If there is one thing growing as fast as eSports it might be an interest in betting on them. PayPerHead bookie agents need to be on the pulse of this emerging industry and this preview of events to look forward to in 2020 is the place to start.
When the eSports betting landscape was in its infancy it was both informal and dicey. But, as the sport has mushroomed into a multi-billion dollar industry, the betting world has taken notice and sportsbooks legitimized wagering on video games.
Nowadays, hundreds of millions of dollars are risked on eSports and the interest just keeps growing.
With that in mind, we thought it prudent to offer a preview of some of the major leagues involved and their major tournaments coming down the pipe in 2020.
Call of Duty League: Events every other weekend from January 24th – June 28th, 2020
For those familiar with the eSports landscape its amazing to realize that this will be the first year that Activision will host an official tournament for the popular franchise. Considering COD has been played online since 2004, it seems they would have gotten around to it before now but better late than never.
With over $6M in prize money being offered, it is sure to be a hugely popular tournament for players and fans of the first-person shooter.
The tournament kicks off this week with a match between the Chicago Huntsmen and Dallas Empire which takes place in the picturesque Minnesota Armory. These are two of the more popular and successful teams heading into the league with a history of strong performances in previous tournaments.
The Huntsmen are helmed by H3CZ, formerly of OpTic Gaming and a true legend in the eyes of Call of Duty fans. The Empire are members of the prominent Envy clan, another iconic name in FPS video games.
Twelve teams will compete for their share of the prize and even better, this is not just a one-off event. It will consist of multiple tournaments from now until the summer which bookmakers can make money from. Despite their late arrival, with such a huge budget for this multi-city tour, it’s clear that the developers have finally realized what a good investment eSports can be.
FIFA eWorld Cup: Weekly matches from February 1st – June 28th, 2020
The FIFA eWorld Cup is more or less exactly what it sounds like. It pit’s players and teams from around the world against one another in a tournament which lasts the better part of a year. Unlike the actual World Cup, it involves millions of individual competitors with the lower levels of play open to all comers. After the lesser skilled players are whittled down, the remaining entrants compete in the live final tournament to crown a champion.
The Guinness Book of World records actually recognizes the FIFA eWorld Cup as the largest online gaming tournament in the world just due to the sheer number of players who are technically eligible to win. One major way that developers accomplished this was by making the FIFA games cross-platform compatible. Meaning you can play on your Xbox against somebody across the world on a Playstation.
While the dates of these finals are way off in June, there is actually a major club tournament going down the second weekend in February called the eClub World Cup.
Electronic Arts broke the news earlier in the week that the 2020 playing of this tournament will be on the 7th, 8th and 9th of February in Milan, Italy. This will mark the first time the tourney is being held outside of either London or Paris.
With five long weeks of qualifiers behind us, the 190 teams who entered have been ground down to just 24 clubs who will battle it out for a piece of the $100,000 prize pool. A win here will also give the top team a number of precious Global Series Points – used in qualifying for the end-of-season eWorld Cup.
Major eSport clans such as Faze, Fnatic, and Mkers will have teams competing along with club-sponsored squads from the lies of Manchester City, Roma and FC Basel to name a few. That is the equivalent of the New York Yankees sponsoring an MLB the show team in an official tournament and really goes to show how far along the sport has progressed in certain markets.
Fortnite World Cup: Qualifying begins in April with the Finals in July
Fortnite is one of the most popular games to ever have existed on either console or PC. So it’s no surprise that the Fortnite World Championships are big money events for everyone involved. That includes the players, especially those who, in 2019, split a pot of more than $30M in total winnings.
This event not only pays the best but also garners the most viewers with a live audience on twitch.tv alone of over a million people. It was also attended live by tens of thousands of fans and this year is expected to be even bigger. Epic Games intends to give away even more money, welcome even more attendants and enjoy even more live viewers.
This also means an uptick in betting on Fortnite’s marquee event.
While the main event is the big show in July, there are a number of smaller live events throughout the United States all spring long. These tournaments also get a lot of attention and offer prizes up to $500,000 for winners to split.
You might be seeing a pattern here but much like the previously mentioned tournaments, Fortnite runs for months and months on end. This is great for a bookie who can get clients interested in these events, especially with many coming during the dreaded ‘downtime’ of professional sports betting in between football seasons.
The International: August 18th – August 23rd, 2020
This year’s tournament will look to unseat Fortnite as the most lucrative and highest paying eSports events in history. They have been neck and neck each year trying to outdo one another and do sit at a higher level than the other big annual events. Last year Valve gave away more than $25M in prizes to the lucky winners of the Shanghai tourney.
This year the biggest names in DOTA 2 will descend on Berlin with the action going down at the Mercedez-Benz Arena. Prizes for this year could flirt with $40M and viewership is expected to be in the millions from twitch and other live streaming services.
What makes this one of the more attractive tournaments for betting fans is that there is build in friendly betting which takes place online and even will award players in-game loot. What this boils down to is that the developers are aware of the betting popularity of their product and are willing to insert themselves into the landscape, if even just a little bit.
At PayPerHead we see the value in this growing industry and highly encourage our bookies to explore the options we offer on our odds platform. If there is an event you don’t see listed, just call our customer service team and they will do all they can to get a line up for you to pass to clients. Franky, a year-round sport that is growing at the rate eSports is should be a no-brainer addition to your current lineup of traditional sports.