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 industry 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 Counter-Strike 2 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.

Many critics 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 can 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 through 2024, we’ll see 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 2024.

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Esports & Gaming Tournaments for 2024

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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 2024

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 2024 has only just started, 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 CS2, 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 2024, 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 2024. This is the definitive list of esports events in 2024 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 2024

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 looks to take place in the Fall as it always has, potentially experimenting with new formats and ideas, continuing to raise the ceiling of the esports industry.

esports-tournaments
Image Credits | Riot Games

The International 2024

For those interested in Dota 2 bets, no event is more valuable than The International. This is a monumental tournament that has boasted the largest prize pools in esports history, reaching a record $40 million a few years ago. It’s arguably the grandest tournament in the history of esports, and it draws in millions of viewers every year. Similar to League of Legends Worlds, this event is also schedule for Fall 2024.

VALORANT Champions 2024

Running as the climax of the VALORANT Champions Tour, the VALORANT Champions 2024 tournament looks to be one of the top events of the year. It’s the biggest tournament in the VALORANT space, likely boasting a $1m prize pool and featuring the talents 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 2024 circuit.

Perfect World Shanghai Major 2024

As one of the top CS2 tournaments, the Perfect World Shanghai Major 2024 looks to enjoy an audience of millions. For this upcoming season of Counter-Strike competition, this Major looks to end the year with a bang.

Beyond being a CS Major, which is always an exciting watch, the tournament is the first Major to be hosted in China for almost a decade. All this considered, the $1,250,000 is one of many esports tournaments to mark on your calendar.

Other Esports Events

While we can’t discuss all of them, here’s a list of other incredible esports events taking place later this year:

  • Rocket League World Championship
  • Fortnite Global Championship
  • CDL Championship Weekend
  • Halo World Championship
  • PUBG Global Championship
  • Mobile Legends World Championship
  • Six Invitational

What Comes Next for Esports

valorant lan esports
Image Credit: Upcomer

2024 looks to be a key year for esports tournaments. Indeed, especially following the failure of the Overwatch League and the struggle of other franchised-based models, esports scenes will likely focus on third-party and open tournaments.

Accordingly, while this may result in less spectacular prize pools, it should allow for more sustainable tournaments at the highest level.

However, there’s still plenty of prize pool to look forward to. Notably, following the success of esports festivals such as Gamers8, we’re expecting more international bashes celebrating esports.

While awaiting a year of exciting competion, peruse our Betway Review for insightful betting strategies. For diverse betting experiences, also consider our Pinnacle Review. Our GG.bet Review covers exceptional betting opportunities too.

Esports Tournaments FAQs

How many esports tournaments are there?

The number of esports tournaments varies yearly. In recent years, there have been hundreds of them every year.

How long do esports tournaments last?

Esports tournament duration can range from a day to several weeks.

What is usually the prize for winning esports tournaments?

Prizes vary, often including cash, merchandise, and recognition. The biggest tournaments offer millions of dollars.

What is the biggest esports tournament?

The biggest esports tournament by prize pool was The International 2021 which had a $40 million prize pool. The most watched esports tournament is LoL Worlds 2023 which had just over 6.4 million peak viewers.