ESL Impact announces 2024 schedule; removes NA/SA spots
Today, ESL Impact announced the competition schedule for 2024. Straight away, the most noticeable change is the removal of the ESL Impact Katowice from the calendar. Still, deeper changes have sparked the rage from North American and South American players and fans, as it was announced that the regions, alongside Asia, will be losing spots throughout the year.
The 2024 calendar also shows that the ESL Impact Season 5 LAN Finals will be returning to Dallas, just one year after the ESL Impact Season 3 LAN Finals was hosted there. The LAN Finals for Season 6 will be in Stockholm, for the first time in the event's history. Additionally, ESL Impact will increase the LAN Finals' prize pool to $150,000 and will continue running two Cash Cups per month all year long.
ESL Impact has announced that for 2024, there will be no standalone events, meaning the removal of ESL Impact Katowice, as the organizer "decided to take a step back and revise" how it approaches said events. The biggest change for 2024 does not regard the calendar and dates, per se. In a rather controversial move, ESL Impact took invites from North and South America, and the Asia-Pacific region to give more slots to European teams in the LAN Finals.
For ESL Impact Season 5 LAN Finals, North American teams will keep their usual two spots. Still, the South American region will only have one representative in Dallas, while Europe will feature one more team there. This changes for Season 6, as it will be NA and Asia losing a spot relative to S5, while Europe gets four teams and South America gets two.
ESL Impact Season 5 LAN Finals invites
2x North America
1x South America
1x Asia Qualifier
ESL Impact Season 6 LAN Finals invites
2x South America
1x North America
ESL Impact justifies these changes as a " response to low participation rates in certain regions during 2023" and argues that the "adjustments to regional slots for season finals have been made to ensure that the best talent is allowed to compete at top-tier events."
Fans have been critical of the alterations, as many believe that this was North America's most competitive season to date and it's unfair to take one spot away from the region when it has started to show more promise. South American fans are also unhappy and argue that a region that has been to two grand finals in three events should not lose one slot.
As for Asia and other regions like Oceania and South Africa, with ESL Impact removing their access to international events, there's nothing for players and organizations to fight for, thus resulting in lower participation in those certain regions, which in turn, will result in the TO not hosting qualifiers or leagues for them, completely neutralizing those scenes.
All changes can be checked here.