Esports Tournaments and leagues have grown enormously in stature within the last decade.
Video game lovers can now be found planning an outbound trip to one of the many stadiums much like in any other sport, and it’s no surprise with some of the most spectacular performances put on in “world-class” cities each year.
Whether the main event is Fortnite, Overwatch, League of Legends or Dota 2. Prepare yourself to be plunged into a dramatic atmosphere, filled with gasps and surprises.
The only thing that is for certain – is that its an exciting time to be an esports fan!
What are the worlds biggest Esports Tournaments and Leagues?
Date: August 20th – August 25th
Prize Pool: $34,330,068
The International is the annual ‘world championship’ tournament for the video game Dota 2. The competition was first held at Gamescon, and has since grown to become the single-largest-prize-pool tournament of any esport event!
The tournament consists of 18 teams: 12 of which qualify through the ‘Dota Pro Circuit’ – a 5v5 tournament format system whereby the winners receive an invitation to the official event.
The other 6 teams are required to qualify through the ‘Regional Qualifiers’: including a team each from China, Southeast Asia, North America, South America, CIS, and Europe.
If you’ve never witnessed one on these tournaments before, then you’ve probably never laid eyes upon an esports stadium quite as decorated as ‘the international’ competition. Expect to see a packed out stadium filled with giant overhanging screens, smoke, lasers and pulsing anticipation!
The last event hosted in Shanghai was watched by over 15m viewers on multiple platforms!
If you’re wondering where you can tune in to catch the next one – the event is regularly live-streamed on Twitch, or can be found on the official Dota II YouTube channel. The YouTube channel also acts as a hub for all the live-action, including clips, interviews and content that you may have previously missed!
The Fortnite World Cup
Date: July 26th – July 28th
Hosted: Epic games
Prize Pool: $30,000,000
The Fortnite World Cup is the annual gaming tournament based on the one and only ‘Fortnite’. It is currently held each year at the iconic Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York. The competition is regarded as one of the greatest esports events of the modern time, having the largest prize-pool for a ‘solo’ competitor at $3 million!
The World Cup is divided up into a series of contrasting tournament modes, for participants who have chosen to master different aspects of the game. These consist of the Solo’s, Duo’s, ‘Creative’ and ‘Pro-am’ events.
Each of the events have their own different rules, based on the game modes that are included in the game. The main event for both the “Solo’s” and “Duo’s” are played using a standard ‘Fortnite’ elimination match. Whereas the Pro-am side of the event relies on ‘Fortnite Battle Royale’ rules.
What makes the ‘Fortnite World Cup’ extra-special is the amount of organization that has gone into creating the event..
The Pro-am charity competition is a favourite among spectators, which sees 50 ‘Twitch’ celebrities and 50 pro gamers battle for a $3,000,000 prize pool donation. There’s even a fan festival including a mini theme park for anyone lucky enough to watch the games live!
Intel Extreme Masters
Date: Feb 28th – 3rd March
Prize Pool: $1,000,000
The Intel Extreme Masters is the longest running pro gaming tour in the world. The competition is held internationally at different venues each year, which saw last year’s final taking place in Katowice, Poland.
The tournament hosts an array of popular esports titles including events in: Dota II, Starcraft II, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Fortnite.
Spectators lucky enough to join will get to witness legendary matches on a stage surrounded by 11,500 other fans. Expect serious competition and top-level pros; who have been training for their chance to shine for months on end!
The competition is primarily focused around team-play, with separate prize pools and brackets for each of the games. The last event featured a $250,000 prize-pool distributed between the top 4 finalist teams, with $125,000 shared between those landing first place.
The last event was hosted in Poland.
Date: May 11th – 24th / November 2nd – 15th
Prize Pool: $1,000,000
CS:GO Majors stands for the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Major Championships. The tournament is currently hosted by valve and is centred around the legendary ‘Counter-strike’ series.
The Majors was founded in 2013, and has been sponsored by many organizations leading up to this point in time – most noticeably including: MLG, Dreamhack, and Intel. The competition is now considered an international event, which has seen the majority of finals across Europe and America.
The format has been changed numerous times over the years to keep up with the growth of the audience. Due to the success of first event, the majors are now held on two separate months of the year.
If you’re wondering about the next two years, they will be held in May/ Nov (2020-2021), as a result of Valve’s newly-adopted schedule.
Those watching the Major Championships will get to witness a 3 week long marathon, to crown the best players alive at counter-strike. Expect to see an action-packed display of firepower from 24 of the best teams in the world, to determine which country is the ultimately the greatest at the game.
If you’re wondering where the live matches are broadcasted; the tournaments are all free to watch through live-streaming sites like: MLG.tv, Twitch.tv and YouTube!
Evolution Championship Series
Date: August 2nd – 4th
Hosted: SRKX Productions, LLC
Prize Pool: $200,000+
The Evolution Championship Series, (AKA Evo), represents the largest and longest-running fighting game tournaments in the world. The annual esports event features a large selection of well-known titles including: Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition, Tekken 7, Soulcalibur VI, Super Smash Bros: Ultimate, and Mortal Kombat 11.
The chosen games are regularly mixed up with new and returning titles. In 2019 the competition lined up with 9 different tournament games including the debut of ‘Samurai Shodown’, and ‘Under Night In-Birth’.
‘EVO’ was founded in 1996 and is now one of the longest running tournaments in the history of esports. The series in native to the United States, which sees contestants travel from all over the world to participate in the event.
What’s special about EVO is that the tournaments are open to anyone who wishes to participate in the esports events. The casual format aims to create a relaxed ‘free-play’ environment, to bring together the best from around the world, and offer unique opportunities like none other!
Overwatch World Cup
Date: November 1st – 2nd
Hosted: Blizzard Entertainment
Prize Pool: $205,000
The Overwatch World Cup is the annual international esports tournament organized by Blizzard. The competition sees the world’s best Overwatch players put their franchise teams to the side as they join forces to represent their countries.
The competition is similar to other World Cup formats, which starts with a preliminary stage. The top five countries from the preliminary stages will then move on to the group stages, along with five of the highest-ranked nations; (who are automatically qualified) from the previous tournament.
Each of the ten teams from group A and B will then get to play the remaining four teams from their group. The winners from each group will then move on to the semi-finals, while the second and third-placed countries will move on to the quarterfinals; to compete in a bracket-style single elimination.
The United States successfully came up with the goods after 3 years of heartbreak to overcome China in the most recent final – becoming the first team other than South Korea to win the gold medal in the four-year history of the event!
League of Legends World Championship
Date: October 1st – November 3rd
Hosted: Riot Games
Prize Pool: $2.200,000 + Sales
The League of Legends World Championship is the ultimate event for LOL franchise teams to win. The competition is the most watched esport event in the world, earning a record-breaking 78.8 million unique viewers at last year’s finals. (via escharts statistics).
The tournament is currently made up of 24 teams. Each having successfully managed to qualify from their own thirteen regional leagues, e.g. LCS, LES, LPL etc.
The format begins with a ‘Play-in stage’ – consisting of 12 teams, (in four groups of three). The top two teams will then advance to the next round. Next is the group stage, consisting of 16 teams (in four groups of four), which also sees the top two teams advance on to the knockout stages.
The eight remaining teams who have passed the group stages are finally drawn into a single elimination bracket – to compete in best of 5 matches for a chance of winning the world championship!
Spectators of the event will get to witness nothing but ‘action-packed’ team playing skills, and possibly one of the best opening ceremonies you will ever get to see! The competition concludes with a staggering $2.5m prize, and an extremely bulky trophy fit for a wild celebration!
To find out about the biggest esports leagues.