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What is eSports?

eSports is the term used for any video game that is played competitively in a competition or tournament. In the most popular eSports, such as League of Legends and Dota 2 , the competitions are characterised by professional players, often competing over a number of days and weeks for significant prize money. In fact, the prize fund for the Dota 2 tournament The International is worth more than $20million, of which $9million goes to the winning team.

Types of eSports

eSports is quite a broad term for competitive video gaming and, within that, there are various different genres of games. The most popular are multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games such as League of Legends, but there are also first person shooters (FPS) including Call of Duty, collectible card games like Hearthstone and real-time strategy (RTS) games such as Starcraft II. Drone racing has also become hugely popular in recent years, offering an alternative to sitting at a computer or console.

Each type of game has its pros and cons, boiling down to personal taste as to which type of game you will find most interesting. If you want to find out more, head over to our How to Play section where we give you a guide to playing each of the big eSport games.

eSports Tournaments

The tournaments can work a couple of different ways, with the most popular beginning with a round robin group stage, before the top teams take part in knockout rounds to determine the overall champion. The group stage could run over a couple of weeks or could take place in the space of a few days, depending on the tournament. Alternatively, some tournaments will utilise a knockout format from the start, where teams go head-to-head and, if you win, you go through, lose and you’re out. The team left at the end is crowned as champions. Unlike other sports, its not out of the ordinary for eSports teams to have more than two or three fixtures a day depending on the game.

eSports Growth

There is no sport growing quite like eSports, with revenues increasing year-on-year and online viewers reaching the hundreds of millions. The total revenue for the sport, including media rights, advertising and sponsorship, in 2015 was $325 million, which grew to an estimated $493million in 2016. It’s expected to keep rising to $696million in 2017 and shoot well past $1billion by the year 2020.

Fans on platforms like Twitch or YouTube are also driving the market crazy, with well over 300 million views notched up worldwide. Twitch, the biggest website in the world for streaming and watching eSports videos, hosts more than nine million daily active users.

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