ESEA have introduced in-game medal rewards for their North American TF2 league. The first wave of medals were added in the October 30, 2018 patch, which added medals for ESEA Season 29 and Season 30's Invite divisions.
ESEA's lack of in-game medals for their league has long stuck out like a sore thumb, as every other major regional league — namely ETF2L and ozfortress — has long had medals, which were distributed to every player that participated in the league and in other tournaments. Now, with approval from Valve, ESEA have joined the other leagues with in-game offerings.
We caught up with tri_, the head admin of ESEA's TF2 division, who briefly discussed the addition of the medals with us.
We were considering adding medals for a while, but in the past Valve had said no to medals for paid leagues. This season we decided to just reach out to them and they approved, so we're going forward with it. I think it'll be a great incentive for new and older players to compete in the league.
Currently, the only medals that have been added in-game are for the Invite division. Participant medals will be distributed to all players on Invite teams, with additional medals being given to the first, second, and third place teams. tri_ told us that it is currently unknown whether they will be distributing medals to players in the Open and Intermediate divisions of the league.
Special thanks to uberchain for creating the graphics used in this article.