Esports Tournaments Guide: Schedule, Insights and More

It might sound relatively obvious, but the beating heart of the esports industry is made up of the tournaments that have made it such a popular, fast-growing market. There’s a dynamic and diverse ecosystem of esports tournaments that, over the last two decades or so, have grown from small, quiet competitions to multi-million-dollar events.

For the last ten years, esports has undergone sensational growth, becoming a massively popular and dramatically valuable industry. Today, there are more tournaments than ever before – thousands every year – and they’re spread out over a more varied collection of games than most people are even aware of. From Rocket League to CSGO and from Call of Duty to League of Legends, some of the most high-value tournaments bring in millions of viewers and contribute immeasurably towards the multi-billion-dollar industry.

There are many critics who will compare the esports industry to the traditional sports industry, but it isn’t as clear-cut as it may seem. There are several advantages that the esports industry boasts over the sports industry, and as time goes on, the former is constantly proving itself to be a disruptive, exciting, and ever-developing vertical. At present, the esports industry is a relatively young beast, and it can be argued that it’s still an emerging space.

There’s a vast, digital landscape out there, and any gamer can get started on the path to esports greatness with little more than the ability to play the games. It’s an industry that remains easily accessible, simple, and loved by hundreds of millions of people around the world. As our world becomes increasingly technological, esports is never offline. We have the ability to play multi-million-dollar tournaments from the comfort of our own homes, enabling the esports industry to truly operate without borders.

How did the most humble, modest esports events become full-fledged, multi-million-dollar tournaments? For all the booming industries around the world, few of them have seen the sudden and surprising growth that the esports industry has. Once upon a time, playing video games for money was a laughable concept that carried with it a considerable sigma. Today, young people aspire to be competitive gamers, and there’s plenty of evidence to suggest those aspirations should be – and are being – nurtured.

As we move towards the end of 2022, we’ll see the closure of another historic year in esports history, which has been punctuated by massive tournaments for the hottest competitive titles. What follows is our comprehensive guide to the history of the world’s greatest esports tournaments and the most important esports events coming in 2022.

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Esports & Gaming Tournaments for 2022

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The History of Esports Tournaments

If you’re a more modernised gamer, you’d likely scoff at some of the earliest gaming competitions. Today, online gaming tournaments are the norm, with the biggest events taking place in a LAN environment, which in itself as a practice stretches back more than four decades. In 1980, the Space Invaders Championship took place, with competitors lining up to play the title on the Atari 2600 console, one of the world’s first home gaming platforms.

However, there was absolutely no multiplayer present on Space Invaders, which is still an iconic and legendary title today. Instead, players queued and took turns to try and set the highest score. At the end of the tournament, the winner walked away with a Space Invaders arcade machine – the world’s first esports prize.

history of esports tournaments
Atari’s 1980 National Space Invaders Championship

In the 1990s, gaming experienced an enormous boom, with home consoles beginning to dominate the market in huge numbers. The SNES, Sony PlayStation, and N64 all launched in the 1990s, and they’re considered to be some of the greatest gaming advancements in the history of the industry. It was also in the 1990s that modern esports began shaping up, particularly around the late 90s. In 1997, the world’s first major competitive gaming event was hosted, with players competing on Quake, a then-popular FPS title.

Bizarrely, the grand prize for this event was an all-new Ferrari 328 GTS Cabriolet and not a cash prize. Today, almost every one of the many esports tournaments hosted boasts a cash prize. It was at this event that some of the esports tropes we see today were founded, such as the bracket format and some of the in-event culture.

The incredible rise of the esports industry can be attributed to a few specific titles. One game, in particular, was StarCraft: Brood War, which was massively influential in the earlier days of modern esports. Today, StarCraft 2 makes up a small portion of the industry, but once upon a time, it was a world leader. In South Korea, gamers flocked to the title, and within no time at all, lucrative and popular esports tournaments were being held for StarCraft: Brood War.

In fact, StarCraft tournaments were some of the first to offer six-figure cash prizes.

StarCraft’s premise, concept, and growth proved to many gamers that esports could be both a form of entertainment and a legitimate career. Most of the top esports titles out there today boast incredible legacies, some of which can be traced back more than two decades. Before, gaming competitions were minor events, but now, they’re just as big as traditional sporting events.

The Best Esports Tournaments to Watch in 2022

While COVID-19 had an impact on the esports tournament structure through 2020 and 2021, most of the world has now seen a return to form. For many esports organisers, LAN-based events offer an unparalleled opportunity to bring the viewer into the game. They’re some of the most exciting environments in the world, promoting immersion and a direct, in-person connection to the most beloved players and teams in the world.

For those with an eager interest in esports betting, the return to LAN ultimately means very little, as the vast majority of esports betting takes place online. It’s still an exciting thing to experience, but these days, more bettors are tuning in to esports tournaments remotely for the simple reason that they can watch the game unfold at the same time as placing those all-important wagers.

As 2022 moves towards its inevitable closure, there are many more tournaments to be played. In fact, some of the grandest events in the esports calendar are yet to take place, and before the year has ended, many more teams will assume the title of ‘world champion’, one way or another. From Valorant to The International and from Fortnite to CSGO, many top-tier events are yet to unfold on some of the grandest, most valuable stages of them all.

