The arrangement will add a new tournament to the mix and turn an Intel Extreme Masters event in China into its own stand-alone affair.
ESL's Mark Cohen touted the deal to CNBC as proof that the esports field is growing up. Earlier deals tended to last for a year or two at most, Cohen said, but that's different now that there are "other big brands" and conventinonal entertainment companies involved. ESL can follow a strategy closer to traditional sports where it can strike long, high-profile deals that add legitimacy and give it room to grow.
Of course, this is also a calculated bet on Intel's part. It's counting on esports blossoming enough that a deep investment now will pay off with more people buying Intel-based gaming PCs. And it has a better reason than usual to kick its support into overdrive: it's facing stiffer competition than ever from AMD's Ryzen processors. If it doesn't splurge on things like the ESL deal, it risks losing mindshare to gamers.