Electronic sports, or “esports,” is a term for competitions involving video games. Esports are frequently planned, multiplayer video game contests between professional players who either compete individually or in teams.
Esports tournaments are the biggest events in the gaming community that are either organized by the official owners of the games or by sponsors who take permissions from the game developers and license holders.
The tournaments are an integral part of the gaming community and serve the purpose of keeping the player base active. Most of the popular competitive titles that do well are usually expected to have an esports event.
Below are some of the biggest esports tournaments in the world in terms of prize pool and player base –
1) The International DOTA 2 Championship
The International, also known as TI, is the biggest and most renowned competition in the Dota pro circuit. The tournament is organized by Valve Corporation, an American video game development and digital distribution company. The game itself was developed by Valve and released back in 2013 for Windows and Linux.
The first ever TI was held back in the days of Dota 1 in 2011 and gained a lot of attention due to its massive prize pool of $1.6 million. Since then, the prize pool for the tournament has become the highest among all other tournaments, which is credited to the popularity of the game and the success of Valve.
The biggest International was held in 2021 with a prize pool of $40 million, and the tournament itself usually crosses more than 1.5 million in viewership due to such a massive fan base.
2) League of Legends World Championship
League of Legends World Championship, also known as Worlds, is the biggest event for the League of Legends esports circle. The event brings together the top teams from every region to decide the best League of Legends squad globally, and is held annually between October and November.
Riot Games is the developer of the game and organizes the tournament. It is one of the most popular multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games. The first iteration was held back in 2011 with a prize pool of $98,500 and was called Riot Season 1 Championship.
After 2011, all other Worlds series tournaments till date have had a prize pool of at least $2 million and reached $6.4 million for the 2018 Worlds.
While the game has comparatively lower prize pool than Dota 2, it is one of the most watched esports titles in the world, reaching up to 3 million on average and peaking at 5.1 million in 2022.
3) Honor of Kings International Championship
Honor of Kings International Championship is the rebranding of the Arena of Valor International Championship and one of the biggest mobile esports tournaments. The tournament features the mainland Chinese version of Arena of Valor, called Honor of Kings.
The game was developed by TiMi Studio Group and published by Tencent Games. Tencent is the biggest gaming company worldwide and owns some of the well-known game studios like Riot Games, Grinding Gear Games, Supercell and others.
The first ever Honor of Kings International was held in 2017 with a prize pool of $400,000. Since then, the prize pool for the game has increased considerably, with the latest tournament reaching $10 million.
While not as big as other games, the viewership for Honor of Kings International Championship does average around 600,000. In 2021, it reached 879,481 viewers across the board.
4) PUBG Mobile Global Championship
PUBG Mobile Global Championship or PMGC is the most prestigious esports tournament for the PUBG Mobile community. Due to the massive size of the community, it also reached the top of the charts, competing with some of the biggest esports tournaments.
The first PMGC was hosted in 2020 both online and offline due to Covid-19 and featured a prize pool of $2 million. The huge prize pool was thanks to the success of the game and all other small events that were hosted prior to the championship.
Arguably the most famous battle royale game on mobile devices, PUBG Mobile, was developed by Krafton and published by its parent company Tencent. The game’s popularity and success can be attributed to it being accessible on mobile phones.
The viewership for PUBG Mobile is also among the top games worldwide. It became the most watched battle royale game in 2022 and usually averages around 1 million viewers every year.
5) PUBG Global Championship
PUBG Global Championship is the official tournament for PUBG PC, organized by PUBG Corporation. It is still one of the most famous and biggest esports events.
During 2018 and 2019, PUBG Corp. hosted the PUBG Global Invitational, which boasted a prize pool between $1-2 million. Starting 2020, the event was changed to PUBG Global Championship with an increased prize pool of $4 million.
Since 2020 all official PUBG tournaments have had a prize pool of at least $3 million. It is also the most played online game till date. The most recent championship in 2022 featured a prize pool of $3.3 million.
While the prize pool for PUBG PC tournament is almost similar to its mobile counterpart, the game lacks in viewership. It witnessed around 800,000 views during 2018, but currently receives 200-300k viewers only.