ESL and DreamHack, two of the biggest tournament organizers in esports, have merged. ESL co-CEOs Ralf Reichert and Craig Levine will lead the new company, which is called ESL Gaming. DreamHack CEO Marcus Lindmark will continue to run that brand’s gaming festivals, which take place across North America and Europe.
Modern Times Group bought DreamHack in 2015 and it acquired a majority stake of ESL that same year. Until now, the two brands have mostly operated independently, but, as ESPN Esports notes, they’ve been sharing resources and helping each other out over the last couple of years. They hope the merger will “further accelerate their mission to shape the future of esports and gaming.”
ESL Gaming is one of the few major tournament organizers that isn’t owned by game publishers or esports teams. As such, they host events for a variety of games. At a typical DreamHack festival, you might watch top pros compete in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Rainbow Six Siege, Rocket League, Hearthstone and more under one roof.
Earlier this year, before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, ESL and DreamHack struck a deal with Blizzard to run pro tours for Starcraft II and Warcraft III: Reforged. The brands have also run major Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2 tournaments for Valve.