Everything you should know about Top eSports

To a generation where Tetris, Super Mario, and Pac-Man represented the apex of gaming technology, there may be some confusion about why eSports is now a multi-million dollar industry, where competitors win hundreds of thousands of pounds and untold glory.

Our article below explores why eSports is rivalling athletic sports for events to bet on, why it is proving so popular, and how much money is being pumped into the practice.

Cybersport History

What is eSports - History

The history of eSports, or competitive video gaming, can be traced back to the 1970s when the first video game competitions occurred.

However, it was only in the late 1990s and early 2000s that eSports began to gain significant traction, coinciding with the internet's rise and gaming technology advancements.

In 2002, Major League Gaming (MLG) was established as a professional eSports organisation, hosting tournaments for games such as 'Halo' and drawing in large audiences. Since then, eSports have grown exponentially in popularity and scale.

According to a study by Newzoo in 2020, the global eSports market was valued at nearly $950 million, demonstrating its undeniable appeal and widespread acceptance.

A report from Statista suggests the worldwide eSports market revenue could top a value of US$4.3bn in 2024. The study also predicts an an annual growth rate (CAGR 2024-2028) of 7.10%, - a trajectory that will mean the market gets to US$5.7bn by 2028.

How does eSports work?

A fair question - given that the entire premise of watching eSports and enjoying it as sporting entertainment depends on the viewer's engagement. It depends a lot on the game type and the scoring systems designed within the game's framework.

Players compete individually or as teams in strategy-based games, requiring high skill, coordination, and strategic planning like in most popular table games.

These games are broadcast live online, primarily on streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube. Tournaments range from small local events to significant international championships with multi-million dollar prizes. The popularity of eSports is supported by a robust community of passionate fans who follow and engage with their favourite players and teams. Supporters will frequently subscribe to these platforms to follow their favourite gamers.


eSports betting - List of most popular games

A wide array of eSports is available for betting - we have picked out a few popular ones that attract a lot of punter money.

  1. League of Legends (LoL): This is a multiplayer online battle arena game where players work in teams to destroy the core structure in the enemy base.

  2. Dota 2: Another multiplayer online battle arena game where teams compete to destroy a large structure defended by the opposing team.

  3. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO): Here, teams assume the roles of either terrorists or counter-terrorists and battle each other with varying objectives.

  4. Overwatch: This team-based first-person shooter game has players work together to secure and defend control points on a map or escort a payload.

  5. Call of Duty: This first-person shooter game has various modes, such as a battle royale mode and classic multiplayer, that create varied betting opportunities.

What are the top teams in eSports?

Worldwide Popular eSports Teams

Several teams have consistently maintained their dominance in the dynamic world of eSports. At the upper echelons, Team Liquid, a multinational professional eSports organisation based in the Netherlands, is known for its prowess in games such as Dota 2 and League of Legends.

FaZe Clan from the United States is another force to reckon with, particularly in First Person Shooter (FPS) games.

South Korea's T1, with multiple championships in League of Legends, is considered one of the most successful in the eSports sphere.

Finally, G2 Esports, headquartered in Berlin, Germany, excel in several games, including League of Legends, Hearthstone, and Rocket League.


eSports bet Market Types

Again, it depends on the mechanics of the eSport in question, but generally, you can find a variation of these types of pre-match and outright betting markets:

  1. Match Winner: This is the most common eSports betting market. It involves betting which team or player will win a match in a larger tournament.

  2. Tournament Winner: In this market, bettors place wagers on which team or player they expect to win an entire tournament.

  3. First Map Winner: Gamblers bet on who they think will win the first map in games where the outcome is decided over several rounds or maps.

  4. Handicap Betting: This involves giving one team a virtual advantage or disadvantage, making the betting more balanced when one team is highly favoured.

  5. Total Rounds/Maps: Bettors wager on the total number of rounds or maps that will be played in a match, regardless of the match's outcome.

Most Popular eSports Tournaments

As we might have already mentioned, eSports tournaments are very much in vogue - but there a few that stand out from the crowd in terms of viewing figures, prize money, and the standard of player participating.

