There is no denying esports’ popularity. Some 397.8 million viewers tuned in during 2019, a figure that rose to 435.9 million in 2020 when the world was forced to stay home. Even when people were allowed to move around more freely in 2021, 474 million people still tuned in to esports broadcasts!
Gone are the days when only esports enthusiasts tuned into broadcasts. The industry now has as many occasional watchers as diehard fans. It is excellent for esports and fantastic for the gaming industry.
Having legitimate superstars is helping esports reach the mainstream. Viewers tune in and cheer their heroes on as they battle it out in esports’ biggest tournaments.
Various esports teams have some incredible players on their books, and with 2022 shaping up to be the industry’s biggest, best, and richest season yet. These three esports stars will be favorites with online sportsbooks to win major titles during the next 12 months.
Ilya “Yatoro” Mulyarchuk
Ilya “Yatoro” Mulyarchuk was most definitely Team Spirit’s MVP in 2021. He was a huge part of Team Spirit going all the way in The International 2021 in Bucharest and taking home the $18,208,300 top prize.
The Dota 2 specialist, who hails from Ukraine, reached the exclusive 11,000 MMR club on April 19, 2021. It only took him until November 7 of the same year to reach 12,000 MMR. Even though he took home an absurd sum of cash, he remains committed to the game.
Just by winning The International 2021, Yatoro stands as one of the highest-earning players in all of esports. However, he is still quite young in his career at this point and still has a lot to prove.
Magomed “Collapse” Khalilov
Magomed “Collapse” Khalilov is a Russian esports star who is an integral part of Team Spirit’s Dota 2 team. Khalilov started playing Dota 2 when he was just 13 years old in 2015 but started playing professionally in 2017.
He joined Team Spirit in 2020 when the franchise signed the roster of Yellow Submarine. Collapse proved to be key to the team’s success, as he posted a breakout performance at The International 2021 alongside Yatoro.
The two relatively young players marked a long overdue youth movement in Dota 2. While there are still many top names that have been competing for over a decade, Yatoro and Collapse are a sign of things to come.
Cheng “NothingToSay” Jin Xiang
Cheng “NothingToSay” Jin Xiang hails from Malaysia and represents PSG.LGD. He achieved 10,000 MMR on March 10, 2020, and improved to 12,000 MMR by May 20, 2021.
NothingToSay enjoyed a career-best 21 kills in a single professional game during the i-League 2021 Season 1 and stands as one of China’s top talents. Like Yatoro and Collapse, NothingToSay is a relatively new face on the professional scene only rising to the top in 2019 with EHOME.
PSG.LGD has looked extremely strong since losing to Team Spirit in the finals of The International 2021, and NothingToSay will potentially carry them to another very strong season.