eSports fans can get their daily dose of excitement from Twitch, by watching professional players practice. The most exciting games however are the ones played in eSports leagues and there are such competitions for every popular videogame. These are tournaments with guaranteed prize pools and they bring together the best players in the world. Some are invited to join directly, while others have to go through a couple of qualifiers, before they make the playoffs. The eSports industry is so competitive and changes so often that quite often the reigning champions start as underdogs the next year.
The Most Popular and Best Paying eSports Leagues
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive eSports leagues have a great year in 2016, one of the best in franchise history. The popularity of the first-person shooter is surging in North and South America and flagship events are broadcasted on TV at TBS and eLeague. CS:GO is still far behind League of Legends in terms of worldwide appeal, with Koreans still dominating the game through their best eSports teams. The only video game where South Koreans are more dominant is StarCraft II.
When it comes to eSports leagues prizes, Dota 2 is so far ahead that it crushes all competition. The International tournament is a yearly competition that in 2016 had a prize pool of more than €20 million. This MOBA video game is by far the best paying of all eSports and its flagship league sets new milestones every year. To put things into perspective, 9 of the top 10 best paying eSports leagues are Dota 2 tournaments.
Blizzard Entertainment eSports Leagues
Professional gaming and the dawn of eSports actually started with StarCraft nearly 2 decades ago. Since then, Blizzard Entertainment had a hard time reclaiming the first place in the preference of eSports fans. In 2016, a couple of its games took the tournaments stage by storm, with Overwatch being the biggest hit. The game has more players that the aforementioned MOBA superstars and the huge community is likely to create a big number of professional eSports teams.
Blizzard is unchallenged when it comes to online collectible card video games, as Hearthstone is the only title worth talking about. The Hearthstone Championship Tour is the eSports league that any professional player hopes to join one day to win money and glory. For a while it looked like Heroes of the Storm was fighting a losing battle against League of Legends and Dota 2. Its unexpected resurgence in 2017 brought it back in the spotlight, while StarCraft II is a timeless real-time strategy game still loved worldwide.