Here are the top three:

The International Dota 2 Championships

Boasting the largest single-tournament prize pool in eSports, it is the crowning event of the Dota Pro Circuit Season finale. In recent years, Team Spirit have enjoyed lots of success - winning two of the previous three events. The first-ever International was held in 2011 - that event was won by Ukrainian eSports team Natus Vincere. Since 2022, 20 teams in total compete.

League of Legends World Championship

Arguably the most prestigious of all the eSports tournaments, the League of Legends World Championships is the culmination of the season’s League Championship Series (LCS), where players compete for a multi-million dollar prize and the iconic Summoner's Cup.

Its popularity among the eSports community is unbeatable - a record-breaking 6.4 million tuned in to watch the 2023 final, which was won by T1 - a Korean esports team operated by T1 Entertainment & Sports that also happens to have won the most LoL World Championships in history.

The LoL eSports schedule has the World Championships taking place every year around autumn time, though the exact dates can vary.

Intel Extreme Masters

The Intel Extreme Masters is a premier eSports tournament organized by ESL, one of the world's largest eSports companies. It features top teams and players from around the globe competing in popular games such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, League of Legends, and StarCraft II.

Unlike the other tournaments listed above, the Intel Extreme Masters encompasses several eSports and is regularly attended by some of the biggest talent in the world of eSports - with teams from FaZe Clan, Fnatic, and Team Spirit.

Female eSports

Females make up almost 50% of the world’s gamer population, but the eSports landscape has garnered criticism in recent years for not reflecting that fact at major events and tournaments throughout the year.

Indeed, a report from the BBC in 2021 revealed there were no female players in the top 300 earners in eSports - a damning revelation given the amount of prize money up for grabs.

The industry has been taking steps to address the deficit - there are several eSports tournaments available exclusively to female players, such as Impact Katowice, Women of the eRena, and Astral Clash. However, the prize money pales in comparison to the bigger events, which appears to be dominated by male players.

What devices do competitors use when involved in eSports?

What devices do competitors use?

Competitors in eSports typically use high-performance devices to maintain their edge. These may include advanced gaming PCs with powerful processors, high refresh rate monitors, and graphics cards that ensure smooth and highly detailed visuals.

In addition to PCs, gamers may use specialised gaming consoles, such as PlayStation, Xbox, or Nintendo Switch, depending on the game being played. The gaming mouse and keyboards, often with programmable buttons and sensitivity adjustments, are crucial in providing precision control. Furthermore, high-quality headsets are also commonly used for clear communication and better in-game audio experience.

Is there a regulatory body in eSports?

Is there a regulatory body in competitive gaming?

This is a topic up for constant discussion within the eSports community. Currently, the fairness and integrity of a competition is overseen by the game developers in question. For example, the World Series of Warzone is organised by and officiated by its makers - Activision.

There are several compelling arguments for the introduction of an independent authority for eSports - much like FIFA in football.

Proponents point to standardising rules, which vary widely across tournaments and games. They also emphasise the need for player protection, as the lack of regulation can lead to exploitation, unfair contracts, or cheating.

Additionally, the absence of a unified regulatory body may engender issues related to match-fixing and even doping. Therefore, implementing a regulatory body could help establish a fair, safe, and competitive environment in the rapidly evolving eSports industry.

Are there risks to betting on eSports?

Are there risks to betting on eSports?

There are risks to betting on all sports - but with eSports, there is a sense that bettors need to understand the arena comprehensively for the best chance of winning some money.

That means researching each player meticulously, playing styles and how they will match up to their opponent, which player is in form, and so on.

Furthermore, the lack of any regulatory body means you are relying on the integrity of the competition and the organiser's ability to crack down on cheating and match-fixing. Although highly effective measures are in place to guard against these issues, we are still in the early years of this betting type. Only bet what you can afford to lose.


Fast, exciting, and extremely well-funded, the only way is up for eSports, both as a competitive sport and what it offers the betting world.

There is no telling what the future holds in this arena, especially given the advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR) headsets, and other technological elements.

Whatever happens, it could be an exciting ride!

Dmitry Rogalchuk
With over 5 years of experience in iGaming, Dmitry Rogalchuk leads a content team at CasinoCanada, ensuring that every article on the CasinoCanada website is informative and engaging for our readers.
Head of Content
The University of British Columbia
The University of British Columbia & McGill University degrees, strategic marketing & content leadership expertise, sales strategies development
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Last updated on: 19.03.2024

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