GomTV Launches Global StarCraft 2 League; $500,000 in Prizes for 2010 and Plans for 2011

GomTV has announced the formation of the Global StarCraft II League (GSL) (via TeamLiquid.net), which will be run by the South Korean company and is open to players of all nationalities, though the initial tournaments held in 2010 and all of the finals will take place in Seoul, South Korea.

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During the remainder of 2010, GomTV will run a monthly tournament with the first one beginning on August 28 with preliminaries to determine who will participate in the 64-man tournament. One of the biggest challenges facing GomTV and Blizzard is getting the StarCraft: Brood War professional players over to StarCraft 2. To do that, some serious prize money is being put up for winners. It is undetermined how much money is being contributed by Blizzard; regardless, the money should attract some great players:

    2010 GSL Monthly Prize Pool
  • Winner: 100,000,000 KRW (aprox. $85,700 USD)
  • Runner-Up: 30,000,000 KRW (aprox. $25,700 USD)
  • Semi-Finalists: 10,000,000 KRW (aprox. $8,600 USD)
  • Quarter-Finalists: 4,000,000 KRW (aprox. $3,400 USD)
  • Round of 16: 2,000,000 KRW (aprox. $1710 USD)
  • Round of 32: 500,000 KRW (aprox. $430 USD)
  • Round of 64: 300,000 KRW (aprox. $260 USD)
These 64-man tournaments, however, primarily serve to rank players for the real GSL in 2011. The top 32 players of 2010 will become "Code S" players, while the next 64 players are deemed "Code A" players. These 96 players will be seeded into the main event for 5 tournaments next year. Additionally, there are 3 different events, which is where players not living in Korea will get a chance at some sweet, sweet prize money. In 2011, the events planned are:
  • GSL (January, March, April, July and September) - Main Event - 32 Code S players tournament and 64 Code A players tournament.
  • World Championship (June, and October) - 16 player tournament comprised of top-4 from each region.
  • Ladder Tournament (February, May, August, and November) - Top 200 from each Battle.net Ladder play in a preliminary to determine participants in a 16-man double elimination tournament.
  • Blizzard Cup (December) - Top 8 (undetermined) best-of-five tournament to determine the best player of the year.
This means that GomTV will run a tournament throughout the next 16 months beginning in September 2010. All tournaments will be broadcast globally. I would assume the English-language casting will be handled by Nick "Tasteless" Plott and Super Daniel Man, who collaborated on English commentary for GomTV's short-lived StarCraft: Brood War leagues. Update: Super Daniel Man has been vocal against this league and the use of the money, which could mean that he isn't involved. [Thanks, tariffen ]

It was GomTV's leagues with English commentary that helped me develop my admitted StarCraft obsession and I'm extremely excited to have over a year of pro-play queued up for broadcast with StarCraft 2.

Back in May, Blizzard signed an exclusive broadcasting deal with GomTV for the rights to all Blizzard games, essentially shutting down the existing Korean eSports Players Association (KeSPA) and StarCraft: Brood War leagues run by OnGameNet and MBCGame. The deal was the result of three years of failed talks between Blizzard and KeSPA over IP rights. OnGameNet and MBCGame are free to negotiate licensing deals with GomTV if they wish to continue broadcasting Blizzard games.

In America, Major League Gaming has added StarCraft 2 to its 2010 line-up with the first tournament kicking off in Raleigh, NC at the end of August. MLG is the official US partner for StarCraft 2.