The Biggest eSport Events in the World

Watching esports competitions has become a great source of entertainment for gamers around the world, with the global audience size now more than 495.0 million people. China has the largest market in terms of revenue, with this estimated to reach $540 million next year. 

People not only enjoy watching these tournaments, but many also enjoy esports betting and are easily able to place wagers online from their smartphone or computer. Some events attract bigger audiences than others, with these being some and the largest and well-known competitions:

Counter Strike: Global Offensive

CS: GO tournaments dominate the esports market and are some of the most watched events. The game is a first-person shooter that was developed by Hidden Path Entertainment and Valve and released in 2012.

The very first CS: GO Major Championship was held in Sweden in 2013, the competition has always had a very large prize fund and recently $2 million dollars in prize winnings was shared. In this tournament, there are 24 different teams competing and the Major Championship is considered to be the most important and most watched part of the entire competition. 

One of the most recent was the PGL Major 2022 in Antwerp, this was the seventeenth major championship and featured a $1 million dollar prize fund. The map pool included Dust II, Mirage, Inferno, Nuke, Ancient, Overpass and Vertigo.

Formerly known as the offline qualifier, for this event there was the New Challengers stage which took place in May 2022. Sixteen teams participated in this stage and the top eight teams proceeded to the Legends Stage. 

Overall, in first place in the championship was FaZe Clan who took a $500,000 prize and, in second place, Natus Vincere took a $150,000 prize.

In terms of viewership, the Grand Finals between G2 and FaZe was one of the most watched events with a recorded 1.1 million viewers at its peak.

League of Legends

Another game that is huge in the world of esports is League of Legends, which is a multiplayer online battle arena type game that was developed by Riot Games. The first professional tournament took place in 2011 in Sweden and had a $100,000 dollar prize fund. 

The most prestigious League of Legends esports event in the world is the The World Championship and is played by a selection of teams from the 12 regional leagues. Overall, the South Korea team has been the most successful in terms of the number of wins, followed by China, and then Europe and Taiwan.

Something very memorable about the LoL championships is the traditional Opening Ceremony, which features iconic representation of the latest technology, entertainment and sport. In Beijing in 2017, an impressive augmented reality dragon flew over the stadium, which was sold-out. 

Due to travel restrictions at the time, the 2021 World Championships took place in Reykjavík. Each of the matches were played at the Laugardalshöll exhibition venue without spectators.

Following the play-in and group stages, the play-offs took place in October and November, with eight teams competing in a single elimination bracket. The initial prize pool for the tournament was $2.225 million dollars.

In first place was the Chinese organisation EDward Gaming, who were rewarded 22 percent of the prize fund. In second place was the Korean organisation DAMWON Gaming, who received 15 percent of the prize, and in third place was Gen.G Esports and T1, who received eight percent.

This championship has a record breaking number of viewers, there was a huge peak viewership of 4.01 million people. This excludes Chinese viewership because they are too difficult to confirm.

Dota 2 

The popular game Dota 2 is a multiplayer online battle arena type game that was released by Valve in 2013. The biggest Dota 2 competition is known as The International and has experienced significant growth over the last decade that it has been running. 

The 2021 international event was the tenth iteration and had a huge prize fund of more than $40 million dollars. This latest tournament took place in Arena Națională in Bucharest, Romania. 

The 18 teams that make it through to the group stage split into two groups each containing nine teams, where they must compete in a round-robin format. The two lowest performing teams are eliminated, and 16 teams compete in the double-elimination bracket.

In 2021, the Russian organisation Team Spirit came first and took home over $18 million dollars. In second place was the partnership team PSG.LGD, who took over $5 million, and in third was the European’s Team Secret who took more than $3.6 million. 

In this competition, around 2.7 million people tuned in to see the grand final between PSG. LGD and Team Spirit, making this the most watched event in the competition’s history.

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