There's no shortage of tournaments for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams out there, but there aren't that many routes in Australia to international competition. But this week, another avenue opened up for Aussie and New Zealand teams through the expansion of the ESL Pro League.
The Pro League's expansion means South East Asia, China and ANZ (Australia & New Zealand) have been added to the broadcaster's CSGO circuit as sub-regions. Being a region unto itself, teams from down under will be able to qualify for the grand finals in Texas, via a regional finals featuring the top 8 teams from the three aforementioned sub-regions. Three ANZ teams will get a chance to compete at the regional finals, with open qualifiers kicking off next Sunday.
"ESL and WESA are happy to announce the league’s expansion into the APAC region with the addition of Southeast Asia, China and Australia/New Zealand in Season 7, and intend to further expand the program into additional territories within the region, as well as create a full league system in the future," ESL said in a release. More local servers and "other technical framework" will be rolled out locally to support the league's expansion.
It's not quite the same as a new franchise league yet, like Gfinity's expansion into Australia, but more routes to international competition is always nice. And off the back of other games and developers expanding their own efforts - including the growth of Rainbow Six: Siege's local tournament circuit, the beginning of the Overwatch Contenders feeder competition, the FIFA-based eLeague and the continued interest of AFL teams in esports - it adds up to a vastly expanded tournament calendar for 2018.