Esports is booming and as the prize money continues to grow so too do the legions of fans investing in the games and watching their favorite players and teams vie for the coveted titles. Below we will discuss some of the biggest esports events across the globe and the prize money at stake.
But before we do, let’s understand the magnitude of what’s happening in the world of esports and why it has become so hugely popular. The global pandemic that halted the global economy and caused millions upon millions of people to lose their businesses and livelihoods was actually a boon to the esports industry for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was a dearth of recreational options.
People suddenly had nothing to do and all day to do it which meant the public was starving for entertainment and needed relief. Esports was the perfect recreational outlet as it didn’t require a live gathering of any kind, and no Covid protocols were in fear of being breached. It was all done remotely yet provided social interaction, and more than anything else, it was fun.
In fact, even though many of the major tournaments were moved or canceled altogether in 2020, the esports movement is so big that even the bookies are getting in on the action. You can see all the esports tournament lines with an odds tracker of all the best online sportsbooks. That’s right, bettors wagering on football, basketball, baseball, hockey, and soccer have begun to drift over to esports where League of Legends, Dota 2, and traditional sports sims such as Madden NFL 21 and iRacing events to name but a few, are getting more and more action at the betting windows.
Mark Deppe, Director of the University of California Irvine Esports, waxed prosaic on the short- and long-term future of esports during the height of the pandemic, “COVID-19 has been both a challenge and a boon for esports. More people are playing video games and watching online content than ever before. The UCI teams have been able to compete in collegiate tournaments from home.
With that said, all major live events were canceled, including the Overwatch League matches in March and April and the League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational, which was originally scheduled for May. I think the sizzle of esports that comes with major live events is missing, but the community and broader ecosystem are thriving.”
Before we move on, let’s cite some very telling statistics. Over 470 million people comprise the whole of the esports audience and the market is projected at $1.16 billion which is almost a 50 percent increase from last year. The deluge of advertising has allowed this market to blossom and collaborative efforts between team owners, as well as tournament organizers, with corporate sponsors, is another economic boon to the industry.
Dota 2 – The International 10 (TI10) is happening now and the prize money is astounding. Over $40 million will be distributed and $14 million is earmarked for the winners. Because of Covid, the tournament was canceled last year and was then originally scheduled to be held in Sweden in August of ’21. However, the site and dates were moved due to bureaucratic red tape and it landed in Bucharest, Romania. The prize money distribution is as follows:
5th and 6th $1,400,600
7th and 8th $1,000,500
9th to 12th $800,400
13th to 16th $600,300
17th to 18th $100,000
League of Legends World Championship 2021 – Here we have another major sports event that was moved from its original host country to a new venue. In this case, five cities in China were supposed to house the qualifiers with the finals at Shenzhen.
However, issues arose with visas and other Covid-related complications which necessitated the need for Riot Games global head of esports, John Needham, to announce, “We’ve reached the point where it’s extremely difficult to guarantee that qualifying teams and their best players would be able to attend Worlds this year. After considering all possible options, we concluded that moving Worlds to Europe provided the best opportunity for the most teams and their best players to compete.”
That location wound up being Reykjavik, Iceland, and the competition is underway as of this writing for a combined prize pool of $2.25 million.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Major – Unlike the other two previously mentioned, CS: GO doesn’t have a world championship, per se, but rather several tournaments that are categorized as majors and minors. And of the majors, the PGL Major Stockholm 2021 will have $2 million in prize money which will be handed out after the competition is over. The competition is expected to run from October 26th through November 7th of this year.