The Best eSports Leagues to Bet On
The eSports betting industry growing at an exponential rate. As more games are introduced and more leagues are developed, the number of betting opportunities increases accordingly. When electronic sports betting was first introduced, only a handful of leagues were in operation in selected gaming genres. Today, there are multiple eSports leagues in multiple genres available, all with different markets to choose from. Let’s take a look at the very best in the business:
The League of Legends Championship Series
Multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) releases dominate the electronic sports industry, and it is no surprise that League of Legends (LoL) is the most popular. Developed by Riot Games in 2009, LoL eSports betting is the single largest betting market in the industry and the most watched stream on Twitch. Such is the popularity of LoL that is now has over 10 million Twitch followers and more than 100 000 streamers. There are over 2000 active LoL eSports Leagues around the world boasting a total prize purse of just under $50 million.
Defence of the Ancients 2 (DOTA 2) was the king of MOBA games until League of Legends took its place. Developed and released by Valve, DOTA 2 defines the genre and boasts the highest prize pool in the industry at just over $126 million. Just about all eSports betting sites offer DOTA markets in some form or another. While it has a steeper learning curve and more complicated gameplay compared to LoL, it still has over 4 million Twitch followers and around 52 thousand streamers.
Counterstrike: Global Offensive
Counterstrike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) is the single most popular first-person shooter (FPS) game on the planet. Launched in 2012, Counterstrike has the most active professional players with over 8500 people dedicating their time and energy to playing competitively. It also has 9 million followers on Twitch and around 50 thousand streamers. There have been around 3000 CS:GO tournaments held to date, with a total prize pool exceeding $40 million and no signs of slowing down.
Described as a hero shooter, Overwatch (OW) was released by Blizzard a few years ago and has already exceeded all their expectations. In some ways Overwatch is bigger than LoL eSports betting since Blizzard pushed for a traditional US sports style setup. It has an official league with a set of permanent teams that compete in a regular season. They have also secured major sponsorship, which has led to over 600 tournaments and a prize pool of more than $5 million.
Global StarCraft II
StarCraft II holds the honour of being the most popular Real Time Strategy (RTS) release in the world. It is also one of the most active eSports games in the betting industry with all top-rated sites offering markets on domestic and international leagues. Developed by Blizzard and launched in 2010, StarCraft II started dropping in popularity until Blizzard made it free-to-play in 2017. This dramatically renewed its status as a leading electronic sports title racking up over 4500 tournaments. The total prize pool to date extends over $25 million with massive tournaments scheduled for the upcoming months.
The ELEAGUE shortened to EL is the biggest and most popular eSports league for Counterstrike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) . First played in 2016, the ELEAGUE is now an annual tournament that consists of 24 teams who compete in a regular season as well as a post season (playoffs). The playoff teams then compete for the championship title. Recently they reduced the number of teams to 16 while running the tournament over a 10-week period. This was to make way for a second game in the form of Street Fighter, which runs on the same format.
The Electronic Sports League (ESL) is the world’s biggest eSports company. All top-rated eSports betting sites offer markets and tournaments run by the ESL. The company currently host 9 official teams for multiple games. The ESL Pro is the top tier of for each tournament and is only available to teams that have qualified through the season. The teams are sponsored and receive massive payouts for making it to the finals, and winning outright. Some of the titles that fall under the ESL Pro category include CS:GO, Gears of War, Hearthstone, Halo 5, Mortal Kombat X and Overwatch.
Player Unknown’s Battleground
Player Unknown’s Battleground (PUBG) is one of the newest releases to hit the electronic sports circuit. Described as a Battle Royale Shooter, PUBG is rapidly becoming one the most popular eSports games in the industry with new interest each month. It had its first major tournament in July with a prize pool of $2 million. Despite still having a few bugs and issues to sort out, it has gained the attention of a professional players all around the world who are quickly putting together teams in anticipation of more frequent competitive events.
World of Tanks may be considered a niche game in the industry, but it does have a dedicated following and one of the biggest eSports Leagues for competitive gaming. The premier league for World of Tanks is Wargaming.net, which was first run in 2017 with great success. The inaugural tournament was a hit with gamers, viewers and betting enthusiasts around the world. The Grand Finals was broadcast to an audience of over 3.5 million. Wargaming.net is currently going through an overhaul to make the tournament more competitive with larger prizes and a broader reach.