SiGMA

11 Biggest eSports Tournaments in 2022

From the very modest beginnings, starting in 1972, when five players competed in the Intergalactic Spacewar Olympics and the winner received a one-year subscription to Rolling Stone, we’ve reached the point where the biggest eSports tournaments are on the brink of becoming Olympic sports. The crucial trial period could be during this year’s Asian Games. The eSports program will include eight medal events and two demonstration events, with competitions being held in:

  • Dota 2
  • League of Legends
  • FIFA
  • Arena of Valor
  • Dream of the Three Kingdoms 2
  • Hearthstone
  • PUBG Mobile
  • Street Fighter V

 

eSports Tournaments

The biggest eSports tournament on arcade games occurred in 1980 on one of the most famous arcade games in history, Space Invaders. The tournament had over 10,000 participants. In 1993, Doom’s four-player deathmatch created the groundwork for online multiplayer games like Halo, Call of Duty, and Overwatch. However, when we think about eSports in today’s terms, the starting point was Quake’s Red Annihilation online tournament in 1997.

The development of Twitch in 2011 was a game changer. It had 3.2 million visitors a month when it launched. A year later, that number exploded to 20 million. Finally, these tournaments had a platform where they could attract bigger crowds. From that point on, some of the biggest eSports events took place in quite well-known venues like:

  • Arthur Ashe Stadium
  • Staples Centre
  • Wembley Arena
  • Sang-am World Cup Stadium

 

The International

Without a doubt, the biggest eSports events are for Dota 2. And, the International has no match regarding prize pools, considering that last year, the tournament surpassed $40 million in awards. The International currently holds the top six positions for the biggest eSports Tournaments’ prize pools.

Originally hosted in 2011 as a promotional event for the game, the International has been held every year since, except in 2020, when it was postponed due to the global pandemic of COVID-19. Since 2013, the game’s battle pass system has crowdfunded the prize pool. In the first ten competitions, the tournament had either 16 or 18 teams participating, but the format expanded in 2022.

From the 8th to the 30th of October, the International 2022 will be the longest Dota 2 tournament to date. In addition, through the last chance qualifier, more teams will be added to the TI11 roster.

Through the Last Chance Qualifiers round, the second and third-place finishers in each region will be able to fight for a seat on the main stage in one last LAN event, increasing the total number of teams from 18 to 20. After the LCQ concludes, the group stage will begin, with all 20 teams competing for the 16 available playoff positions.

 

League of Legends World Championship

The League of Legends World Championship is one of the world’s most renowned and watched events. It’s also the video game that receives the most attention from viewers across the globe. The success peaked in 2018 when 99.6 million people saw the final, and the prize pool was 6.45 million.

More frequently referred to as Worlds, the Championship is the pinnacle of the annual professional League of Legends season. Teams battle against one another for the champion title, a Summoner’s Cup trophy weighing 70 pounds, and a multi-million dollar prize.

The 2022 League of Legends World Championship is the twelfth iteration of this championship, organized by the game’s developers at Riot Games. This year’s event will take place from September 29 through November 5. Four venues in:

  • Mexico City
  • Atlanta
  • San Francisco
  • New York City

Twenty-four teams from 11 regions earned a spot in the tournament through regional circuits in China, Europe, North America, South Korea, and Taiwan/Hong Kong/Macau/Southeast Asia. Twelve teams had to compete in a play-in round to get to the main event. The group stage will separate teams into four groups of four, and the knockout stage will start with the quarterfinals. The 2022 prize pool is over $2.2 million.

 

Call of Duty League

In the 2022 season, 12 teams will compete in four Majors using a combination of online and LAN formats. Each Major tournament will take place over the course of four weeks, with the first three weeks consisting of each team competing in online qualification matches against five other randomly chosen teams. Following these three weeks, the rankings will be used to seed the teams into the main tournament, with the four worst teams moving to the Elimination Bracket. The League started on January 21 and will end on August 7.

A Pro-am event will occur in the middle of the season, matching professional players against amateur players. In addition, a Call of Duty: Warzone tournament that will include Call of Duty League pro players, broadcasters, and other influencers will also be arranged.

The Call of Duty League (CDL) is an esports competition run by the game publisher Activision. In 2019, the League was announced, and the first season began in 2020. The prize pool for the 2022 World Title is $2.55 million.

You’ll recognize the format if you’re a fan of conventional North American professional sports leagues or the Overwatch League. Participants are city-based franchises financed by separate ownership groups. The League uses a tournament point system and playoff format, with players on the roster guaranteed a minimum annual salary and benefits, as well as a portion of winnings and revenue-sharing based on how well the team performs.

 

Fortnite World Cup

If there’s one game that skyrocketed in record time, from game release to the point of having one of the biggest eSports tournaments, then that is Fortnite. This year, for the first time since 2019, Epic is holding an in-person Fortnite competition. The creators announced the FNCS Invitational 2022, to be held in Raleigh, North Carolina, on the 12th and 13th of November. A total prize pool of $1 million will be up for grabs.

