Competitive video gaming has transformed itself from a niche pursuit enjoyed mainly from people’s basements and bedrooms, into a behemoth force within the world of entertainment. Now worth more than the music and film industries combined together, millions of people right around the world regularly tune into watching or attending the biggest events and competitions for their favourite games across the calendar, creating atmospheres that shake the floorboards beneath them.

Here’s the top 5 biggest Esports events of all time. 

2018 League of Legends World Championship

The World Championship is the biggest event of the calendar year for League of Legends, and regularly smashes records for viewership figures in the video game industry. The 2018 edition of the tournament was the eighth tournament played at the time, peaking at a then-record total of 44 million viewers around the world, more than the likes of that year’s Masters Tour, Wimbledon Final and Super Bowl. 

Played around South Korea, the tournament made a name for being unpredictable and exciting for its fans. Invictus Gaming became the first Chinese side to ever win a Worlds with a 3-0 over European side Fnatic, scooping up $2,418,750 of the $6.7 million prize purse. 

PUBG Global Championship 2019

The conclusion to the year’s competitive season, the Global Championship is a collection of 32 of the world’s best PUBG teams competing for a prize purse of $6 million. Over the course of November 2019, the action ebbed and flowed, pulling in 186,000 viewers for its grand final.

Whilst its numbers are quite some way behind totals reached by games such as Counter-Strike or Fortnite, the Global Championship’s prize pool is enough to still see it nestled into this top five.  

Overwatch League Season 2 PlayOffs

Beginning in February of 2019, season 2 of Blizzard’s Overwatch League saw 20 of the world’s best sides compete over 28 games for a shot at the postseason playoffs in a format not too dissimilar to the NFL. London Spitfire had won the league back in 2018 but were unable to keep a hold of their crown, bowing out in the playoff quarter-finals after finishing seventh in the table. 

The grand final was contested between Vancouver Titans and San Francisco Shock on 29th September, with San Francisco as solid favourites in the esports odds at Unikrn. The league’s best side didn’t fail to deliver, winning 4-0 and scooping up the bulk of the tournament’s $5 million prize purse. 

2019 Fortnite World Cup

The annual Fortnite World Cup gains arguably more attention from the mainstream media than any other event in the Esports world, and is split up into the Solo, Team and Creative competitions. Last year’s tournament was held in New York during August and saw 16 year superstar Bugha romp to the title, and to $3 million worth of winnings. 

The overall purse for the Fortnite World Cup was somewhere in the region of $30+ million, split in half between the Solo and Team modes. 

The International 2019

The International has been the world’s most lucrative Esports tournament ever since 2013 when the prize purse was increased to nearly $2.9 million. Since then, Dota have put everything into the annual event and sourced a unique way of funnelling funds from the game’s sign ups as a way of guaranteeing it remains the biggest event in the world. 

In 2014 the prize pool was increased to nearly $11 million and the rise has continued upwards to over $35 million in 2019. In fact, in a list of the most lucrative Esports events of all time, The International makes up the entire top five with a combined total of $122 million.

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