes in the top four—both reported and yet to come to light—as well as ESIC’s issued ban list eliminating a bulk of the underlying playerbase, the field is open for the taking.
The first of three ESL ANZ Champs CS:GO open qualifiers begins on February 13 - full information for the season including registration & sign-ups can be found here. Stay in touch with OCE esports news, commentary and more via Here’s The Thing.