Valve has announced future Counter-Strike: Global Offensive majors will have a prize pool of $1 million, and explained growth in the game's community and esports presence was a key factor in its decision to invest more money into competitive play.
"When we announced the first CS:GO Major Championship in 2013, we hoped the Majors would be rallying points for the community, tent-pole events that could draw new audiences and amplify the value of all events," the company said on the Counter-Strike blog.
"Since then, the professional CS:GO community has been growing at an incredible rate," it continued. "CS:GO tournaments are now among the largest esports events in the world, drawing global audiences of millions of viewers, filling massive venues, and garnering higher prize pools. Professional CS:GO has grown, and the CS:GO Major Championships are about to grow with it."
The first tournament to benefit from the increased prize pool is MLG Columbus, which will be held at the MLG Arena and Nationwide Arena from March 29 until April 3. Adam Apicella, senior executive at MLG, posted a breakdown of the $1 million will be split.
MLG Columbus CSGO Breakdown— Adam Apicella (@MrAdamAp) February 24, 2016
Quarter Finalist $35,000
Group Stage $8,750
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is consistently one of the most played games on Valve's Steam platform.
In January, ESPN launched a new internal division dedicated to esports designed to provide "comprehensive coverage surrounding the world of competitive gaming." As one of the most popular competitively played games, Valve's Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is likely to be a cornerstone of ESPN's coverage plans.
In a statement, ESPN.com editor-in-chief Chad Millman said you can expect ESPN's efforts in the gaming world to be of "the same level of quality content and journalism that users of ESPN.com have come to expect."
ESPN3 previously broadcasted gameplay from tournaments at BlizzCon and Valve's Dota 2 International.