With great disappointment, we must announce the official closure of the Reach platform for the foreseeable future. The league has been offline for a number of weeks as we evaluated where we stood in handling the COVID-19 pandemic, but the results of that evaluation have been that continuing to run the platform is not possible. ESL has confirmed the Academy event will not take place in 2020 and any future plans regarding Reach or the Academy are on hold for the time being.
This is hard news for us to deliver, as everyone on the team here is a big Dota fan. When we were presented with the opportunity to help develop the competitive scene, it was something we just had to jump at. The ESL Academy was intended to be a great place for an aspiring Dota player to cut their teeth in the competitive scene, and network with professionals in a live setting, and we aspired to help build that with Reach.
In late October 2019, we kicked off the beta by welcoming our first batch of players onto the platform. The response was immense and we immediately saw hundreds of high level players, including a number of pros flocking onto the platform to play their matches every night. We refined the system and brought in administrators to help manage the player base and found ourselves with a steady, and loyal group of players who were competing fiercely for the title. We launched in time for the Christmas break when students would be out of school and our players may have the time to kick the season off right.
Throughout the next several months, we saw over 3,000 matches played by over 4,500 players in our two supported regions. We awarded more than $85,000 in prize money and witnessed multiple top Reach players make their way into open qualifiers for big events. We continued making every improvement possible to the platform while looking forward to seeing some of the best players get their chance on the big stage.
Unfortunately, as with many other services, products, and events, we were hit unexpectedly and significantly by the COVID-19 pandemic. The inability to host a live event required that ESL step back to re-evaluate the viability of the Academy draft and finals for Reach season 1. We held off on announcing anything to the community due to difficulty with coordination between the two companies but unfortunately Reach and the Academy draft program will not be continuing in the foreseeable future.
This has been disappointing for us here at Elo as we put a lot of effort into bringing this league to Dota players, and our excitement only grew as Season 1 went on. It’s simply become clear that without a live presence to get amateur players into the spotlight, we lose some of the value we were aiming for. The potential of future seasons for Reach and the ESL Academy are being discussed once things get back to normal. We have spoken about continuing the league in 2021 when Dota players can return to stages across the world, but no concrete plans have been made.
We want to thank all of our players for their participation, our admins for their tireless work in keeping the wheels turning, and our dedicated engineers who were consistently building, refining, and fixing the bots and website that fueled Reach. We wish our players the best in their journey to professional play, and hope that any small part we played with Reach may take you through to the next step.