Keeping Things Competitive

We’re back from the incredible StarLadder Berlin Major. While the teams were busy with record-breaking 60-round matches, the community was busy as well: tournament items for this major will pay out over $11 million for participating teams and players!

During the Major, we followed conversations in the community about leagues, media rights, and the future of CS:GO events. And while we typically don’t weigh in on these conversations, there are a few issues we want to clarify to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Leagues

We make it free to get a license to operate a CSGO tournament because we want to get out of the way of third parties creating value for our customers. Often that value comes from experimentation–tournament operators experiment with presentation, technology, formats, locations, etc. We support experiments that are scoped large enough to identify new and interesting opportunities, but not so large that if they fail it would be hard for the ecosystem to recover. With that in mind, CS:GO leagues present two concerns for us:

Exclusivity

Recently there have been steps toward a broad form of exclusivity where teams who compete in a particular event are restricted from attending another operator’s events. This form of team exclusivity is an experiment that could cause long-term damage. In addition to preventing other operators from competing, exclusivity prevents other events from keeping the CSGO ecosystem functioning if an individual event fails. At this time we are not interested in providing licenses for events that restrict participating teams from attending other events.

Shared Ownership

A few years ago, we started talking to tournament operators, teams, and players about the importance of avoiding conflicts of interest in CS:GO Majors. We consider a conflict of interest to be any case where a tournament, team, or player has a financial relationship with any other participating team or its players. This includes multi-team ownership, leagues with shared ownership by multiple teams, or essentially any financial reason to prefer that one team win over another. In open events, like the Majors, teams with these business arrangements may have (real or percieved) financial interest in the success of teams that they are competing with. In order to participate in Majors, we require that players, teams, and tournament operators confirm that they have no existing conflicts of interest, or if they do, disclose them and work to resolve them. This requirement isn’t new, but we felt it was worth reiterating given the conversations we’re hearing. If you are interested, the exact terms we require are below.

Media Rights

Another conversation we saw during the Major was about the ability for members of the community to broadcast the Major. Throughout the year, tournament operators use their events to build relationships with sponsors and media partners. When it’s time for the Majors, we think it’s important that they don’t disrupt those existing relationships. For this reason, the Major tournament operator has always been the only party that has had a license to broadcast the Major.

However, we do expect our Major partners to be as inclusive as possible. Major tournament operators are expected to work with streamers in order to provide viewers with access to valuable alternative content and underserved languages, whether through official streams or otherwise. Anyone that wants to offer a unique perspective and co-stream the Major should reach out to the Major tournament operator ahead of time in order to ensure a good experience for everyone involved.

More Detail on Conflict of Interest

Here are the terms we’ve required that players and teams accept when they register for a Major:

Teams and players should not have any financial interest in the success of any team that they are competing against. To participate in this Tournament, players and teams are required to affirm that they have no business entanglement (including, but not limited to, shared management, shared ownership of entities, licensing, and loans) with any other participating team or its players. If you have an agreement or business arrangement that you think may be of concern, then please reach out to the CS:GO development team for further discussion.

“I am not currently aware of any conflict of interest that I might have with another participating team or any player on another participating team. If I currently have a conflict of interest, or become aware of one over the course of the event, I will immediately provide detail to the CS:GO development team explaining the nature of my relationship with the other player or players, and a plan for resolving the issue in the future. I understand that failure to report my conflict of interest may result in my disqualification from the event and/or forfeiture of proceeds.”

In addition to players, the tournament operator accepts the following clause in the Major tournament agreement:

Licensee and Tournament event staff may not have any business entanglement (including, but not limited to, shared management, shared ownership of entities, licensing, and loans) with any participating team or players. If Licensee has any business entanglement with any player or teams then Licensee will disclose them in writing (including a description of the nature of the conflict) to Valve as of the Effective Date and at any point thereafter during the Term when such entanglement may arise. Within its sole discretion, Valve reserves the right to a) require that Licensee address and remove the business entanglement or b) terminate the Agreement without cost or penalty.

We think that avoiding conflict of interest is an important part of ensuring fair and honest competition, and so we do not have any plans to change these requirements for participation in a Major.

StarLadder Berlin Major Champions


Congratulations to Astralis, who won a record-breaking third straight Major Championship and their fourth overall.

AVANGAR’s path to the Grand Final met the brick wall of Astralis, who took hold of the series from the first few rounds and never let go.

Thank you to everyone who watched the Major, and to StarLadder, the teams, and the players for an incredible event.

Finally, there’s still a chance to support your favorite teams–player and team items are up to 75% off!

Berlin 2019 – Champions Stage

The final eight are ready for the Champions stage of the StarLadder Berlin Major at the Mercedes-Benz Arena!

After a hotly contested Legends stage, ENCE and NRG finished 3-0, Vitality, Astralis, and AVANGAR finished at 3-1 while Na’Vi, Liquid, and Renegades made the cut with a 3-2 record.

Watch live coverage beginning Thursday on Steam.tv, on the official Twitch stream, and in-game on GOTV to see which team will become the next CS:GO Major Champions. Don’t forget to make your Playoff picks now in the Pick’Em Challenge before the matches begin!


If you haven’t already purchased a Viewer Pass, you can get it now for 40% off. You’ll get unlimited Major graffiti and Steam chat flair for the duration of the Major as well as an upgradable Event Coin and the chance to earn or purchase Souvenir Tokens which you can redeem for a Souvenir Package from the match of your choice.

Berlin 2019 – Legends Stage

The Legends have arrived.


Congratulations to mousesports, North, G2 Esports, NRG, CR4ZY, Vitality, Avangar, and DreamEaters, who all advanced from the Challengers Stage. They’ll face off against the Legends this week–may the best teams win.

If you’re joining us late, you can still get the most out of the 2019 Berlin Major. The Viewer Pass is now 20% off!

With a Viewer Pass, you’ll get a Berlin 2019 Event Coin, challenges to complete, unlimited Team Graffiti, Steam.tv Flair, and exclusive access to Berlin 2019 Souvenir Packages. Don’t forget to set your Pick’Em predictions before the first Legends Stage matches start on August 28th.

The StarLadder Berlin 2019 Major Begins

Tune in August 23rd at 12:00 PM CEST for the opening matches of the StarLadder Berlin Major’s Challenger Stage.


Watch the matches live on steam.tv, in-game through GOTV, or on Twitch.

Purchase the Berlin 2019 Viewer Pass via Steam or in game and receive an upgradable Event Coin that unlocks exclusive access to Berlin 2019 Souvenir Packages. New for this tournament, you can play competitive missions to upgrade your Event Coin or purchase additional Souvenir Tokens.

Don’t forget to make your predictions in the Pick’Em Challenge! (Passholders should get their picks in before the stage begins for a chance at the Diamond Tournament Coin.) You will also receive free unlimited Team Graffiti for the duration of the Major and Steam.tv team flair. Detailed information about Viewer Passes, Souvenir Packages, and the Pick’Em Challange can be found here.

Support your favorite teams and players with Berlin 2019 Team and Autograph stickers. As always, 50% of the proceeds from sticker and Viewer Pass sales go to the players and organizations participating in the StarLadder Berlin Major.