Esports is one of the fastest-growing forms of entertainment right now. It’s not only the popular games that are drawing in audiences around the world, it is also the professional gaming competitions that are taking place too. There are many tournaments held each year where top professional players play some of the most successful games in a bid to win big prize money.
The biggest and best esports tournaments are held in stadiums and have the same electrifying atmosphere as a rock concert. As well as watching in person, millions of fans also join in the action online as events are live-streamed via platforms such as Twitch, YouTube, and StreamTV.
In 2020, esports filled a programming void as the pandemic affected live sports programming and scheduled television sports broadcasts. As more people are starting to become aware of esports and are starting to watch tournaments, it’s predicted that by 2022, the amount of frequent viewers/enthusiasts for esports will be close to 300m.
Professional players chasing some of the biggest prize pools in competitive video gaming will find it at The International. The International is where the best Dota 2 players come together to test their skills and strategy. In 2019 at the International 9, a total of $34 million in prizes was up for grabs.
One team to look out for here is OG which dominated both TI8 and TI9, propelling their players onto the top earners list of 2019. As well as OG, the tournament now has 18 participating teams each year such as Vici Gaming, Team Liquid, Alliance, and Infamous taking part.
Call of Duty League Championship
The Call of Duty League is one of the newest esports franchises which was only established by Activision in 2020. But is already making huge waves. Right now, the tournament consists of 12 teams from the US, UK, France, and Canada.
Teams such as Atlanta FaZe, London Royal Ravens, and New York Subliners are just some of the teams that joined in 2020. For the 2021 season, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is the selected game for the championship, played online currently due to the ongoing pandemic.
International eSports Federation World Championships
Founded in South Korea in 2008, the International eSports Federation held their first World Championship tournament in 2009 and every year since. It catered mainly to FIFA players but has since expanded to offer a range of games such as Dota 2, Tekken 7, League of Legends, and eFootball Pro Evolution Soccer 2020. There are currently 98 member nations in the IESF, with South Korea winning many of the tournaments since 2009.
Fortnite World Cup
Although the game was only launched in 2017, Fortnite had its own annual esports competition a few years later. The 2019 tournament quickly became a major draw for top competitive gaming talent and audiences all over the world. The games developer Epic reported that tickets for the stadium venue had sold out, an incredible 23,700 seats.
There was also a massive audience watching at home too with 2.3m concurrent viewers watching the finales on Youtube and Twitch. This article on The Verge, Fortnite developer Epic has stated that for 2021 the game’s competitive scene will have a prize pool of $20m. It’s a step up from last year’s prize pool of $17m but still doesn’t come close to the massive 2019 World Cup where $30m was being played for.
League of Legends World Championship
Founded ten years ago by Riot Games, the League of Legends World Championship (aka Worlds) is one of the most popular esports tournaments. Over the years it has gained much success and popularity, making it one of the world’s most watched esports tournaments and watched games in the world.
Teams compete not only for the championship title but also for the Summoner’s Cup and a multi-million dollar prize money. The 2020 championship was held in Shanghai and 22 teams took part, with DWG KIA taking 1st place and Suning being the runner-up after a 3-1 victory.
Joining in with the esports action
The great thing about esports is that even if fans haven’t got the skill to compete at the highest level, there are myriad ways to get involved. Viewing is just one way fans are connecting, and live streaming was instrumental in raising esports’ profile. From live tournaments to match highlights, esports on Twitch has all the favourite professional players in one place.
Another increasingly popular way is by adult fans taking part in esports betting, and bookmakers were quick to spot the opportunity that esports presented. It is now possible to place a wager on a number of events with online sports betting operators offering some of the best odds for esports betting.
The other way is simply by playing the games themselves. Top gamers such as Johan Sundstein (N0tail), Jesse Vainikka (JerAx), or Anthan Pham (ana) started where every other gamer did, and worked their way to the top of the industry. Some of the best FPS to play right now include Valorant, Counter Strike: Global Offensive, and Overwatch, all of which are played in popular esports tournaments and streamed on Twitch.