ESL axes NA invite slot for Cologne & Katowice
ESL revealed changes to its slot distribution for the upcoming 2024 ESL schedule, which sees North America having its dedicated invite allocation for IEM Cologne and IEM Katowice cut in half. In its place, ESL has decided to increase the number of Global ESL World Ranking invites which comes at the detriment of a region that has been long decimated by the decision to remove its regional Pro League and moving more events away from the United States.
The decision to reduce the spots for North America comes at a time when more organizations are rumored to be re-entering the space.
Nouns, Wildcard, M80, and soon NRG are making efforts within the region by creating and supporting North American teams with salaries, boot camps, and all sorts of services. Removing the number of qualification spots for North American teams makes entering the region less enticing.
With Liquid looking to come back to the Americas region with their expected pickups of Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken and Felipe "skullz" Medeiros, the squad will likely compete with Complexity for the ESL World Ranking NA spot if neither is in the Top 8 of the ESL World Ranking at the time of slot allocation.
Beyond that, it becomes more challenging for teams like Nouns, Wildcard, and M80 to be able to earn those spots as they do not compete at the international level nearly as much.