The Biggest And Most Watched Esports Tournaments

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Esports tournaments have exploded in popularity over the last decade. What started as small competitions between gaming enthusiasts has transformed into events with millions of viewers and multi-million dollar prize pools. Some of the largest tournaments now rival traditional professional sports in viewership and revenue.

This article will explore some of the biggest esports tournaments in terms of prize money and viewership. We’ll look at the most lucrative tournaments across major esports titles like Dota 2, League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and more. We’ll also highlight some record-breaking viewing figures from recent marquee events.

Highest Paying Esports Tournaments

Esports tournaments offer players the chance to compete for a cut of substantial prize pools. Here are some of the contests with the largest payouts:

The International (Dota 2)

●   Prize Pool: $18.9 million (TI11, 2023)

●   Winner: Tundra Esports

●   Runner Up: Team Secret

The International is Dota 2’s flagship annual tournament organized by developer Valve. The prize pool is crowdfunded by players through in-game purchases. TI11 in 2023 smashed the record for the largest prize pool in esports history.

The International has seen astounding growth since its debut in 2011. The inaugural event had a modest $1.6 million prize pool. Fast forward a decade, and TI11 offered nearly $19 million to competing teams.

Tundra Esports took home $8.4 million, or 45% of the total prize pool, for winning TI11.

Honor of Kings World Championship

●   Prize Pool: $10 million (2023)

●   Winner: eStar Pro

●   Runner Up: Gank Gaming

The 2023 Honor of Kings World Championship had the second largest prize pool ever thanks to publisher Tencent. The popular Chinese mobile game, known as Arena of Valor outside China, has quickly become a major esport.

The Biggest And Most Watched Esports Tournaments

Chinese team eStar Pro won $3.5 million of the $10 million prize fund. That’s the third highest payout for a single team in esports tournament history.

PUBG Mobile Global Championship

●   Prize Pool: $4 million (2023)

●   Winner: S2G Esports

●   Runner Up: DRS Gaming

PUBG Mobile from Krafton has also grown into a leading mobile esport. The 2023 Global Championship had a $4 million prize pool, double the inaugural 2020 tournament.

Turkish squad S2G Esports won $500,000 for securing first place among the 16 competing teams.

Most Watched Esports Tournaments

Esports viewership records are being shattered annually as more fans tune in online or pack stadiums. These were some of the most watched events over the past year:

2023 League of Legends World Championship

●   Peak Viewers: 5.1 million

●   Winner: DRX

●   Runner Up: T1

The 2023 League of Legends World Championship broke the tournament’s own viewership record set just a year prior. More than 5 million concurrent viewers tuned in during the finals held at San Francisco’s Chase Center.

Developer Riot Games has turned Worlds into one of the most anticipated events in all of esports through slick productions and heavy promotion. The record figures also demonstrate League’s position as the most watched esport.

Mobile Legends: Bang Bang M4 World Championship

●   Peak Viewers: 4.27 million

●   Winner: Echo Philippines

●   Runner Up: Blacklist International

Mobile Legends: Bang Bang has a thriving scene, especially across Southeast Asia. The M4 World Championship hit an impressive peak of over 4 million viewers during Echo Philippines’ victory over compatriots Blacklist International.

The Biggest And Most Watched Esports Tournaments

The finals held in Jakarta cemented Mobile Legends as one of the top mobile esports titles. Publisher Moonton will aim to build on this momentum heading into 2024.

PGL Antwerp CS:GO Major

●   Peak Viewers: 2.11 million

●   Winner: FaZe Clan

●   Runner Up: Natus Vincere

Counter-Strike remains one of esports’ flagship titles decades after the first iteration launched. The PGL Antwerp CS:GO Major peaked at over 2 million viewers during FaZe Clan’s thrilling finals win over Natus Vincere.

The event demonstrates that tactical FPS games can still draw huge audiences. Valve will look to keep CS:GO near the top of the industry alongside its simulation shooter competitor Valorant.

Notable Upcoming Tournaments in 2024

The 2024 esports calendar is jam-packed with high stakes competitions in the months ahead. Here are some of the most anticipated tournaments this year:

●   The International 2024 (Dota 2): TI heads to Singapore this fall where another record-smashing prize pool awaits.

●   League of Legends World Championship (LoL): Riot will look to break Worlds’ viewership record yet again during the autumn spectacular.

●   PGL Major Stockholm (CS:GO): CS:GO heads back to Sweden as Brazilian legends FURIA look to win their first Major.

●   Mid-Season Invitational (LoL): Riot’s second biggest LoL event offers a preview of Worlds contenders each spring.

●   Genesis Invitational (Valorant): Third-party organizer Genesis’ first Valorant event should draw plenty of eyeballs.

●   Six Invitational 2024 (Rainbow Six): Ubisoft’s tactical shooter remains a staple event early each year.

●   EVO Championship Series

The Biggest And Most Watched Esports Tournaments

(Fighting Games): The evolution of EVO into an esports tournament will continue with marquee fighting game matchups.

The Importance of Tournaments for Fans and Players

Tournaments represent the pinnacle of competition for esports professionals. For fans, these events provide unmatched excitement and epic storylines. Esports athletes earn prize money that can transform lives and set up long careers. Underdogs can shake up hierarchies by taking down established powerhouses.

These moments represent the greatest memories and achievements across esports titles. Tournaments distill exhilarating high-level play, strategic depth, athletic prowess, mental toughness, and passion for gaming into two-week spectacles.

The packed stadiums, raucous crowds, and viewership records also signal esports’ rising mainstream popularity. As more casual viewers join diehard fans to enjoy these contests, the industry will likely continue its extraordinary growth.

With so many elite tournaments slated for 2024, players and fans alike have an action-packed calendar year ahead!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the average duration of an esports match?

Esports match durations vary by game, but generally last between 15 minutes to an hour. MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) matches like League of Legends and Dota 2 run 20-40 minutes. CS:GO maps take around 30 minutes to complete. Battle royale competitions like PUBG Mobile feature much shorter individual games.

What is the most difficult esports game?

Many fans and players contend that Dota 2 and StarCraft II are the most mechanically and strategically challenging esports titles. Both games have staggering strategic complexity layered with difficult to master gameplay. Top performers demonstrate immense skill.

The Biggest And Most Watched Esports Tournaments

What was the first major esports tournament?

The very first esports competition is debated, but video game developer Atari held the landmark Space Invaders Championship in 1980. Over 10,000 players competed across the United States. Bill Heineman emerged victorious.

While the prize pool and viewership seem quaint by today’s standard, the event brought competitive gaming into the public eye for the first time. It set the stage for the growth of modern esports 40 years later.

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