eSport tournaments have become global events in recent years, dominating TV and internet platforms:
What are eSport tournaments?
eSports are multi-player, organized video game competitions that take place between professional players. Players can either play individually or as part of a team.
eSports tournaments have seen so much growth that competing in a major competition today is worth serious money:
9. Fortnite – $3 million (single payout)
Developed by Epic Games, this popular battle royale title did not have the Fortnite World Cup in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, the 2019 championship was hugely popular, paying out $3 million in prize money to 16-year-old winner Kyle ‘Bugha’ Giersdorf.
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8. Hearthstone World Championship – $3.7 million
The Hearthstone World Championship is the finale in the Hearthstone Grandmasters system. Every year, this championship sees the best eight players from around the world take part in the competition. Two players each are chosen from the Americas, Asia-Pacific, Europe, and China regions.
The Hearthstone World Championship offers an enormous amount of cash prizes to the players competing in the event, and the winner is given the prestigious title of being the Hearthstone World Champion.
In 2020, the Hearthstone World Championship was won by the Glory team from Japan. It was the seventh year the championship was held and took place in the fall season.
The Hearthstone World Championship is worth well over $3.7 million.
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7. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) – $4 million
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, more popularly known only as PUBG, is an online multiplayer battle royale game that has been developed and published by PUBG Corporation.
The game has had its fair share of controversies in recent years, with countries like India banning the game in 2020.
Even though the game was on its way to becoming a global leader in the eSports arena, with multiple restructurings of the game’s infrastructure and the departure of many major team members leaving, this championship is no longer as highly rated.
The game was only able to pay out around a third in 2020 as compared to what it did in 2019. The total earnings credited to the PUBG championship is just around $4 million in recent years.
6. Overwatch World Cup – $4.36 million
Sponsored by Activision-Blizzard, Overwatch is one of the newer entries to the eSports industry. Nevertheless, it has already become a top-9 title.
The Overwatch League functions as a franchise system with 20 teams competing in various seasons throughout the year.
However, the league is plagued with controversies ever since Christopher ‘MonteCristo’ Mykles and Chris Puckett, two of the leading broadcasting talents of Overwatch, leftover disagreements with the leadership.
Moving away from teams and franchises recently, the tournament now focuses on regional groups. Teams and players are formed based on home countries and regions. The Overwatch World Cup provides a unique viewing experience as you get to watch players work together for their country.
In 2019, the United States took the title, though South Korea was the hot favorite to win. In 2020, the U.S. team was able to successfully retain its winning title, with South Korea coming in second. It has a payout of $4.36 million.
5. Rocket League – $4.5 million
One of a few soccer games in esports, Rocket League historically gave out around $2.63 million in prize money through its Championship Series.
The game is developed by Psyonix Studios, and the title has been witnessing serious growth in the last couple of years:
Therefore, in its most recent Rocket League Championship Series, Psyonix has already committed $4.5 million in prizes.
The championship will conclude in 2021.
4. Call of Duty – $6.27 million
With only a slight decrease in the prize payout, the Call of Duty league continued to be a leading eSports championship throughout 2020.
The Call of Duty League functions in a tournament-style structure. The tournament had a payout of $6.27 million in 2020.
3. League of Legends – $8 million
Perhaps the most popular eSports championship is League of Legends, with a payout of over $8 million:
The tournament did not take much of a hit during the pandemic, and neither did it witness any dramatic decrease in its prize money.
The League of Legends is one of the rare eSports events where more than the prize money, it is the prestige of winning the competition that holds a lot of importance.
2. DOTA 2 – $8.87 million
With a delay in holding DOTA 2’s eSport tournament in 2020, there was a huge downfall in payouts compared to 2019:
While in 2019, the payout was a massive $40 million, the amount in 2020 was just $8.87 million.
The year 2020 also showed just how reliant DOTA’s eSports relevancy is based upon having a payoff from The International prize pool:
In fact, without third party organizers and community pressure, the DOTA 2 payout would have perhaps fallen even further.
1. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive – $14.75 million
The long-running Counter-Strike: Global Offensive game also witnessed a downfall in the prize money, falling to $14.75 million in 2020.
Usually referred to only as CS:GO, this open, third-party fueled eSport tournament ecosystem was one of the best suited to thrive in a COVID-19 hit world:
To accommodate the conditions of the pandemic, the CS: GO tournament organizers rapidly shifted their events to focus on a regional competition system instead of pushing out content throughout the year.
CS:GO is a multiplayer first-person shooter video game that was developed by Valve and Hidden Path Entertainment. This was the fourth game in the Counter-Strike series and was released in August 2012 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, macOS, and Windows. The Linux version of the game came out in 2014. The game pits two teams – The Terrorists and the Counter-Terrorists against each other. Both teams need to eliminate the other while also completely various objectives.