Despite the world grinding to a halt, esports continues to thrive.
In 2019, global revenue from esports topped $1billion and with the popularity of competitive increasing, gamers and sponsors continue to see the benefits.
But, what about during a pandemic?
Though many big tournaments have been cancelled, the gaming goes on at home and viewing figures are rising each month.
New research from esports betting company Unikrn has revealed the biggest esports of 2020 so far by prize money won**.
1. DOTA 2
Prize money (2020): $6,000,000
Average prize: $111,111
Prize money (all-time): $224,300,000
The highest-paid game in esports continues to lead the way when it comes to prize money in 2020.
Last year, the game offloaded $52million in prize money with The International 2019 contributing to $34.3million of that.
Winning team OG picked up $15.6million between their five members, each taking home more than Tiger Woods at the 2019 Masters ($2.07million)
Prize money (2020): $4,900,000
Average prize: $51,042
Prize money (all-time): $96,200,000
The most active game in 2020, CS:GO has had tournaments going out almost every week.
Since the start of the year, the average number of Twitch viewers watching streamers and matches has almost tripled from 45,000 viewers in January to 120,000 viewers in April.
3. Rainbow Six Siege
Prize money (2020): $4,000,000
Average prize: $222,222
Prize money (all-time): $12,100,000
This year’s Six Invitational 2020 in February saw a $3million prize pot, higher than any previous year.
Despite being released in 2015, Rainbow Six Siege’s popularity continues to grow.
As of this month, the game has surpassed 60 millions players worldwide.
4. League of Legends
Prize money (2020): $2,900,000
Average prize: $111,538
Prize money (all-time): $75,600,000
The real-time strategy game developed by Riot Games is the fourth highest-paying game in history with over $75million in prize money.
The publisher announced last month that it was having to cancel this year’s Mid-Season Invitational (MSI), the game’s second largest international annual event.
However, fans will be excited for the start of the LPL that begins this weekend.
5. Rocket League
Prize money (2020): $1,500,000
Average prize: $88,235
Prize money (all-time): $8,900,000
Rocket League has recently stepped into the mainstream with the BBC broadcasting the European Spring Series last month.
Previously, Season 9 of the Rocket League Championship Series (RLCS) saw almost $1million paid out across the tournament from February to April.
6. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG)
Prize money (2020): $1,500,000
Average prize: $71,429
Prize money (all-time): $22,000,000
Another esport that has had to cancel a big tournament. In PUBG’s case, the PGS 2020 in Berlin was set to go ahead in April.
The creators have since committed to hosting four events around the world in 2020 as long as it adheres to government advice.
A spokesperson for Unikrn said: “Postponing The International 2020 was the responsible choice from Valve, and it is only making this event larger and more anticipated.
“In the first 24 hours, The International compendium earned $24,000,000 from fans supporting the event, putting it on pace to be the largest esports prize in history.
“This enthusiasm isn’t unique to DOTA 2. Esports are continuing to accelerate in popularity, especially during these unprecedented times.”
** Statistics taken from www.esportsearnings.com (does not include charitable prize money, salaries, earning reductions)
HIGHEST-PAYING ESPORTS OF 2020 (BY PRIZE MONEY)
|2020 prize money||No. of tournaments||Average prize money|
|Rainbow Six: Siege||$4,000,000||18||$222,222|
|League of Legends||$2,900,000||26||$111,538|
|Magic The Gathering||$1,100,000||1||$1,100,000|
|Call of Duty: Modern Warfare||$1,100,000||19||$57,895|
|Arena of Valor||$827,000||2||$413,500|
HIGHEST-PAYING ESPORTS OF ALL-TIME (BY PRIZE MONEY)
|Total Prize Money||2020 prize money||No. of tournaments||Average prize money|
|League of Legends||$75,600,000||$2,900,000||26||$111,538|
|Heroes of Storm||$18,100,000||$4,000||1||$4,000|
|Arena of Valor||$14,600,000||$827,000||2||$413,500|