2020 was a disruptive year for esports with almost all live tournaments cancelled around the globe. The biggest disappointment was the cancellation of The International 2020, a Dota 2 event that was supposed to happen in Stockholm, Sweden. However, amidst the global crisis was an opportunity for the sport to grow with more fans and investors coming on board.
The outlook for esports is great with total viewership expected to grow at a 9% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) until 2023. But as the industry revs up in 2021, there are some amazing events coming up. There are some excellent betting offers for new and existing players that can be used on these esports tournaments.
The Intel Extreme Masters IEM Season XV World Championships in Katowice heralded a return to normalcy to esport after a tumultuous 2020. The Counter-Strike event featured fierce competition with top-ranked teams such as TEAM VITALITY, Natus Vincere, G2 Esports, and ASTRALIS and $1 million on the line.
In addition, there are 16 more teams including Cloud9, Gambit Esports, Renegades, Team Liquid, and more that came together to deliver the first proper international event since the start of the crisis. Teams worked their way into IEM Katowice 2021 in a series of regional events and when they came together it made for the best event seen since the StarLadder Berlin Major.
Of course there are other IEM events to look forward to including the IEM Summer 2021 in June, IEM Fall 2021 in October and IEM Winter 2021 in December, which is expected to be held in one Asian country.
While details about the second season of The Call of Duty League Championship aren’t clear, there’s still a lot of hype around the esports event. The new season is dedicated to Black Ops Cold War with teams fielding rosters of four rather than five players.
While no new teams are joining, there have been a lot of activities around the existing teams which promises to enhance the competition.
2020 was a disastrous year for Overwatch but 2021 promises to get things back on the tracks. The season kicks off in April 2021 with all 20 teams set to start the action fielded full rosters. The season will play out in four tournament cycles, with teams divided into two groups based on their location for the season.
The Eastern teams in China and South Korea are Guangzhou Charge, Hangzhou Spark, New York Excelsior, Philadelphia Fusion, the Chengdu Hunters, Seoul Dynasty, Los Angeles Valiant, and Shanghai Dragons.
The West consists of 12 teams in Europe and North America namely, Dallas Fuel, Houston Outlaws, London Spitfire, the Atlanta Reign, Boston Uprising, Florida Mayhem San Francisco Shock, Vancouver Titans, Toronto Defiant, Washington Justice, Los Angeles Gladiators, and Paris Eternal.
There’s a promise of action on YouTube and an improved digital fan experience to top what was available in 2020. With most teams retooling in preparation for the new season, Overwatch offers plenty of excitement and thrills for fans.
The League of Legends World Championship is always a unique spectacle and in 2021, the tournament takes place in Shenzen, China.
According to Riot’s Games’ global head of esports John Needham, the return to China is a tribute to the biggest league and tens of millions of longtime fans. Of course many teams would love to redeem themselves on the international stage, especially those from LCS after none progressed from the group stage and into the playoffs.
With a new rebranding campaign and change of logo, the company seems ready to challenge for titles now. Team rosters have also changed as teams seek to bolster their talent to challenge for the LoL championship.
The Rainbow Six Invitational is moving from Montreal to Paris. The annual professional Rainbow Six Siege tournament hosted by Ubisoft, the game’s developer and publisher, features the best Siege teams from all around the globe and a prize pool of $3 million. The number of teams taking part also rises to 20 from 16, but while this is an offline event, there will be no audience.
There’s so much to look forward to for esports fans in 2021. A lot has changed over the last one year but what remains unchanged is the desire and motivation of teams and sponsors to win. This promises to give fans a lot of sporting action for the year.