These tournaments are the proving grounds for some of the most talented competitors the world has ever seen. While there are millions aspiring to compete on these main stages, only a small percentage of them will ever achieve esports greatness. As competitors come together from all corners of the planet, these tournaments boast audiences that rival modern, traditional sports. It’s an ever-changing world out there, and in the closing months of 2022, some of the esports tournaments that are shaping this evolution are yet to take place.

What follows is a breakdown of the biggest, most impactful events coming to the world of esports in the final months of 2022. This is the definitive list of esports events in 2022 yet to play out, and it contains information about some of the most valuable and most popular esports tournaments in the world.

League of Legends Worlds 2022

The League of Legends Worlds tournament stretches back several years. It’s one of the most popular and significant esports tournaments on the calendar, and every year, millions of fans tune in to the action. It’s a global event, and it boasts a prize pool of more than $6 million. It’s also one of the longest world championship events in esports, lasting more than a month. There are few esports tournaments as impactful as this event, and it’s easily the best of all the LoL tournaments that take place within any given year.

This year, the tournament runs from the 29th of September to the 5th of November, live in Mexico and the United States.

esports-tournaments
LoL Worlds 2020 Shanghai China

The International 2022

For those interested in Dota 2 bets, no event is more valuable than The International. This is a monumental tournament that boasts the largest prize pool in esports history, totalling some $40 million. It’s arguably the grandest tournament in the history of esports, and it draws in millions of viewers every year. This year, the biggest tournament in the industry is heading to Singapore, and it will take place between the 8th and the 30th of October.

VALORANT Champions 2022

Running from the 31st of August to the 18th of September, the VALORANT Champions 2022 tournament will take place in Istanbul. It’s one of the biggest tournaments in the VALORANT space, boasting a $1m prize pool and featuring the talents of 16 of the best VALORANT teams on Earth. It’s a top-tier event that is guaranteed to push VALORANT to the top of the esports pile while it plays out, topping the charts on platforms like Twitch.

While VALORANT is the newest esports title in the space, it’s by no means the weakest, and it’s rapidly overtaking older, more well-established games in terms of overall popularity. If you’re interested in VALORANT betting, don’t miss the VCT 2022 circuit.

CSGO BLAST Premier: World Final 2022

As one of the top CSGO tournaments, the BLAST Premier World Final enjoys an audience of millions. It’s one of the most-watched events in the esports calendar every year, attracting players, viewers, and esports bettors from all around the globe. This year, the BLAST Premier World Final acts as the final major event of the year for CSGO, running from the 14th to the 18th of December in Abu Dhabi.

It’s a monumental event that boasts a $1,000,000 prize pool, and while only eight teams are in attendance, it’s still one of the most exciting ways to cap off an entire year of esports action.

Intel Extreme Masters XVII: Rio Major

Let’s just throw another CSGO tournament in here for good measure. It makes sense that it’s a double-dipped title, as statistically, CSGO is the most popular esports game in the world. From the 31st of October to the 13th of November, twenty-four cracked teams will travel to Rio de Janeiro to compete in the IEM XVII event. This is a tournament with a lengthy past, as the IEM events go back almost a decade.

There’s $1,000,000 on the line, and most importantly, the winning team will gain immediate access to IEM Katowice 2023.

Six November Major

Rainbow Six Siege has been a remarkably popular title for years, despite having a lot of competition. It’s a fantastic game nestled amongst a franchise that boasts one of the richest and most storied legacies in modern gaming. Throughout the year, fans are invited to celebrate that history at some of the biggest esports tournaments around – the Six Majors. Behind the Six Invitational, these are the brightest tournaments in the Rainbow space, and they happen several times a year, all around the world.

This year, the Six November Major will take place somewhere in Asia. It’ll run from the 14th to the 20th of November, boasting a $500,000 prize pool.

What Comes Next for Esports

valorant lan esports
Image Credit: Upcomer

In 2022, esports tournaments will, for the most part, return to LAN settings. Once again, this means that fans can get stuck into the action while sitting mere feet away from the competitors they all know and love. There’s a huge buzz surrounding the general esports calendar for 2022, and several hugely valuable tournaments are due to take place over the next 12 months. While the last two years have been something of an experiment, 2022 will return to a more familiar environment.

Ultimately, esports is a serious topic, and with each passing day, it becomes just as popular as traditional, mainstream sports. With a huge catalogue of titles to choose from and massive financial backing behind the industry, esports will continue to grow in 2022 at a rapid rate. As time goes on, esports betting and participation will also see immeasurable growth. It’s a valuable industry, and there are millions of people trying to get involved.

We’ve also seen sharp rises in the number of content creators and streamers in recent years. With the COVID-19 pandemic taking over, more gamers took to the internet to express their passion from behind a camera. This practice goes hand in hand with esports gaming, and as one, the entire landscape becomes increasingly popular and adopted by more and more non-gamers.

Whether you’re waiting for offline events to return in full or ready to jump into your first esports bet, look to Betway, Pinnacle, and GG.bet for the best betting experiences.