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Published: January 25, 2022

Written by: Stoyan Todorov

  • Two of esports’ most distinguished organizations will merge
  • The organizations’ leadership and activities will remain largely unchanged
  • Executives say this will bring both organizations new opportunities and resources

In one of esports’ biggest deals, tournament organizers ESL and FACEIT will merge after being acquired by Savvy Gaming Group.

ESL and FACEIT Merge to Create Even More Opportunities

On Monday, January 24, Saudi-owned Savvy Gaming Group announced the purchase of esports organizer ESL for a reported sum of $1.08 billion. ESL will now merge with FACEIT, which was acquired separately for $500 million, according to Handelblatt, the German outlet that first reported on the deal.

“SGG has committed to invest heavily in the games and esports industry and to materially strengthen the global games community,” said CEO of SGG Brian Ward. “We are delighted to be working with ESL FACEIT Group – a deal that will enable us to actively support the creation of a world-class esports ecosystem.”

Cologne-based ESL is one of the most established esports tournament organizers in the world, known for setting up events for games like StarCraft 2, Dota 2, and CS:GO. Not long ago, the organizer announced the creation of a woman-only CS:GO league set to debut in 2022.

Under SSG’s new ownership ESL will merge with FACEIT, which is famous for organizing both amateur and professional level tournaments. Some games they organize events for include CS:GO, League of Legends, and Rocket League.

What Awaits Both Organizations?

Following the acquisition, both companies will retain their leadership and overall structure. “Our brands (FACEIT, DreamHack, ESL, ESEA, and Badlion) will continue operating as before – each in its own style.

You can still grind on FACEIT and FPL, rank up on ESEA Leagues, watch great matches play out at IEM Katowice, and be part of the gaming community at DreamHack festivals,” wrote ESL and FACEIT in the merger’s official statement.

Craig Levine, the CEO of ESL, and Niccolo Maisto, the CEO of FACEIT, will become co-CEOs. Co-founder and current co-CEO of ESL Ralf Reichert will become the Executive Chairman, which is a non-operational role.

“In the past years, ESL and FACEIT had a significant positive impact for the growth of the esports industry, bringing a variety of propositions for players, teams, publishers, and developers,” said Maisto in a press release. He added that with the backing of SSG, the newly merged companies will take “a long-term approach to develop a more robust platform to better support the future of the whole competitive gaming ecosystem and generate more value for all its stakeholders in a sustainable way.”

Levine reaffirmed that the organization’s activities will remain unchanged. He added that the merger will grant them more knowledge and resources to continue on that mission.

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