Esports has now firmly established itself as a mainstream global phenomenon. In 2024, the esports landscape will be characterized not just by its impressive growth but also by its expansive reach across continents. With a diverse array of tournaments captivating audiences worldwide, esports has transcended its earlier status, attracting both passionate fanatics and casual viewers in unprecedented numbers.
Staggering viewership statistics quantify the surge in the popularity of esports. In 2024, the number of esports viewers globally reached 544 million, a significant rise from 435.7 million in 2020. This upward trajectory is set to continue, with projections indicating over 640 million viewers by 2025. The growth is supported by the influx of established gamers into esports, contributing to an increase in both fanatics and occasional viewers.
The year 2023 witnessed the League of Legends World Championship reaching a peak viewership of 6.4 million, the highest ever recorded for an esports tournament. This milestone underscores the escalating interest in competitive gaming. On the players’ front, figures like Johan Sundstein, better known as N0tail, have redefined success in the industry with earnings of around $7.18 million, setting new benchmarks for professional gamers.
The esports industry‘s growth is not limited to viewership and financial metrics. It encompasses a diverse ecosystem comprising organizations, players, and tournaments, each contributing to the sector’s dynamism. The increasing value of esports organizations, with top entities valued at over $250 million and teams like Team Liquid winning over $45 million in prize money, reflect the industry’s competitive and lucrative nature.
PGL Major Copenhagen 2024 (Counter-Strike 2)
The PGL Major Copenhagen, taking place from March 21-31, is more than another tournament in the esports calendar. It marks a significant milestone in the history of competitive first-person shooters, transitioning from the legendary Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) to the newer iteration, Counter-Strike 2 (CS2). This switch has been the subject of much excitement and speculation in the esports community.
Hosted at the Royal Arena in Copenhagen, Denmark, this event is in a world-class venue. It boasts a substantial $1.25 million prize pool, underscoring the high stakes and prestige associated with the tournament.
The Royal Arena, known for its state-of-the-art facilities, is expected to provide an ideal backdrop for such a high-profile event, offering an exceptional experience for players and spectators.
Rainbow Six Siege Invitational
The Rainbow Six Siege Invitational, slated for February 13-25 in São Paulo, Brazil, is not just another tournament in the esports scene; it is a grand spectacle in the tactical shooter genre. The event is held in high regard within the Rainbow Six Siege circuit, boasting a remarkable $3 million prize pool, reflecting the significance and scale of the competition.
The 2023 edition of the Invitational set a high bar, attracting over 13 million viewer hours and reaching a peak audience of 232,287. Such impressive statistics highlight the event’s widespread appeal and the intense engagement it generates among fans of the genre. This year’s event, with the top 20 teams competing over two intense weeks, is expected to surpass previous milestones, offering viewers and participants an even more thrilling experience.
CDL Major 1 in Boston
The Call of Duty League (CDL) Major 1, held in Boston from January 25 to January 28, 2024, epitomized the burgeoning prowess of esports in the competitive gaming arena. Hosting twelve elite teams at the MGM Music Hall, this event showcased top-tier gaming strategies and heightened the engagement of a global audience through an exclusive YouTube broadcast.
Interestingly, the growing interest in esports betting was palpable, with sportsbooks offering various betting options on such tournaments. Prominent among these was ESPN Bet Massachusetts, providing fans with an array of promo codes and betting opportunities, reflecting the integration of esports into the mainstream sports betting domain.
Evolution (Evo) Championship Series
Fighting game enthusiasts have much to look forward to with the Evolution Championship Series. Evo Japan will kick off first, followed by the main event in Las Vegas from July 19-21. Evo 2023 drew a peak audience of nearly 450,000 and awarded $70,600 in prizes. This year, the event expands to a fourth day, promising even more high-stakes action and excitement for fighting game fans.
This extension of the event indicates the growing interest in fighting games as a competitive sport. It’s not just about the players and the matches anymore; it’s about creating a larger-than-life experience for the fans.
Intel Extreme Masters (IEM)
The Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) is not just a tournament; it’s an institution in esports. As it enters its 19th year, it carries the prestige of being one of the longest-running and most celebrated events in competitive gaming.
The series’ longevity and continued success are evident in its impressive viewership statistics, with the previous year recording a staggering 29.5 million hours viewed. This feat is a testament to IEM’s ability to captivate and maintain a global audience.
The 2024 season of IEM is set to be a multinational affair, spreading its wings across various global hotspots, including Poland, China, Dallas, and Cologne. This international circuit showcases the global appeal of esports and allows diverse regional gaming communities to participate and witness the spectacle. Each location offers its unique flavor to the tournament, contributing to a rich, varied, and inclusive esports culture.
The International (Dota 2)
Valve’s The International for Dota 2 is renowned for its substantial prize pools and competitive gameplay. In 2024, the Dota 2 community can expect up to 10 LAN events, some resembling Majors.
The change in the tournament structure aims to create a more robust circuit, enhancing the competitive scene for players and fans.
Valorant World Championship 2024
Riot Games’ Valorant World Championship 2024 is shaping up to be a groundbreaking event in the esports calendar. The VCT Masters 2024 will feature two major events: Valorant Masters Madrid in March and Valorant Masters Shanghai in May. This series will showcase intense global competition, with the Challengers competitions running throughout the year, offering continuous opportunities for teams to shine.
These events reflect esports’ dynamic and ever-evolving nature, offering a glimpse into the high-level competition and entertainment that define this thriving industry. With such a diverse range of games and formats, 2024 will be an exhilarating year for players and fans. From classic MOBAs and first-person shooters to sports simulations and unique genres like car soccer, there’s something for every kind of esports enthusiast this year.