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The biggest esports tournaments and leagues in 2019

All around the world, esports are on the rise and they don’t look to be slowing down any time soon. Whether you want to tune in for a few hours of action-packed tournament gameplay between the top pros or follow your favorite team week after week in your favorite game’s league, we’ve got you covered.

Note that only standalone tournaments, not playoffs that take place at the end of a season, are included in the list of esports tournaments. Keep reading for the top esports tournaments and top esports leagues in 2019.

Top eSports tournaments

The International

Date: August 15-20, 2019

The International is the premier Dota 2 tournament that attracts teams from around the world. Starting in the third year of the tournament in 2013, Valve has sweetened the pot by adding 25% of the total sales of the in game Battle Pass to the prize pool. This instantly made it one of the best paid esports tournaments in the world, with the 2018 edition reaching more than $25 million in total prize money.

The International 2019 is set to take place from August 15-20 in Shanghai’s Mercedes-Benz Arena. Teams will vie for one of the 18 spots available by competing in a series of smaller tournaments known as the Dota Pro Circuit. If 2018 was any indication, the first place prize is likely to top $11 million.

Intel Extreme Masters

Date: February 13 – March 2, 2019

Intel Extreme Masters is one of the longest running series of esports tournaments around. It features a number of tournaments in different locations around the world, capped off with a World Championship. This final tournament typically takes place in Katowice, with separate prize pools and brackets for each game.

The most recent Intel Extreme Masters took place in from February 13 – March 2. It included CS:GO (the 14th Major tournament), Dota 2, Starcraft II, and for the first time ever, Fortnite: Battle Royale. Smaller IEM tournaments will still be held throughout the year, with an additional $1 million prize for the first time to win four eligible tournaments in a single year.

CS:GO Major Tournaments

Date: August 20 -September 8, 2019

Counter Strike: Global Offensive Major Tournaments, known simply as Majors, are biannual esports tournaments sponsored by the game’s developer, Valve Corporation. It’s widely considered the most prestigious CS:GO tournament, with players from around the globe competing. Although the prize money is supplied by Valve, the tournaments themselves are organized by other esports orgs, including ESL, Major League Gaming, and DreamHack.

The most recent Major took place at the Intel Extreme Masters XIII, with Danish squad Astralis winning first place and $500,000. The Fall edition is set to take place in Berlin, and will feature 24 teams from the four qualifying regions: Americas, Asia, CIS, and Europe.

Overwatch World Cup


Date: November 2-3, 2019

The Overwatch World Cup features many of the same players as the Overwatch League, but this time they are competing for their home countries rather than their esports organizations. in 2018, four countries hosted qualifying tournaments for six nations, with the top two teams moving on to the finals at BlizzCon.

So far, no nations have been able to match the South Korean players’ prowess, with all three first place trophies heading to the esports-friendly nation. It’s worth noting that players aren’t in it for the money, as all participating teams receive the same prize of $16,000. This can often lead to interesting strategies and wacky hijinks in-game.

Fortnite World Cup Finals

Date: July 26-28, 2019

The Fortnite World Cup Finals bring with them a prize pool worthy of the world’s most popular game: $40 million. That’s nearly half of the $100 million that Epic Games pledged for 2019 to make their hit game into an esports juggernaut. Although the game’s suitability for competitive play is questionable, the sheer size of the pool has drawn players and streamers from a variety of backgrounds to play.

Weekly qualifiers kick off April 13, with a prize pool of $1 million to be distributed among successful contestants. From there, the top 100 solo players and the top 50 duo players will be invited to New York City for the Fortnite World Cup Finals. Each qualifying player will earn at least $50,000, with the top solo player taking home $30 million.

Evolution Championship Series

Date: August 2-4, 2019

If you’re a fan of fighting games, odds are you’ve already heard of the Evolution Championship Series, or Evo for short. Evo is easily the biggest esports tournament in the genre, growing year after year since its start more than 20 years ago in 1996.

This year’s tournament is set to take place in Las Vegas from August 2-4. It will feature brackets for a variety of fighting games, including Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Tekken 7, Street Fighter V, Dragonball FighterZ, and others.

Top eSports Leagues

Overwatch League

Blizzard Entertainment

The Overwatch League, or OWL, has just entered its second season, with a total prize pool of $5 million. If you haven’t heard of it, OWL is Blizzard-Activision’s official esports league for their hit first-person hero shooter Overwatch. In 2018, it was the most watched esports league, mostly because of the sheer number of hours the league was broadcast.

The action is spread out across a 28-match schedule with four, five-week long stages. Each stage concludes with a playoff tournament for the honor of becoming the Stage Champions, but the real prize is after the end of the fourth stage. The OWL season 2 grand finals (not to be confused with the Overwatch World Cup above), will have the top teams vying to become the season 2 champions and take home the $1 million prize that comes with it.

League of Legends Championship Series

This year Riot Games’ official League of Legends esports league underwent a rebranding, with the NALCS changing to the LCS, and the EULCS switching to the League European Championship (LEC).  Other popular regions like China’s LPL and Korea’s LCK remain unchanged.

The season is divided into two sections, the Spring and Summer splits, with a short split playoff game and mid-season Invitational tournament tucked between them. The real excitement is at the League of Legends World Championship, which brings together the top teams from all regions to compete for the cup. Last year’s tournament drew nearly 75 million viewers, making it the most watched esports event of the year.

Call of Duty World League

While most first-person shooter competitions take place at esports tournaments, Activision set up a league for the Call of Duty franchise. This year the league enters its fourth season, with all matches played on the PS4 versin of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4.

Unlike last season, this season the action is all 5v5 team modes, including Hardpoint, Search & Destroy, and Control game types. The finals are scheduled for some time in August of this year. Before you get excited, no, the recently added battle royale mode will not be played in the league.

Rocket League Championship Series

The esports League for Psyonix’s car-soccer hit Rocket League is back again in 2019 with $1 million in prizes. This year an additional region has been added as South America joins the existing American and European regions.

After a series of qualifiers, the action will kick off in early April. There is also a secondary Rival league for teams that fail to qualify for the main league with $100,000 in prize money.

PUBG Global Championship

Fortnite may have dethroned PUBG in the fight for battle royale supremacy, but PUBG is pushing back with the introduction of the PUBG Global Championship in 2019. The season is divided into three phases, each of which is followed by one or more international tournaments.

There are six regional Pro Leagues in the inaugural season: North America, Europe, Korea, Japan, China, and Chinese Taipei. There are also three smaller “Pro Circuit” regions for Southeast Asia, Latin America, and Oceana. Each will host its own regional events before sending the top teams to compete internationally. The PUBG Global Championship finals are set to take place some time in November.

Mobile esports on the rise

Mobile esports are still small in comparison with their PC and console peers, but here are a few mobile esport tournaments and leagues to check out.

  • Clash Royale League — Supercell’s official esports league for their hit arena strategy game, Clash Royale.
  • Valor Series — The premier esports league for Arena of Valor entered its third year in February.
  • Vainglory — The mobile MOBA is featured regularly at international tournaments and even has a pro league called the Vainglory Premier League.


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