The most popular esport tournaments

Electronic sports, commonly esports, have been around since the 1970s. However, these games only took off in the 1990s, before exploding in the 2000s. Esports gaming has evolved from a casual pastime played among friends to a professional sport. In truth, esports tournaments have been around as long as video games.

The beauty of playing esport games has always been the competition, with the earliest tournaments being small local contests that employed a head-to-head play format. What is an esports tournament? It does see players compete in a specific game for a set duration. Any given tournament sees individual players or teams compete following a well-defined format.

Most popular esports leagues and tournamentsOther big esports eventsBest Players and TeamsHow and where to bet on an esports tournament

The list of esport leagues or tournaments is long, with The International being one of the most prestigious ones. The International is a global esports tournament for Dota 2 developed and hosted by Valve. Since the maiden tournament in 2011, The International has been held every year, save for the 2020 edition, which was canceled due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

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In 2021, PGL Major Stockholm aka PGL held its sixteenth Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) Championship in Stockholm, Sweden. From October 26th to November 7th of 2021, twenty-four teams qualified to compete at Avicii Arena via regional rankings. With a $2,000,000 prize pool, the event is the first Major and one of the first esport championships since the start of the pandemic.

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Esport leagues of tournaments have become so popular nowadays. That’s why the list of esports tournaments today is long. But right at the top is these eSport championships is the League of Legends World Championship. Hosted by Riot Games, the League of Legends World Championship, simply known as the Worlds, is a yearly professional tournament that brings together the best League of Legends (LoL) teams to compete for the title at the end of each season.

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As one of the first professional esport leagues, Overwatch League (also known as OWL) represents teams from around the globe. Blizzard Entertainment launched the league in 2018 with 12 teams. After expanding to 20 teams a year later, the league began a steady ascent, fueled by the popularity of Overwatch, an esports game with 50 million players in 2018.

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DreamHack is an entertainment firm based in Sweden. The firm specializes in competitive gaming events and is owned by Modern Times Group (MTG), a digital entertainment company headquartered in Stockholm. According to the Guinness Book of Records and Twin Galaxies, it is the largest LAN party and computing festival in the world. It (this tournament) boasts the fastest Internet connection in the world and also has the most generated traffic.

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There are few esport online tournaments bigger than the PUBG Global Championship. It welcomes the top ranking players of the free-to-play Battle Royale game. This title has achieved huge success on mobile. However, the tournament is played on PC only. This is mainly because the PUBG Mobile Club Open (PMCO) already offers a platform for mobile players. The PUBG Corporation organizes the PGC annually.

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The Call of Duty League (CDL) is a popular esports online championship for the Call of Duty video game series, which is published by Activision Blizzard. The league was officially confirmed in 2019, and the first season began a year later. The esport league has a set of permanent, city-based teams that are owned by different groups. It is set up like other major esports tournaments in North America.

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Ubisoft’s Six Invitational is making a name for itself in global esports tournaments. The annual Rainbow Six Siege professional esports online tournaments draws some of the best gaming talent in the world. Based in Montreal, where Ubisoft works on developing the game, the tournament hosts teams which compete in a World Cup-like championship.

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Apex Legends Global Series

Ethan Lim
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Most popular esports leagues and tournaments

There are different types of gaming tournaments. The rules and formats vary significantly, but the respective DNAs remain largely identical across the board. Every kind of tournament is meant to attract a specific crowd and provide a unique experience to the players, fans, and even bettors.

Whether it is a local armature esports league or a professional tournament, esports events can last for a few hours or several days, depending on the nature of the game. Tournaments usually employ a straightforward system that sees players or teams advance following each victory until the victor is determined.

What are the most popular esport tournaments? Those betting on gaming tournaments people are often surprised by how video game competitions have become in recent years, especially those that have not been paying attention for a long time.

The success realized in esports gaming has largely been inspired by major championships and the massive winnings associated with them. That said, here are some of the most popular esports events in terms of viewership and the prize pool.

The International – Dota 2

The international is undoubtedly one of the biggest e-gaming tournaments in terms of both the prize pool and viewership. The International has every attribute as one of the greatest esports championships.

Hosted by Valve, the owners and makers of the Dota 2 game, this 18-team tournament has sustained its popularity at the highest level from 2013. The International is an only-invite tournament, where players are required to battle it out in regional tournaments or the Dota Pro Circuit to stand a chance of getting a call-up.

According to statistica.com, this championship paid an insane $34 million in prize money in the 2018/2019 season, with the winning team taking home over $18 million. Unfortunately, the 2020 season did not materialize following the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2021 prize pool stands at $40 million-plus.

CS: GO Major Championship

The Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO) Championship is undoubtedly the most popular and largest CS: GO tournament. This event features 24 teams battling for the top prize. Team Astralis are the current events of this gaming event, having won the last three championships. The tournament had a $1 million prize pool in the previous five years. However, 2021's championship saw the prize pool double to $2,000,000.

