The Best eSports Tournaments

Updated: 5 Mar 2020 9:34 AM PST
Posted: 27 Jan 2020 2:26 PM PST

If you’re only a novice, part-time video game player, you may have missed the competitive wave of eSports. Anyone who plays a video game strives to maximize their score. However, there is another level of competitiveness that has exploded into a billion-dollar industry. ESports leagues and tournaments are a rapidly growing phenomenon around the world.

The Best eSports Tournaments in the World

Through streaming services and live events, casual video gamers have a new goal. Winning one of the major eSports tournaments can turn an everyday gamer into an instant star, not to mention a healthy paycheck. Here’s a brief synopsis of what eSports tournaments are and which ones we think are the best.


What are eSports Tournaments?

If you’ve ever played the simplest video game, you’ll understand Electronic Sports or eSports. It is the ultimate competitive level for avid video gamers. There are leagues and tournaments for nearly every video game imaginable. The more popular games have such a following that they warrant international competitions. Most are live events.

The best players in the world compete in front of millions of fans. Both in-person and on TV or online. ESports tournaments crown the best of the best. There are lucrative endorsements and million-dollar prize pools. Here’s a list of what we feel are some of the best eSports tournaments.


ESports World Convention

For years, this event was known as the Electronic Sports World Cup ESWC. The first tournament was in 2003. There were just under 400 competitors from around the world. Within three years, the eSports World Cup had nearly doubled the number of competitors and awarded $400,000 in prizes.

The 2003 competition included five games, Counter-Strike, Warcraft III, Reign of Chaos, Unreal Tournament 2003, and Quake 3. The eSports World Convention is an annual event that matches qualifiers from national tournaments around the world who earn the honor to represent their country.


BlizzCon

The Anaheim Convention Center in California hosts one of the most anticipated gaming events in the world. Sponsored by Blizzard Entertainment, BlizzCon is an annual convention for gamers. The event’s popularity had grown since the first BlizzCon in October 2005.

The annual event now occurs the first weekend in November. There are question-and-answer sessions with world-renowned game developers and software experts. Attendees can participate in a costume contest, plus play live versions of various Blizzard Entertainment games.

There will be first looks at new games, plus special announcements. The best gamers compete in the Grandmasters Global Final. For the first time in history, a woman gamer won the 2019 final. There are also simultaneous live concerts from famous bands and musicians.


Fortnite World Cup

From one of the most popular eSports events, we shift to one of the largest. The Fortnite game is one of the most played games in the world. Therefore, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the world championship event is one of the biggest.

Last year’s prize purse exceeded $30 million worth of prizes. There were more than 10,000 live spectators in New York, with another a million viewers streaming the event live on twitch.tv. This year’s Fortnite World Cup will usher in a new version of the wildly popular game.

While upcoming eSports tournaments are ready to challenge the Fortnite World Cup $30 million prize pool, 2019 currently holds the record. It is one of the newest events in eSports but has quickly risen to one of the most popular.


FIFA eWorld Cup

FIFA Soccer hosts our next classic eSports event. The FIFA eWorld Cup is hosted in conjunction with FIFA’s gaming partner, EA Sports. With more than a million FIFA video game enthusiasts afforded a chance to qualify online, this event earns the honor as the largest online game according to Guinness World Records.

Games compete in the most recent game version. The first event was called the FIFA Interactive World Cup (FIWC). Since that first tournament in Switzerland in 2004, it has grown in popularity. In 2013, a record two and a half million players signed up to qualify.

The name changed to the current FIFA eWorld Cup ahead of the 2018 tournament held in London, England. That year’s event, hosted at the O2 Arena in London, included 16 finalists competing on PlayStation4 and another 16 on Xbox One.

Since 2016, FIFA eWorld Cup qualifiers are seeded according to their FIFA Interactive World Cup World Ranking. The finals awarded $250,000 to the winner in 2018. Players and spectators and the international event also interact with real-world soccer players such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.


International eSports Federation World Championships

Our next tournament generates much notoriety for what the organizing body is about as much as the championship itself. The International eSport Federation World Championships are hosted by the world gaming federation of the same name.

The International eSports Federation (IESF) focuses on ambitious efforts to have electronic sports games recognized as real sporting events. The IESF, based in Busan, South Korea, strives to organize the entire world body of video gamers under one governing agency.

Beginning in 2008, The International eSports Federation World Championships are held every year. All events are live and hosted at a venue, usually in Asia. The format of games changes every year, with competitions varying between first-person shooter, MOBAs and street fighting games.


PUBG Global Championship

The second-most-popular battle royale game in the world is Player Unknowns’ Battlegrounds (PUBG). It comes in a close second behind Fortnite. The PUGO Global Championship also stands as the second-largest eSports event for prize awards and excitement.

Champions from nine regional qualifiers around the world converge on the site for a final live competition. Last year’s championship paid $1 million to the eventual winner — the final event shifts to different locations across North America.

Last year’s PUBG Global Championship was in Oakland, California. PUBG is one of the originators of the battle royale game genre. Without the developments and appeal to gamers, other games such as Fortnite might not exist.


The International

Behind the Fortnite World Championship in the size of the prize pool, is our next most popular eSports event. During last year’s final in Shanghai, winners shared in over $25 million worth of prizes. The International 2020 is hosted at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai.

Spectators can watch the International online with some exclusive perks, unlike any other eSports event. Games can log in using their game client. This lets them shift a camera to different viewing angles. Spectators can watch various parts of each game in real-time.

Another exciting part of watching the International is the in-game ability to predict outcomes. Correct predictions can win prizes. There is some indication that the 2020 event could surpass the Fortnite World Championship as the biggest eSports prize pool ever.


These are seven of the best eSports events. They are highly anticipated annual tournaments that host many of the top video gamers around the world. Prize pools are customarily in the millions of dollars, with endorsements being another popular perk competitors covet.

Each event can be attended live or watched via several streaming options. Individual game companies sponsor many of these popular events. Most provide an opportunity for any gamer in the world to qualify, but anyone can watch these exciting events.

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