How have tournaments evolved in esports? From basements to huge stages
The esports industry has continued to grow in the past 20 years, rapidly for a good reason. Esports scores and tournaments have been normalized as a source of entertainment for millions of teenagers and young adults. Tournaments are hosted for the many different esports games, allowing a diverse viewer experience. We are now used to seeing million-dollar events hosted in large stadiums, with thousands of fans attending the venue. However, games in esports used to be way smaller than what it is today. Let us recap the evolution of esports tournaments and how we got to this point!
Just like everything in this world, esports had to start somewhere. And frankly, esports started nowhere, as there were minimal amounts of funding. The lack of funding made it difficult to host tournaments in large venues for thousands of attendees. A lack of accessibility to good gaming gear made it quite challenging to have top-notch computer setups brought into locations. To add even more difficulty, access to streaming services was also minimal, so it wasn’t easy to pull in viewers for esports results and matches.
With all of the challenges and barriers, the early esports days would only hold tournaments that took place online. If we were lucky, matches could be held in small LAN cafes or tiny venues such as rented ballrooms. The players were competing for measly hundred-dollar prize pools or a set of new gaming gear such as a mouse or keyboard. Even with the minuscule amount of money, some prize pools were not even paid out. Still, players didn’t mind as they were competing for their passion for the game. The experience of playing in the same building as their opponents was also significant.
Soon enough, general technological upgrades started rolling in, which was a spark of fire for the esports community. The first notable technological advancement would be stronger internet connections. Stronger internet connections allowed for more tournaments in the online space. They allowed teams from other countries to play against each other with lower ping. The ability to play against teams from other countries started the idea of regional matches, which allowed teams from the same geographical continent to have active competitions against each other.
Seeing countries compete against each other sounded extremely exciting, so the next revolutionary idea for esports was created; free streaming services. People want to watch esports matches and keep track of esports livescores online but don’t want enough to pay for those services. So, the introduction of Justin.tv, which in the present day is now Twitch, was an incredible invention that is used today. Justin.tv allowed tournament organizers to stream their matches easily, encouraging more tournaments to be held regularly. The streaming service will also help viewers watch the games easily as viewer counts start pouring in. The increased number of viewers attracted sponsors to invest in the scene, meaning more money flowed into esports.
The increase in investment was a huge help with making the esports ecosystem healthy, like $10,000 to $100,000 tournament prize pools quickly started occurring more often. The increase in prize pools pulled in more fans interested in the esports livescore and esports results. Soon enough, with increased viewership, tournament organizers found the opportunity to hold LAN tournaments in stadiums with the confidence that tickets would sell out. The birth of frequent international competitions had started.
A $50,000 reward for winning an event was massive at the time and would get the entire esports community excited. With news traveling fast, more and more people started to see the potential in esports and had the idea that they could make money from simply playing games. The influx of new players began growth in the population of the esports community, which eventually captured more sponsors and organizations to boost finances for esports tournaments and teams.
What the esports community has achieved in the past 20 years is a truly remarkable feat. We went from professional players not caring about prize pools to dozens of million-dollar tournaments every year! Dota 2’s The International 10 even broke past $40,000,000 in prize money, where top placers in the events would immediately become millionaires.
The rewards from esports tournaments continue to increase, making esports scores more exciting from a viewer standpoint. Esports fans love watching the best players compete at rising stakes. Hence, more and more people have become interested in watching esports matches live at the venue. More tournament organizers have started seeing the potential of an entire stadium being sold out. As a result, more large-venue tournaments are being held, with thousands of seats available.
League of Legends held their 2017 World Championship Finals in Beijing, in Beijing National Stadium. Riot Games, developer of League of Legends, started to sell tickets to the event. In seconds, the entire ticket stock was bought out by League of Legends fans from China and around the world. The stadium has a maximum capacity of 80,000 people. This is one of the many examples that showcase millions of people’s interest in esports tournaments.
Esports fans from any game can be proud of what we as a community have achieved up to this day. Esports tournaments are treated as a celebration for gamers. Attending events and watching the best players live in person can be an incredible experience. Enthusiasts can interact with fellow fans in the venue and enjoy watching their hobbies together. These reasons are why many people attend esports events and are even prepared to travel to other countries to attend these tournaments.