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January 24, 2022

ESL and FACEIT merge to create the world’s leading competitive gaming platform

ESL FACEIT Group deliver an end-to-end solution that supports game developers and publishers to build sustainable competitive gaming communities and esports ecosystems

ESL FACEIT Group change the game, offering players and fans the leading digital platform to play and connect 

Savvy Gaming Group to fuel ESL FACEIT Group growth with significant long-term investment

ESL Gaming, the world’s leading independent esports company, and FACEIT, the leading digital destination for competitive gamers, are joining forces to shape the future of competitive gaming under the name ESL FACEIT Group. The new company will create the ultimate platform for competitive gaming with an unmatched proposition for players, fans, teams, publishers, developers, and partners, no matter where they are on their competitive gaming journey.

The ESL FACEIT Group will now come under the new ownership of Savvy Gaming Group (SGG), taking over from previous owners MTG. The deal is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close in Q2 2022.

ESL and FACEIT have both been fundamental to the incredible growth of esports and competitive gaming globally, with over thirty years combined in the industry. Together, they will form a new driving force in the fast-growing but fragmented esports landscape at a critical time in the evolution of the industry. For the first time, gamers, publishers, and partners will have a consistent journey that could take them from casual competitions to arena events on one platform. 

The deal will combine ESL’s expertise in building, broadcasting, and commercializing premium esports ecosystems, including arena and festival events, with FACEIT’s capabilities in developing best-in-class tools for competitive games and a leading social network of competitive players. Together, ESL & FACEIT deliver an end-to-end solution that supports game publishers and developers to build sustainable competitive gaming communities and esports ecosystems.

ESL and FACEIT will retain their leadership teams in the new group, with a new structure that would see Craig Levine and Niccolo Maisto as co-CEOs. Ralf Reichert, co-founder of ESL, will move into a non-operational role as Executive Chairman, supporting the leadership team. ESL FACEIT Group will continue to embrace both companies’ shared values and strategic goals, and promote the creation of engaging, accessible, and socially competitive experiences for gamers around the world.

ESL CEO Craig Levine said: “Our mission remains unchanged: to create a world where everybody can be somebody. Our merger with FACEIT, along with the backing of SGG, will give us more know-how, capabilities, and resources than ever before to deliver on this vision. Whether you are competing or watching, doing so socially or at a professional level, every stage of the pathway will be improved through this merger. For gamers, publishers, and partners, this is a hugely exciting proposition, to be able to take everyone on the journey from your first step into competition to playing on the biggest esports stages globally.”

FACEIT CEO Niccolo Maisto said: “In the past years, ESL and FACEIT had a significant positive impact for the growth of the esports industry, bringing a variety of propositions for players, teams, publishers, and developers. By uniting these complementary capabilities, and with the backing of SGG, we are taking a long-term approach to develop a more robust platform to better support the future of the whole competitive gaming ecosystem and generate more value for all its stakeholders in a sustainable way.”

ESL FACEIT Group will be owned by Savvy Gaming Group (SGG). SGG is fully owned by PIF, Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, and was set up in 2021 to help drive the long-term growth and development of the global gaming industry.

Brian Ward, CEO of SGG said: “SGG has committed to invest heavily in the games and esports industry and to materially strengthen the global games community. We are delighted to be working with ESL FACEIT Group – a deal that will enable us to actively support the creation of a world-class esports ecosystem. With our investment, ESL FACEIT Group will be able to accelerate their development of an unrivaled experience for players and fans”.

As the first step in the joint journey, the ESL FACEIT Group product team has outlined their thoughts and plans going forward, read more about that in the community blog post.

Media Enquiries contact details 

Per Sjölin, ESL Gaming

+46 730 25 31 99 | [email protected]  

Kirsty Endfield, Swipe Right PR on behalf of FACEIT

+44 773 228 9047 | [email protected]

Notes to editors

Download the ESL FACEIT Group media asset kit here.

About ESL FACEIT Group 

ESL FACEIT Group (EFG) is the world’s leading competitive gaming platform, combining ESL, the world’s leading independent esports company, and FACEIT, the leading digital destination for competitive gamers, offering the unique capability to deliver end-to-end solutions for players, publishers, developers, and partners. Through the combination, EFG is taking a long-term approach to increase the sustainability and global footprint of competitive gaming in a world where it represents the fastest-growing entertainment vertical. 


About Savvy Gaming Group (SGG)

Savvy Gaming Group (SGG) is a games and esports company founded to drive the long-term growth and development of esports and the wider games industry worldwide. SGG was set up and is 100% owned by PIF. As a global champion of this buoyant sector, SGG aims to become a global leader in games and esports through deploying significant capital over long-term horizons.

Its investments will create opportunities for participation and progression in the sector, across gender, geography, means and ability. SGG’s investments are intended to drive growth of the sector globally, making it a more supportive, exciting and rewarding place for fans, players, developers, and technology innovators, and facilitating broader, more equitable access to this fast-growing, dynamic sector. SGG’s CEO is Brian Ward, former head of worldwide studios at Activision Blizzard.