A new beginning – esports in January
The new year is already a month in – hasn’t time passed quickly? So far, 2019 is looking like a pretty good year – at the very least for esports! Much like last year ended, this year began with strong viewership numbers across lots of different esports, with dedicated fans watching plenty of content even early in the year!
Although it’s currently in between tournament seasons for several different games, that hasn’t done much to curb people’s enthusiasm. Fortnite is a great example of that – although the esport side of it is still lagging a bit, the game still boasts unheard of player numbers and continues to break record after record that way!
As for the most popular esports, Overwatch is doing great so far this year – with the semi-pro Contenders League having just finished internationally, fans are already eagerly awaiting the new Overwatch League that is going to start on Valentine’s Day this year.
Last year in December, it was, curiously enough, Counter-Strike Global Offensive rather than the typical League of Legends that led the charge when it came to viewership numbers. This seems to hold true still – the game is boasting millions of esports hours watched already!
Naturally, neither Dota 2 nor League of Legends are far behind – as always, they are two of the most popular esports of the world, 2019 hasn’t changed that at all. Hearthstone, Starcraft 2 and Fifa 19 are top contenders as well – though there is a significant gap between them and the top games, they are nevertheless still immensely popular.
Since Dota 2, CSGO and Starcraft 2 all have tournaments running throughout January, it’s no surprise that they are doing so well even early in the year. Though the biggest tournaments of the year will be a little later still, especially for games like LoL, the ever-rising popularity of esports isn’t flagging this January either.
The sector as a whole is still projected to increase, improve and strengthen in the upcoming few years – already a billion dollar industry, huge growth spurts especially in Asia promise it a bright future still. As a matter of fact, we won’t have to wait long to see a big boost in viewership numbers this year – they tend to coincide with bigger tournaments, and several of those start across February and March.
Starting with the Overwatch League, several 500k+ tournaments start early next month! The Call of Duty 2019 CWL Pro League that starts on February 4th boasts a $700k prize pool, while, also on Valentine’s Day, the IEM Season XIII Katowice World Championship in CSGO boasts a $1 million prize pool!
Another $1 million tournament is the Dota 2 Dream League Season 11 that starts exactly a month later, on the 14th of March. Naturally, several more smaller tournaments start around this time as well – though less popular overall, fans are looking forward to the Genesis 6 Ultimate and Genesis 6 Melee tournaments in Smash Bros!