Esports is evolving faster than ever before thanks to its competitive nature. As the Esports industry surges into a new decade, there will be much more action coming our way. At its core, the scene thrives around competitive video gaming and competitive gaming peaks at offline, or LAN, tournaments. Esports encompasses many events but only the biggest Esports tournaments truly highlight the industry’s reach. Let’s check out a few of the biggest Esports events of 2020:
Starting the list off with the Hearthstone World Championship, the finale for the Hearthstone Championship Tour. Each year, the best 16 Hearthstone players in the world gather to battle it out for the title of Hearthstone World Champion. From the four regions of the Americas, Europe, Asia, and China, there are four players per region. In 2020, Activision-Blizzard will be doubling the number of Masters Tour stops from three to six events, which also means that the prize pools will be increased. On top of that, each Masters Tour has a guaranteed $250,000 in base prizing per events, excluding crowdfunded prizing.
EVO 2020 –
EVO, short for the Evolution Championship Series, is the largest gathering of fighting game tournaments in the world. Although fighting games aren’t always at the forefront of Esports news, they do hold a special place in competitive gaming. The fighting game community (FGC) existed for dozens of years and kept a competitive spirit. For EVO 2020, there are nine supported titles including Tekken 7, Street Fighter 5, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and many more.
Activision-Blizzard’s Overwatch is one of the newer Esports titles in the industry and continues to be a top title in the scene. The Overwatch League, a franchise system where 20 teams compete in seasons throughout the year, has been losing some of its glory. This tournament casts aside teams and franchises, moving in for regional groups instead. Players and teams are established based on their home countries and regions. Overwatch World Cup provides a different viewing experience, watching players – who normally wouldn’t be on the same side – work together to fight for their country.
ESL One: Rio will be Electronic Sports League’s first Counter-Strike: Global Offensive major event of 2020. From Nov 19 to Nov 22, a total of 24 teams will compete in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for a prize pool of $1 million. Although smaller competitions existed in Brazil, a CS:GO Major never hit the country until now. ESL One: Rio will be sponsored by Valve as a Major tournament and is much more prestigious than most tournament teams participate in.
The past few months saw lots of major news in Esports and one of the most exciting was the launch of a new Esports franchise, the Call of Duty League. Activision-Blizzard reformatted CoD Esports similar to that of the Overwatch League and ESPN’s Jacob Wolf reported that each of the 12 franchise teams paid over $25 million for a spot in the league. With such large figures, it seems this league has plans to stick around for a while.
League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational –
League of Legends takes the boat when it comes to hype and the Mid-Season Invitational properly transitions through the middle of the year. Esports competitions undeniably pick up during summer as competitive seasons end and rivalries thrive. For the top esport, MSI is a huge event to showcase the season’s victors.
FLASHPOINT Season 1 Championship –
One of the latest and largest recent Esports announcements was that the first CS:GO league owned by teams was launched. A CS:GO league owned by teams is just part of the news. FLASHPOINT, organized by B Site and FACEIT, already holds a $2 million prize pool in 2020 and aims to compete with ESL and DreamHack.
Dota 2, a MOBA developed by Valve, holds the title for the largest prize pool for an esports event. The International (TI) is Dota 2’s annual world championship highlighting the best teams. Throughout the year, teams compete for Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) points, which lead to the qualification for TI. In 2019, The International 9 boasted a prize pool of $34 million, a new record for Dota 2 prize pools.
In 2019, Epic Games’ Fortnite held their first successful Fortnite World Cup, a wildly successful competition. Fortnite experienced a surge of popularity in the past couple of years with the advent of the battle royale genre. The 2019 Fortnite World Cup made national news even after the competition as then-16-year-old Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf won the Solo event and a $3 million prize.
League of Legends World Championship –
As the pinnacle of Esports, League of Legends constantly beats other Esports titles when it comes to hype. Produced by Riot Games, League of Legends competition consists of splits throughout the annual season: the Spring Split and Summer Split. The World Championship brought in more than 100 million viewers and a peak of 44 million concurrent viewers during the finals between FunPlus Phoenix and G2 Esports. Although League of Legends tournaments don’t offer as much prizing as other titles’ tournaments (Worlds 2019 had a prize pool of just over $2 million), the Esport continues to be a top performer.