There are countless ways to watch esports. What started as LAN parties and events at gaming conventions has exploded into a multi-platform entertainment experience. It might be a bit confusing when you want to watch an esports event. Hopefully, this explainer will help you figure out the way you want to watch esports.
Where can I watch esports?
Watch esports on TV
It may seem odd to some people that this modern form of entertainment still has roots in the terrestrial television world. They seem like two completely opposite forms of fun. Yet, there are plenty of ways for you to watch esports on TV.
The Disney owned ESPN has partnered in the past with the Evolution Championship Series. As a part of their agreement, ESPN aired the Street Fighter V Grand Finals in conjunction with Twitch streaming it online. In fact, they even aired the Street Fighter V Grand Finals on their kid and teen focused Disney XD.
Other US networks like TBS have also broadcasted esports events. They aired the Eleague’s Street Fighter V Invitational round-robin tournament as well as the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Premier and Injustice 2 World Championship. Television is not the most appropriate way to watch esports, but it is great to know that the wider world is beginning to realise the importance of the esports scene. Who knows, we might even see a bump in live esports betting as well?
Watch esports live and in person
If you are even a little bit interested in the world of esports, you know that the scene has had a long history of live, in-person events. The world of live esports took a big hit in 2020 when the majority of the world went into lockdown to combat the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Now that the world is opening back up, there will be plenty of opportunities to watch esports in person.
There are esports specific venues like the Blizzard Arena, the Eleague Esports Arena, the Esports Stadium Arlington, and more. Even major traditional sporting and concert venues have held esports events. You could keep an eye out for esports tournaments and finals being held in the likes of the New York’s Barclays Center, Madison Square Garden, or the SSE Arena in London.
Keep in mind that the majority of these events will be major esports tournaments or finales of potentially year long esports leagues. As a result of this tickets may be hard to find or they may be prohibitively expensive. I would recommend checking out smaller stadiums in your area to see if they are hosting any local esports events. You might get lucky and find a local esports hotspot near you.
Watch esports online
This is the big one folks. This is the easiest, best, and most popular way to watch esports. Esports is absolutely an online form of entertainment, not many folks would have gotten into esports if it wasn’t for online game streaming sites.
There are plenty of websites and online streaming services that offer esports as part of their platform. To save you some time searching around for what is right for you, we decided to list some of the most popular options on the web today.
No list of game streaming sites would be complete without Twitch. Everyone and their cousin has watched at least one Twitch stream in their life and its position as the most popular way to watch live gaming online has made it a natural place to watch esports events.
You can watch big and small esports events from games like League of Legends, Fortnite, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Overwatch, DOTA 2, Apex Legends, and more. Twitch covers nearly every game conceivable and has an easy to use video player as well as subscription offerings if you want to stay up to date.
Not only will you have access to plenty of the top esports tournaments from around the globe, but there are also plenty of smaller events vying for your attention. It is free to start a Twitch account and all you need to start streaming is a camera and a way to record gameplay. That means that there will be many smaller homegrown tournaments to check out.
Other sites can also embed Twitch streams in their own content. Plenty of esports betting sites offer embedded Twitch streams so you can watch the event and bet on the match at the same time. This sort of ability is even better than constantly updating esports odds.
Google didn’t want to lose out on their piece of the game streaming pie. They created a live streaming offshoot of their video site, YouTube. This is a section of their site dedicated to live streaming video games.
There are plenty of popular streamers using this service, but the ubiquity and relatively open nature of YouTube means that they have had trouble enticing any major esports leagues or events to stream exclusively on their site.
For this reason, I would only recommend checking out YouTube Gaming for the major tournaments that offer it as a secondary way to stream the event. If you are used to the YouTube video player and like all of the options available to you, stick with this site for all major events.
As always, the innovative Silicon Valley upstart Facebook entered the game streaming market years after every other company. They fall into the same category as YouTube Gaming. They are not as polished or as popular as Twitch but they will do in a pinch.
The difference between Facebook Gaming and YouTube Gaming is the money that Facebook is willing to throw at their services. They have made partnership agreements with the likes of ESL to become the exclusive online streamer of their Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and DOTA 2 games.
Watch esports on their official sites
If you are only interested in a single event or tournament then the easiest way to watch the matches would be their official sites. Tournament organisers like Riot Games or Intel Extreme Masters offer live streams on their own websites.
This cuts out the middleman and allows you to watch only what you are interested in.
There are countless other ways to watch esports. Every day a new streaming site or esports organiser will find a new way to broadcast esports events. These are just some of the most popular ways for fans to check out live esports entertainment.