After rising in popularity over the decades, and especially during the past few years of the pandemic, esports has been an entertaining pastime for transitioning traditional sports fans and regular gaming enthusiasts. Nowadays, esports tournaments are everywhere; and with so many AAA titles covered in their competitive limelight, it's never hard to find a match that'll keep someone's attention.
What are Esports Competitions?
Esports competitions are events wherein players compete for monetary rewards, trophies, and championship titles. Think of esports similarly to sports; for soccer, there's the La Liga, tennis has the Melbourne Open, while basketball's got the NBA. There's a long list of games for competitive gaming that all have their esports scene. If it can be played competitively, there's most likely an entire esports field behind it.
Multiplayer battle arena games like Dota 2, Heroes of The Storm, or first-person shooter titles like CS:GO, and Rainbow Six Siege all comprise their own competitive field. Remember, esports are games that can be played competitively, while esports tournaments are competitive events. Some of the more prominent esports events are multiplayer-based tournaments like the VALORANT Champions Tour (VCT) or League of Legends European Championship (LEC).
Where to Find and Watch Esports Competitions?
Esports Competitive Structures
Esports competitions can be broken into three structural categories: amateur and collegiate events, third-party hosted tournaments, and main premier competitions organized by the game's developers.
For amateur and collegiate events, newly-made teams feature themselves participating in casual esports. Most of these events are local, or online hosted community-based tournaments that are never taken too seriously. They provide quick entertainment, but usually don't amass much viewership or interest.
However, various rising talents are founded through amateur leagues. Almost every big-time player has come from one or a few of these tournaments, so it's always amusing to watch meteoric talent. It's common to see esports organizations recruit new players for academy rosters or substitute players to fill primary teams from grassroot events. So despite amateur and collegiate events being a part of a smaller percentage of the competitive scene, there might be some exciting moments that fans wouldn't see elsewhere coming from amateur leagues.
Third-party organized competitions, on the other hand, are worldwide recognized and feature renowned teams from popular esports organizations participating. Some examples of third-party organizations hosting multiple majorly-defining tournaments are ESL, DreamHack, BLAST, and PGL. For ,ESL and ,DreamHack, both companies have weekly-ranging games from Starcraft to Mortal Kombat, Tekken, Fortnite, Apex Legends, and many more titles. They announce significant events every month for different esports and develop grassroot fields daily through smaller competitions. ,BLAST is currently holding the BLAST Premier Spring CS:GO Championships, while ,PGL is overseeing the Dota 2 Antwerp Major in May.
These are only a few of the various identities that cultivate a majority of esports talent. Most of these organizations and groups are to thank for amassing a large number of games' competitive ecosystems.
Lastly, premier esports events are tournaments explicitly hosted by the developers or companies overseeing the game. Usually, these events are the biggest tournaments of the year, championships featuring excellent talent and celebrating the best players in the world. For World of Warcraft or COD Warfare, Blizzard Entertainment or Activision would fund and organize their championships, while Valve Corporation would take care of CS:GO and Dota 2 premium competitions. These are the most prestigious events of the year, wherein only the best players participate worldwide. Usually, premier tournaments receive interstellar viewership, with the last League of Legends Worlds 2021 Championship achieving a peak of four million spectators.
Nothing else is more prominent than these events, compared to the prizes professional teams receive. As these championships provide the highest recognition, most prize pools surpass millions of dollars in monetary rewards. The largest prize pool ever held was the Dota 2 The International, with $40 million on the line last year. And funny enough, this is only one example of how massively rewarding these championships are for professional players. Ultimately, premier events are the one thing every esports fan looks forwards to in the year.
The Common Places to Watch Esports Competitions
Nowadays, esports events are primarily broadcasted through Twitch TV and YouTube. To tune into events, fans will find that tracking the event's broadcasting on social media platforms always shows the tournament's schedules and other relevant information. There are other networks such as Facebook Gaming, Juked.GG, and Steam TV provide similar features.
For Twitch TV, most would find official and premier tournaments being broadcasted on their main genre title. Third-party organizers would have their competitions live on primary or extension channels. And amateur or collegiate events would be announced through Discord servers or Twitter posts by the groups holding the games. Most of the time, spectators will find that hired outside casters or analysts will broadcast and cover the tournament entirely, unlike third-party and premier events wherein the organization solely handles production.
Here's a list of social media platforms to follow with the most extensive esports scenes in the next few months to tune into for more competitive action:
- ,Counter-Strike: Global Offensive - FPS (Shooter) - ESL/IEM Pro Tour
- ,VALORANT - FPS (Shooter) - VALORANT Champions Tour
- ,COD Modern Warfare - FPS (Shooter) - Call of Duty League
- ,Rainbow Six Siege - FPS (Shooter) - Rainbow Six Siege Major
- ,Overwatch - FPS (Shooter) - Overwatch League
- ,Fortnite - Battle Royale (Shooter and Building) - DreamHack Cash Cups
- ,PUBG Mobile - Battle Royale (Shooter) - PMPL Spring 2022
- ,Apex Legends - Battle Royale (Shooter) - ALGS Championships
- ,League of Legends - Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA | Strategic Team-based) - MSI 2022
- ,Dota 2 - MOBA (Strategic Team-based) - PGL Antwerp Major
Generally, esports has grown a dynamic and refreshing competitive ecosystem with new players emerging every year. And with so many games to watch, it's like the show never ends. There are definitely too many tournaments to spectate alone, but that's what is beautiful about esports; fans can choose what they like to play and view professional players compete in a game they love—and root for them until the end. Whether it's on the phone, tablet, or computer, there will always be an esport to enjoy, anytime, anywhere.
Find out more about esports on our website.
Jay Hunter is a freelance writer, editor, interviewer and aspiring developer passionate about gaming and esports. In his spare time, you'll find him losing LP in League of Legends or watching hours of esports on end.