During ten weekly qualifying events, players will be divided into five groups depending on the region they play in. The top 100 solo and 50 duo players will qualify for the Fortnite World Cup finals.

There will be ten weekly Qualifier events. The top 100 solo and top 50 duo players will qualify for the Fortnite World Cup Finals. Namely, players will be divided into five groups depending on their region. The competition will begin with the Arena mode, where competitors must collect points to reach the Open event.

During Stage 2 of The Fortnite Open, players will have three hours and up to ten matches to score the most points they can. Afterward, a group of elite players will go to the Open Finals. In the final stages, top players from every region will again have the same time frame of three hours and ten matches to score as many points as possible. Epic will then decide who is eligible for awards.

Fortnite secured the largest individual prize win of any eSports athlete. Kyle Giersdorf, known as Bugha, was 16 years old when he won $3 million after a 10-week competition between April and June 2019.

 

Valorant Champions

The 2022 Valorant Champions is an impending eSports tournament for the Valorant video game by Riot Games. It’s the culminating event of the 2022 Valorant Champions Tour, the second iteration of this tournament. The competition is scheduled to take place in Istanbul, Turkey, between September 2nd and 18th, 2022. The total prize pool for the tour is $3.3 million.

  • In November 2020, Riot Games announced the first ever Valorant Champions Tour.
  • It was held in Berlin’s Verti Music Hall between the 1st and 12th of December.
  • In 2021, the VCT attracted over 10,000 teams.
  • In February of the same year, it was announced that the VCT Game Changers would be an additional tournament program for women and other marginalized communities.

As the lowest division, Challengers were to be divided into six zones. If a team makes it through Challengers, they will progress to Masters, where they will no longer be separated into regions, and the top 16 teams from Masters will continue to Champions, the final event of VCT.

The format of VCT was reworked for the second season. Namely, the number of stages in Challengers and Masters tournaments was lowered from three to two, although the basic structure of Challengers, Masters, and Champions remained the same.

Challengers and Masters tournaments contribute to teams’ overall circuit points. In stage two of Masters, 16 teams proceed to the VCT’s global championship tournament, which is held annually. There’s a Last Chance Qualifier tournament for the last four teams, and the winner of the Stage Two Masters qualifies automatically.

 

Honor of Kings World Champion Cup

The Honor of Kings is a multiplayer online battle arena for the iOS and Android mobile platforms. The tournament has yet to be announced, but it is expected to be at the end of 2022. For the first time since 2020, the Honor of Kings World Champion Cup 2022 will involve teams from outside the United States, where 16 teams will compete for the $10 million prize pool.

The tournament’s form of participation is also still up in the air. It may be held online or offline, depending on the general circumstances and travel limitations. However, since the Honor of Kings World Champion Cup is an S-tier event and so costly, it’s likely to be hosted offline like the majority of tournaments right now.

An unprecedented amount of $10 million in prize money will be awarded in this event, making it one of the most lucrative in the history of mobile gaming. The PUBG Mobile Global Championship (PMGC) has a prize pool of $6 million, which puts it in second place in the mobile gaming industry. In previous years, the Honor of Kings World Champions Cup already had big prize pools, ranging from 4.5 and 4.6 million dollars in 2019 and 2020 to 7.7 million in 2021.

 

EVO Championship Series

Maybe it isn’t among the biggest eSports tournaments, but not many will leave out EVO when it comes to historical significance. In the esports world, the Evolution Championship Series is a yearly competition devoted exclusively to fighting games. Like in Super Battle Opera, participants from across the globe participate in this event, mainly from Japan. The Battle by the Bay was the initial name of the inaugural Evolution, which included Super Street Fighter II Turbo and Street Fighter Alpha 2. In 2002, the event’s name was shortened to Evolution Championship Series or EVO.

The number of people attending each tournament has steadily increased over time.

  • Since 2005, it has occurred at several Las Vegas Valley locations.
  • Sony Interactive Entertainment and Endeavor esports venture RTS will control the event jointly starting in 2021.
  • In 2022, the Evolution Championship Series will return to the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas for EVO 2022, which will take place between the 5th and 7th of August.
  • Last year, the prize pool for 26 tournaments was $168,500.

In Sunnyvale, California, a 40-player Super Street Fighter II Turbo and Street Fighter Alpha 2 tournament called Battle by the Bay kicked off the competition in 1996. Since its inception, the competition has grown, with more than 1,000 players in 2009.

In 2004, the decision was made to switch from arcades to console versions. Other than official competitions, there’s a BYOC (Bring Your Own Console) section where many other games are played and side events are hosted.

