The International 2016 DOTA2, held in Seattle, boasted $20 million in prize money with 16 teams and a total of 80 players. The viewership numbers are, as yet, unknown.
Katowice, in Poland, made its claim to fame in March 2016 by hosting the Intel Extreme Masters (IEM). This now rates as the most prestigious live eSports event on the calendar, with over $600,000 in cash prizes and in excess of 100,000 fans being drawn to this unknown city. They packed out the Spodek arena to watch their heroes work their magic, displayed on massive screens. With an online viewership of over 34 million unique viewers, this event shattered the records.
The professional gamers across Blizzard’s StarCraft II, Riot Games’ League of Nations and Valve’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive played some of the 10 different games featured during the event.
A massive audience tuned into live streaming or had to watch recorded videos online if they were situated in a different time zone. 2015’s Championship was viewed by 1.6 million live streaming viewers, with 5 million YouTube views reportedly tuning in. A much larger audience was expected in 2016.
The League of Legends World Final in Seoul in 2014 boasted an attendance of 45,000 people with 27 million watching online while the 16 teams battled it out, vying for over $2 million in prizes. This huge celebration, with fireworks and a special performance by Imagine Dragons, completed the line-up. League of Legends has more active members than the total number of residents in France, just to put into perspective.
Next on the countdown, the ESL Intel Extreme Masters in San Jose 2014 had 12,500 attendees, with 4 million viewing online. The prizes equalled $50,000. The SAP Centre, more commonly known as the Shark Tank, hosted viewers from all over the world for this 2-day event. This was the pinnacle of events from a host of the most popular games, one being League of Legends, and was the biggest eSports tournament to be held in America.
DOTA2’s, The International 2015 was hosted by Seattle, and the prize pool was $18 million.
The 10,000-strong live audience, with 20 million viewers online, The International is the highlight of the DOTA2 calendar and is likened to the World Cup by its followers and competitors. Apparently, the organisers, Valve, who make DOTA2, forked out an unbelievable $18 million jackpot, which was the biggest prize pool by far to date, only surpassed in 2016. The 10,000 tickets were sold out within an hour. However, the fan’s favourite team Na’Vi was eliminated early on, which resulted in a lot of empty seats.
Going down the list, the next biggest tournament was ESL 1 DOTA2 hosted by Frankfurt, Germany. The prize pool was $250,000 with 52,000 attendees. This challenge came before The International on DOTA’s calendar and was held in the Commerzbank-Arena. This was an 8-team event, where Team Secret trounced Evil Geniuses and won the first prize of $118,481. In spite of its status as a warm-up tournament for The International, the seats were full to view the intense activity on the big screens.
Last on the list comes the League of Legends World Finals in 2013, hosted by LA in the Staples Centre, which is home to the LA Lakers. With the total of 12,000 tickets being snatched up within the first hour of sales, this occasion held the record of the biggest eSports event to date. SK Telecom T1 from Korea beat the Chinese opponents, the Royal Club, winning a massive $1 million, along with the League Of Legends Summoner’s coveted trophy. With a viewership of 32 million people watching via live streaming, more people rocked up to LOL than watched either the World Series of the NBA Finals in 2013.
Reading through this list serves to prove the amazing growth of eSports. The huge number of passionate gamers grows steadily, year on year, and live streaming encourages viewers from all over the world.
Locations for the tournament are selected on the strength of the eSports market in that area, along with growth opportunities, local government support and the actual venue.
2015 experienced an amazing growth in the eSports market, reflected in the record-breaking viewership numbers, and the fantastic prizes on offer.