League of Legends World Championship

The League of Legends (LoL) World Championship was launched in 2011, and is undoubtedly one of the major esports events under the sun. Like the International, it is operated by the Riot Games who won the game. This tournament is undoubtedly the largest and most popular League of Legends tournament globally.

This tournament is particularly known for its intense and dramatic matches, with the competition getting emotional for players and fans alike. LoL World Championship features some of the best LoL players, picked from regional competitions. The recently concluded 2021 championships held in Iceland saw the winner take home 2,225,000. This year's prize pool stands at the same value as last year's event, but the distribution is yet to be announced.

The Overwatch World Cup (OWWC)

The OWWC is an annual esports tournament organized by Blizzard Entertainment, Overwatch's developer. This event kicks off in style, with Blizzard picking the strongest 24 teams worldwide based on their average skill rating. All the countries are then split into groups where the contest begins.

This game enjoys massive appeal. Here is the kicker, fans are accorded a rare chance of choosing the coaches of their respective team. The fan involvement in picking the lineup is undoubtedly a great way to get the fan base into the event.

In the past, this league has attracted more than 300,000 viewers. When it comes to the prize pool, the USA team won the 2019 event, taking home $90,000. 2022 World Cup is set for November 2022, but the prize pool is yet officially announced.

Other big esports events

FIFAe World Cup

FIFA is a hugely popular video game and among the best-selling games of all time. The recently concluded FIFA 21 Challenge is EA's most-watched event after amassing a total watch time of one million hours. All of EA Sport's series the climax to the main event, the FIFAe World Championship, which features 32 of the best players from all over the world battling for the $500,000 prize pool.

Call of Duty (CoD) League

The CoD league is undoubtedly the pinnacle of Call of Dugamingrts gamming. Although there have been several CoD tournaments, the CoD league is relatively new, founded in 2020. This video game event takes place over several months, featuring sWorld's the World's best esports players. The 2021 CoD series offered a massive prize pool of $5 million, with the playoff champion pocketing $1.2 million.

PUBG Global Championship

The PUBG Global Championship is the biggest event in the PUBG eSports calendar. This international tournament invites the World's best PUBG teams. The 2021 series was held in South Korea and was won by Chinese roster NewHappy, winning $1.3 million. Notably, the total prize money for the competition was slightly over $2 million.

Electronics Sports League

The Electronic Sports League (ESL) is a conglomerate of different esports teams owned and operated under the same name. The tournament is played at four main divisions, including:

  • ESL Play
  • ESL National Championship: Qualification tournament limited by geographical locations
  • ESL Pro Tour: A circuit event featuring three titles (CS: GO, Warcraft III, and StraCraft II)
  • ESL One

Of all of ESL's tournaments, the ESL One Series has the largest prize money, with over $12.5 million shared across 60+ esports championships.

Best Players and Teams

Who are the best esports teams and players in the World? What are the best teams? Answering any of these questions might have been a far-fetched dream a decade ago. Over the last few years, some players and teams have managed to stand among the crowd.

Players

Over the years, many players have garnered millions by winning some of the biggest esports tournaments and events. Interestingly, some have remained consistent over the years. Here are some of the best video gamers around the World.

  • Faker: Real name, Lee, Sang Hyeok, is by far the most decorated eSports player being one of two people to have won the LoL World Championships. He has also won some professional titles including, the All-Star Paris 2014, the Mid-Season Invitations in 2016 & 2017, and the IEM World Championship in 2015.
  • GeT_RiGhT – Real name, Christopher Alesund, is considered the greatest CS: GO player to grace the game, having racked up numerous top placements in international gaming tournaments.

Other standout players include: Flash (Lee, Young Ho) and f0rest (Patrik Lindberg)

Teams

Some teams have been outstanding over the years when it comes to team sports. Here are some of the most decorated eSports teams in the World.

  • Virtus.pro
  • Fnatic
  • Evil Geniuses
  • OG
  • Team Liquid
  • Astralis

How and where to bet on an esports tournament

How can I bet on esports?

This question pops up often. As much as there are some differences between esports and traditional sports, there aren't many disparities in betting. Like in sports betting, knowledge of the tournament is key in making informed decisions.

Any bettor should start by understanding the game before they start exploring the genre or the tournament. Players have to start by familiarizing themselves with the players, teams, and the nature of the game. Betting should not be hard. The premise of eSports betting is simple: pick a team or player that stands the best chances of winning the match or event and decide which odds present the best value.

Where to bet on esports?

With many bookmakers covering video game events today, eSports fans are constantly looking for the best esports online betting sites. Each bookie is bound to be unique in some sense.

Before falling for enticing incentives and free money offers, players should also dig deeper by looking at various factors such as licensing status, reputation, payment methods, coverage of e-gaming tournaments, and range of betting markets. Fundamentally, the best online eSport betting sites should be those that comprehensively address punters' needs.

About the author
Ethan Lim
Ethan Lim
About

Ethan Lim, a native of the Lion City, is Singapore’s rising star in the domain of online casino guide localization. He masterfully blends his intimate knowledge of local culture with international gaming standards to produce content that resonates deeply with Singaporeans.

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