 

PUBG Global Championship

The PUBG Global Championship is the culmination of the 2022 Competitive Season and is considered the World Championship for the game. The best 32 teams throughout the year will compete from November 1 until December 1. The PMGC 2022 boasts a $4 million prize pool, a decrease of $2 million from last year. With the PMWI in August and the addition of the game to the postponed Asian Games, the schedule is different than in earlier years.

  • The PMGC 2022 will include the best teams from each Pro League (PMPL).
  • Thirteen Pro Leagues are organized between June 20 and October 2.
  • The top teams will participate in the Americas, Europe, Middle East, Africa, South East Asia, and South Asia PMPL Regional Championships.

From the PMGC launch in 2020, Tencent couldn’t host it as a LAN event due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For the first time ever, after the imminent PUBG Mobile World Invitational (PMWI) and a better COVID-19 situation, PUBG fans are hoping for an offline event for the biggest event of the year.

The PUBG Mobile World Invitational will be held in Riyadh from August 11 to August 20. Twenty teams will battle for $3 million in Saudi Arabia. Week one of the PMWI features the main event, where 20 teams will compete for $2 million. During the second week, The Afterparty Showdown will be played, where the top five teams from week one, six regional teams, and one special invite will participate.

 

Overwatch League

Blizzard Entertainment’s Overwatch League (OWL) is a professional eSports league for the video game Overwatch. The Overwatch League, like its Call of Duty counterpart, also follows the model of North American professional leagues. Twenty city-based teams, backed by ownership groups, began signing free agents to contracts for the 2022 season in October 2021. March 1 was the deadline for all teams to have a minimum of six players signed to season-long contracts.

  • Like in the NFL or NBA, teams compete in the regular season to reach the playoffs.
  • At BlizzCon 2016, it was revealed that its first season would begin in 2018, with a total prize pool of $3.5 million. Throughout the years, this amount remained in the same vicinity.
  • Before the 2022 season, the maximum number of players on a team stayed at 12, while the minimum was six. Therefore, the players’ minimum salary was raised from $50,000 to $50,700.

The 2022 Overwatch League season is the fifth iteration. The season is played on an early version of Overwatch 2, unlike the prior four seasons, which were played on Overwatch. It began on May 5, and the champion will be known by October 22.

 

Apex Legends Global Series Championship

Electronic Arts and Respawn Entertainment announced the Apex Legends Global Series (ALGS) in 2019, with the first season beginning in 2020–21. The series uses a promotion and relegation format throughout the seasons, culminating in the ALGS Championship. The prize pool for the inaugural season was $2.58 million, and it was increased to $5 million for the second season.

EA and Respawn expanded for the 2021–22 season, allowing Xbox and PlayStation players to compete. The competition consists of three phases:

  • Split One
  • Split Two
  • ALGS Championship

Five regional Pro Leagues constitute splits North America, EMEA, APAC South, APAC North, and South America. In each Pro League, 40 teams come through online qualifications and direct invitations based on prior performance. Then a total of 40 teams advance to the split Playoffs. Split Two playoff winners and Last Chance Qualifier event winners will proceed to the ALGS Championship match.

 

Counter-Strike Global Offensive

WESG had a $1.5 million prize pool in 2016 and 2017. After that, however, the primacy was taken over by PGL.

The PGL Major Antwerp 2022, also known as PGL Major 2022 or Antwerp 2022, was the seventeenth Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) Major championship.

In Sportpaleis, twenty-four teams competed in the event between May 9 and May 22, with the majority qualifying via their respective regional competitions. It had a prize fund of US$1,000,000, half of what it was in 2021. FaZe Clan, the first foreign CS:GO team to win a Major, took the trophy, finishing above 23 other teams. The format was set in three stages:

  • The Challengers Stage featured a 16-team Swiss System Format, with the Buchholz system and initial seeds used to seed matches.
  • The top eight teams advanced to the Legends Stage, while the bottom eight teams were eliminated.
  • The Legends Stage used the same format and seeding system as the Challenger Stage.
  • Finally, in the Champions Stage, eight teams battled in a Single-Elimination bracket, seeded using the final rankings from the Legends Stage.

 

FAQ

Is there a dress code at eSports competitions?

Competitors must wear official team uniforms during all on-site matches and interviews at major eSports championships. The logos must be visible at all times, and hoodies are not permitted. Other than approved headsets, they’re prohibited from wearing headgear or face masks.

What types of games do eSports include?

An eSport is any video game in which a player competes against another person. A few of the most popular esports game types are:

  • Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas
  • Battle Royales
  • Real-Time Strategy Games
  • First Person Shooters
  • Fighting Games
  • Sports Games

Which are the best channels to watch live eSports games?

The best place to watch the biggest eSports tournaments is probably Twitch.tv. This site is geared toward gamers who share their gaming experiences. YouTube Gaming users also have the option to broadcast their bouts.