What are esports? Esports are competitive video games brought to the professional level. Esports is a term used to describe a variety of different video games, rather than any particular one. There are several different game genres that are commonly played at the professional level, traditionally FPS (first-person shooters like CSGO), MOBAs (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena), strategy, cards, and fighting games, though sports and racing games are on the rise, as well.
Tournaments are hosted regularly across all different types of eSports and they generally fall into three categories. Minor tournaments are small-scale events, which feature smaller prize pools and are normally attended by mid-tier teams who have not yet made a name for themselves in the international scene. They can be played both online and offline at a physical venue, depending on the tournament.
Major tournaments are premium events where no expense is spared for production and quality. These events offer large prize pools, typically ranging anywhere from $100,000 to $1,000,000 or more. These are attended by the best of the best and are hosted at real-world establishments, such as sports arenas or theatres. Viewer attendance can range from several hundred to tens of thousands, while online viewership can go up in the millions. This type of event is hosted by a team of professional commentators, analysts and journalists.
Qualifier tournaments are hosted with the intention of deciding who is most worthy of attending the Major events. While these may feature a cash prize of some sort, teams aim to win a seed (a place) in the larger tournament. Depending on the Major event, Qualifier tournaments may be held over multiple continents and countries. Most of the esports betting sites like Unikrn, Betway, Bet365, Pinnacle and William Hill allows players to place bets on such events.
Teams are formed for the purposes of competing in tournaments and these normally bear the name of the organization funding them but there are a few stand-alone teams. Much like with traditional sports, sponsors provide funding and equipment to teams and organizations to promote their brands. These include giant conglomerates such as Audi’s endorsement of Astralis and Betway’s sponsoring of Ninjas in Pyjamas. Gambling brands are one of the most commonly seen sponsors in the eSports industry, alongside computer hardware manufacturers.
As far as the players are concerned, they are treated like professional athletes for the most part. Teams offer salaries to signed players and provide them with the necessary equipment and hardware to play. Top-tier teams often provide lodging for their players, known as a gaming house, where all members of a team live and practice together. This custom began in South Korea with Starcraft competitors and carried over to the West.