eSports, or electronic sports, is a form of competitive gaming that has risen in popularity over the last decade. It has become a lucrative industry and, as a result, some of the most prestigious eSports tournaments have become incredibly profitable for the players who participate. The phenomenon has grown so much so in recent years that some prizepots have increased tenfold.
Back in 2010, EA Sports’ FIFA franchise held the FIFA Interactive World Cup. The tournament was to coincide with the real-life World Cup that was taking place later that year in South Africa. The tournament saw a mammoth 775,000 gamers enter the competition in the hopes of being crowned the planet’s greatest FIFA player.
The tournament was won by Serbia’s Nenad Stojkovic, who defeated Germany’s Ayhan Altundag 2-1 in the final. With his victory, the Serbian picked up a prize of $25,000 for his troubles, as well as the FIFA bragging rights. But 12 years on from his success, the prize fund has gone through the rough.
Last year, German Umut Gültekin won the now-rebranded eWorld Cup. He defeated Argentina’s Nicolas Villalba on penalties after the two-legged tie finished goalless.
The tussle wasn’t one for the purists, but Umut won’t have cared one bit – especially when he picked up a cheque for $250,000 for the victory, some ten times that what Nenad received 12 years prior. And it isn’t just the gamers that can pick up prizes. Online bookmakers like Thunderpick now allow eSports betting with bitcoin, allowing fans to put their money where their mouths are.
FIFA, despite being a pioneer in the world of eSports and despite providing a huge prize fund, surprisingly doesn’t feature in the world’s highest-paying eSports tournaments. Here are the most lucrative esports competitions in the world.
League of Legends
The League of Legends World Championship is the biggest esports event in the world, with a prize pool of over $5.5 million. The tournament features some of the best teams in the world – such as SK Telecom T1, Cloud9, and Fnatic – and is held annually in different cities around the world. The 2018 championship was held in South Korea and was won by Invictus Gaming from China, who took home a whopping $2.4 million in prize money.
This year’s tournament will return to South Korea, and DRX enter the competition as the reigning champions. They defeated T1 by a score of three to two in Mexico City last year to lift the trophy, and they will be aiming to become the first time since SK Telecom T1 seven years ago to successfully retain the crown later this year.
The Dota 2 International is the second largest esports tournament in the world and has a prize pool of over $25 million. The tournament has been held since 2011 and is hosted by Valve, the developers of the game. The 2018 championship was held in Vancouver, Canada and was won by OG, the first team to ever win the tournament twice. They pocketed a cool $11.2 million in prize money.
Tundra Esports are the current reigning champions. They lifted the trophy in Singapore last October, and they hope to successfully retain the crown in 2023.
The Rocket League Championship Series (RLCS) is the premier esports tournament for the popular soccer-like game. The tournament is held annually and has a prize pool of over $2 million. The 2018 championship was held in Las Vegas and was won by the team of Cloud9, who took home $1 million in prize money.
Fort Worth are the reigning champions. They swept aside all before them last season and picked up a prize of over $2 million, over twice the amount that Cloud9 received four years prior.
The Overwatch World Cup is one of the most exciting and popular esports tournaments in the world. The tournament is held annually and features some of the best teams in the world, such as South Korea and the USA. In 2018, South Korea emerged victorious and took home a prize pool of over $150,000.
Call of Duty
Lastly, the Call of Duty World League Championship is one of the most prestigious esports events in the world. The tournament is held annually and has a prize pool of over $4 million. This year’s championship was held in Florida and was won by 100 Thieves from North America, who pocketed a whopping $1.5 million in prize money.
These are just some of the most lucrative esports tournaments in the world. With such large prize pools, these tournaments draw some of the best players from across the globe. Whether you’re a competitive esports veteran or a casual gaming enthusiast, these tournaments are sure to provide plenty of excitement and entertainment.