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|
Team Vitality and Lille Olympique Sporting Club Renew Their Partnership
Leading global esports organisation Team Vitality and Ligue 1 club Lille Olympique Sporting Club (LOSC), the 2021 French football champion and founding club of the eLigue 1 Uber Eats, announced the renewal of their partnership for the 2024 season. This renewed partnership solidifies the club’s commitment to excellence in competition and has brought together a formidable duo that will perform on the French EA SPORTS FC 24 scene. The two French clubs have joined forces for a second consecutive year to compete in French EA SPORTS FC esports.
Team Vitality and LOSC eSports introduced Ilian Bouchi as its newest recruit to the EA SPORTS FC 24 team. Coming from the north of France, Ilian is a die-hard football fan who discovered his talent for FIFA games with his family as a child, before being scouted for his potential soon after his first competitions.
Known for his exceptional mechanics, Ilian quickly ranked amongst the top players in Europe. He will focus his talents on achieving the clubs’ goals of dominating the eLigue 1 Uber Eats and taking the scene by storm. His arrival reflects the commitment of Team Vitality and LOSC eSports commitment to recruiting top young talent and remaining at the forefront of competition.
Ilian Bouchi said: “I am honoured to join a team as prestigious as Team Vitality and LOSC eSports. It’s a privilege to play alongside Rocky, having followed his career when I was younger and seen them evolve as a player. As a LOSC supporter myself, I’m really looking forward to representing the club for this upcoming season. I will do my best to take the team as far as possible.”
Team Vitality appointed Johann Simon, better known as “Maniika”, as coach of the team. The ex-professional player has over a decade of experience in FIFA games and has participated in several World Cups with several titles to his name including, eLigue 1 Champion (2017) and Dreamhack Champion (2016). This season will be the beginning of his new path into coaching. Finally, Olivier “NephaleM” Morizet takes on the role of Team Manager to support the team throughout the year.
Johann “ManiiKa” Simon said: “I am delighted to start this new adventure, particularly for a huge organisation like Team Vitality and a club like LOSC! I can’t wait to work with the team and help them conquer eLigue1.”
Just like last year, the two clubs are keen to stand out during eLigue 1 Uber Eats with the ultimate goal of winning the league and qualifying for the FIFAe World Cup.
The team will continue to wear the Team Vitality x LOSC mixed jersey with the colours of red and white which stands as a symbol of the collaboration. The team will also continue to train at Team Vitality’s V.Performance bootcamp, in the famous Stade de France. They will also have access to the prestigious Domaine de Luchin training centre and headquarters of LOSC.
“Signing LOSC for a second year is an incredible opportunity for our two clubs. LOSC is a club that shares our vision of excellence in competition, whether that is in esports or traditional sports. We can’t wait for the season to begin to see this new duo evolve together,” Nicolas Maurer, CEO & Co-founder of Team Vitality, said.
“We’re delighted to renew our collaboration with Team Vitality who are one of Europe’s leading esports organisations, after a successful first year together. Team Vitality is an ambitious organisation, and so is LOSC! We’re all competitors, and by combining our strengths and shared values, we look to achieve our highest goals. We welcome Ilian and Maniika who’ll join Rocky and the team. We hope they have a great season in EA Sports FC esports,” Olivier Letang, President and CEO of LOSC, said.
LEC Introduces Sporting Financial Regulations
To support the long-term financial stability and competitive balance of the LEC, the league is going to introduce new financial regulations – known as Sporting Financial Regulations (SFR) – for the start of the 2024 LoL Esports Season.
The LEC SFR will encourage teams to maintain the total sum of its five highest-paid player salaries below a certain threshold, with teams exceeding the threshold having to pay an excess fee (SFR Fee).
In doing so, the LEC seeks to create a financially sustainable environment for its pro players, partnered teams, and the league itself, allowing all parties to grow at a healthy and scalable pace, and protect the ecosystem from unsustainable spending practices. In addition, the framework will support the league by creating a better competitive balance and more engaging competition, further enhancing the experience for players and fans.
“In the current economic climate, we are dedicated more than ever to creating a sustainable future for our players, teams, and the LoL Esports ecosystem in EMEA as a whole. The LEC SFR, which will come into effect from the beginning of the 2024 Season, is one way in which we’re continuing to work towards our goal of long-term financial sustainability. By doing this, we aim to encourage teams to operate more sustainable businesses to provide job security for players and ensure we serve our fans for decades to come,” said Maximilian Peter Schmidt, Director of League of Legends Esports EMEA.
SFR will encourage each team to maintain the total sum of salaries (known as SFR Spend) paid to the top five highest-paid players in a team within a certain range. The range includes both an upper spending threshold (SFR Threshold) and a lower spending threshold (SFR Floor), with the lower spending threshold amounting to 50% of the SFR Threshold. Meanwhile, the SFR Threshold is calculated based on a number of considerations, including LEC player salaries, League Revenue Pool of the current and forecasted years, team financial data – such as revenue and expenses – and other market indicators. Teams that exceed the SFR Threshold will be imposed with an SFR Fee.
An exception will be made to teams if a player enters into a contract with the team either during or before the end of the 2023 LEC Season Finals. In this instance, the SFR Spend will be reduced by one-fifth of the SFR Threshold or the actual salary amount; whichever is lower.
The policy will be introduced starting from the 2024 LEC Global Contract Start Date (21 November 2023), with the first cycle running until the 2024 LEC Global Contract End Date (18 November 2024).
Abios Powers Nigerian Esports Betting Brand Oyawin with Data and Widgets
As part of Kambi Group, Abios powers Nigerian sports betting brand Oyawin with odds and statistics from the largest matches and tournaments in esports.
Oyawin, the newly launched mobile-first sportsbook, allows Nigerian esports fans to access a wide range of statistics, as well as streams and odds from top esports matches, directly on their phones.
Abios has supplied 1337Pro with data and statistics for the largest esports titles, including CS:GO, Dota 2 and League of Legends, for years. The organisation has expanded from being a media platform to include a sportsbook solution and Oyawin, a sports betting brand registered in Nigeria.
With the help of Abios’ product portfolio, Oyawin can provide a comprehensive esports solution to Nigerian bettors. It is focused on tier 1 esports titles, including CS:GO, League of Legends and VALORANT. With access to Abios’ full portfolio, Oyawin can engage their audiences with engaging content such as player props, data visualisations and embedded streams.
It also features Abios’ esoccer solution, allowing fans to engage with engaging around-the-clock content supported by widgets and streams.
Oskar Bonnevier Fröberg, CEO and Founder of Abios comments: “To support the growth of esports in Nigeria, we’re delighted to supply Oyawin with our esports odds, statistics and data visualisations. It allows Nigerian bettors to discover and get access to engaging content for the largest tournaments in esports.”
Jason Foster, Managing Director of 1337Pro Bet: “Abios data has powered 1337pro.com for years, from fixtures, statistics and results to live stream links. We have now extended this success with full odds and trading integration for Oyawin. The platform’s successful launch has given us complete confidence in Abios and our products. We look forward to delighting our sportsbook operators.”
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