The new decade is here and with it a new chapter in the esports scene, which is expanding at a rapid pace in popularity, number of esports game titles and ultimately the number of esports events and tournaments. 2019 was a huge year for esports, with a plethora of magnificent events that took place all over the world, yet it's safe to say 2020 will be bigger and better than any year before.
With the return of some long-standing tournaments and introduction of new titles, 2020 will not leave any esports fan indifferent, as we will get bombarded with esports action throughout the whole year. That said, there are a few esports tournaments/events which take the cake as the most anticipated and biggest events of the year. Here is our list for Top 7 biggest esports events of 2020.
The International 2020 (August 18-23, 2020)
The International (TI) is an annual Dota 2 world championship tournament, which is hosted and produced by Valve, a developer and publisher of Dota 2. TI saw its beginning in 2011 and has since established itself as one of the biggest esports events of the year, featuring the cream of the crop of the Dota 2 competitive scene.
This year will mark the 10th instalment of the International and just like any year before, it promises to be bigger, better and more prestigious as ever before. The said tournament has gained notoriety for offering the highest prize pools in the esports world, breaking the world record year after year. As of today, TI holds the world record for the highest prize pool in the history of esports with $34,330,068 awarded to the teams and players last year. What's more, is that number one through five on the leaderboard for the highest prize pools all belong to TI (2015-2019).
Whether TI10 will break yet another record for the highest prize pool in the history of esports tournaments is anyone's guess. Considering its prize pot mostly consists of community contributions via in-game sales and the fact that Dota 2 is experiencing a drop in its player base, there is a reason to believe TI10 might offer a lower prize pool, however, we can be sure Valve will find a way to keep the dream alive.
Fortnite World Cup 2 (TBA)
Fortnite came out of the blue and quickly became one of the biggest games in the esports scene. Its first iteration of Fortnite World Cup, which took place in summer of 2019 took the world by storm, as it offered huge prize pools, which allowed a few of the best Fortnite players to become overnight sensations, pocketing millions upon millions in tournament winnings.
The 2019 Fortnite World Cup was divided into two stages - Solos and Duos, each with their own prize pools which reached $15,287,500.00 and $15,100,000.00 respectively, making it the sixth and seventh best-paid esports tournament in the history.
While there are not a lot of details available for 2020 Fortnite World Cup, Epic Games have announced they are determined to bring back the tournament, with more information about the prize pool and dates set to be available sometime in 2020. There are rumours which suggest the next instalment of Fortnite World Cup will have Trios mode, which, if proven to be true will without a doubt make Fortnite World Cup 2 one of, if not the biggest esports event of the year.
Call of Duty League (January 24, 2020 - TBA)
After much anticipation, Activision Blizzard finally established a professional league around one of the biggest and most iconic games in the world. Call of Duty esports scene dates back to early 2000, making it one of the longest-standing esports titles in the world, which is set to receive its own franchised league this January.
Call of Duty League is set to kick off on January 24, 2020, and it will mark a new stepping stone in the CoD esports scene, featuring some of the most prominent players and 12 teams competing for $6 million prize pool and the title of inaugural CDL Champions.
Unlike other tournaments, CDL, will not be a single event, but rather a full-blown league, featuring Home Series weekends, where eight teams will meet and compete for CDL points. The Call of Duty League will culminate with the playoffs, where the top eight teams will duke it out for the title.
Despite this being the inaugural season, CDL promises to be the biggest CoD event in the history of the game and the fans will expect nothing less from the Activision-ran tournament. Will CDL reach those expectations, however, remains to be seen, but we won't have to wait for too long before we get a definitive answer.
Overwatch League - Season 3 (February 8, 2020 - TBA)
The Overwatch League is the largest Overwatch tournament in the world, featuring 20 teams from all over the globe competing for a shot at glory. The 2020 OWL will offer $5 million in the prize pool, making it one of the most lucrative esports events of the year.
OWL S3 is set to kick off on February 8, 2020, and will be played in four stages running from February to August 9, 2020. The season will be played in 19 different cities, where the teams will host their homestand weekends. The opening events are set to be played in New York and Dallas, the home of New York Excelsior and Dallas Fuel.
Just like any year before, OWL is expected to draw in masses of people who will tune in and watch their favourite players and teams duke it out in the arena. While there are some concerns with the league as a whole due to the recent announcement which unveiled the departure of some prominent on-air talents, the 2020 OWL holds the potential to be the biggest and most successful season to date.
Evo 2020 Championship Series (July 31 – August 2, 2020)
Evolution Championship Series is an annual esports event that focuses exclusively on fighting games such as Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition, Tekken 7, Mortal Kombat, Super Smash Bros., and more.
It represents the largest and longest-running fighting game tournament in the world, dating back to 1996 when players competed in Super Street Fighter II Turbo and Street Fighter Alpha 2.
While not one of the most-watched esports events, EVO has its own special charm, as it allows spectators who attend the event to play against some of the best players in the world. While there is zero to no chance a spectator can win, it's still a great experience for anyone, as he gets to see what it's like to play against those regarded as "the best in the game".
The 2020 EVO will take place in Las Vegas July 31 – August 2, 2020 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada, and it will feature players compete in nine fighting game titles - Street Fighter V, Tekken7, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Mortal Kombat 11, Soulcalibur VI, Under Night In-Birth, Dragon Ball FighterZ, Samurai Showdown and BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle
IEM Katowice 2020 (February 28 - March 1, 2020)
IEM Katowice will return this February 2020 as the first Masters-level Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament which will be played as a part of the new ESL Pro Tour.
The event will be played from February 28 to March 1 in the Spodek Arena in Katowice, Poland, where the tournament series initially began in 2014. That said, unlike previous IEM Katowice, this tournament will not be a Valve-sponsored Major but instead be a $500,000 event which will count towards the IGS S3.
Nonetheless, IEM Katowice still retain the tag as one of the most anticipated CS:GO events of the year, featuring some of the strongest CS:GO teams in the world, who will duke it out at a historic arena, which never fails to produce a spectacle that can easily be regarded as one of the biggest events in esports.
League of Legends World Championship (TBA)
No esports event list is complete without League of Legends World Championship, which is regarded as the biggest and most popular esports event in the world, and for all the right reasons.
LoL Worlds brings together the best League of Legends teams from all corners of the world who duke it out for a shot at lifting the Summoner's Cup and be crowned as the World Champions, which also earns them their own personalized in-game skins in commemoration of their success. While the said tournaments fails to compete with the likes of TI in terms of the prize pool ($ 2,225,000 in 2019), it more than makes up in viewership numbers and overall appeal of the tournament.
The 2020 LoL Worlds will mark the ninth instalment of the tournament and the second time in history it will be played in China, the home of the reigning World Champions - FunPlus Phoenix. That said, Riot Games have yet to announced any details of the event besides the format, which will see 24 teams from 14 countries compete for the ultimate glory.
Honourable mentions: Blizzcon 2020, Rocket League Championship, FIFA eWorld Cup, StarCraft II World Championship, Smite World Championship, HALO Championship Series, PUBG Mobile World League.