The esports house noticed an enormous contraction in prize cash in 2020 as a result of coronavirus pandemic, halting the eye-popping purse numbers that have been beginning to catch mainstream consideration.
After a virtually 30% bounce from 2018 to 2019 that left final 12 months’s prize cash totaled at $211M USD, this 12 months got here in at a comparatively paltry $65.5M. That may be a drop of about 69% in a single 12 months.
The depressed payouts will doubtless proceed in 2021 as a result of the world isn’t anticipated to be again to a way of normalcy until the center a part of the 12 months, foreclosing many occasions that would have occurred in Q1 and Q2.
No. 10 – Rocket League: $2.63M
Newly onto the listing this 12 months is Psyonix Studios title Rocket League, which doled out $2.63M in prize cash over the course of the 12 months by way of its Rocket League Championship Sequence. The automotive soccer sport, which paid out $3.040M in prize cash final 12 months, is seen as a title with good progress potential.
Psyonix dedicated $4.5M to the latest RLCS season, which is able to conclude in 2021. With extra prize cash than ever flowing right into a revamped, open ecosystem, Rocket League is poised to stand up the rankings subsequent 12 months.
No. 9 – Hearthstone: $3.73M
Activision Blizzard’s digital collectible card sport makes it onto this 12 months’s listing following a conspicuous absence final 12 months. Hearthstone, which got here in at $3.73M, is the one sport within the digital collectible card class to make it onto the listing, although it has new competitors to be careful for from Riot Video games’ Legends of Runeterra.
Whereas Activision Blizzard continues to focus most of its vitality and assets on its franchised leagues, Riot Video games is steadily and meticulously ramping up esports funding in its newer titles, together with LoR. That coupled with the rise of different competitors corresponding to Magic Enviornment (which made the listing final 12 months) implies that Hearthstone’s standing because the undisputed king of card video games is now extra in query than ever earlier than.
No. 8 – PUBG: $4M
There was a time when PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS had the potential to change into a frontrunner within the esports house. Nonetheless, after a number of restructurings of its esports infrastructure and the departure of a number of outstanding esports groups from the house, the sport seems to have settled right into a decrease rung. 2020 was meant to be a brand new alternative for PUBG to deal with worldwide competitors, however the COVID-19 pandemic threw a wrench into that plan earlier than it may get off the bottom.
The sport solely paid out a few third in 2020 from what it did in 2019, dropping within the rankings 4 slots 12 months over 12 months from No. Four in 2019.
No. 7 – Overwatch: $4.36M
The Overwatch League needed to shift to online-only play this 12 months as a result of pandemic, torpedoing its home-team mannequin aspirations that have been imagined to take off in full pressure this 12 months. The game nonetheless had a stable prize payout, however the cash was lower than half of final 12 months’s haul, which got here in at $9.59M, and it has dropped from the rank of No. 5 final 12 months in consequence.
Whereas Activision Blizzard distributed the same sum of over $3M for its season-ending event, the required shift to on-line play impacted the video games stage-based competitors cycle, lowering the variety of league-wide competitions which had beforehand culminated in giant payouts themselves.
No. 6 – Rainbow Six Siege: $5.02M
Rainbow Six Siege was one of many few titles to pay out extra within the pandemic-plagued 12 months than it did final 12 months, with $5.02M in 2020 versus $4.1M in 2019. This was due largely to the sport’s world championship, the Six Invitational, being held in early February previous to nearly all of the world’s COVID lockdown. That occasion alone paid out $3M, up from $2M within the earlier 12 months.
Rainbow Six was one of many solely video games in all of 2020 to host its greatest event in particular person, and subsequently loved the outcomes of its continued 12 months over 12 months progress greater than most titles.
No. 5 – Name of Obligation: $6.27M
With the debut of the newly geo-located and franchised Name of Obligation League in 2020, the sport largely held its personal on this 12 months’s rating as in comparison with final, with a bounce of three slots and solely a slight downtick in prize payout. Not like the Overwatch League, the Name of Obligation League dedicated early on to retaining a tournament-style construction just like its pre-franchise mannequin.
This meant that every week of competitors wanted to pay out its personal prize pool along with the $4.6M Activision Blizzard doled out for the inaugural CDL championship. In one other break from the OWL, Activision Blizzard additionally dedicated important assets to an open semi-pro ecosystem for Name of Obligation to run parallel to the CDL. The biggest of those tournaments paid out $250Okay.
No. 4 – Fortnite: $7.87M
Epic Video games’ in style battle royale title dropped from final 12 months’s high slot to No. Four this 12 months largely as a result of it had no Fortnite World Cup in 2020 as a result of pandemic. The occasion in 2019 gained, properly, epic media consideration after giving $Three million to then 16-year-old winner Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf.
However Epic has all the time had what’s perceived within the business to be a finnicky relationship with esports, and now the corporate is continuous to again off of its beforehand dominating place. Epic has already introduced there can be no offline tournaments for Fortnite in 2021, that means no World Cup as soon as once more. Whereas the writer has the assets to spice up Fortnite again to the highest at any level, with out a important reinvestment in 2022 the sport is prone to proceed falling down and out of esports relevancy.
No. 3 – League of Legends: $8.00M
The world’s hottest esport by viewership metrics was capable of largely persevere by way of the pandemic – albeit by way of largely online-only matches – and League of Legends thus jumped from No. 6 final 12 months to the third slot this 12 months as a result of it didn’t see a serious drop-off in prize cash. After paying out $9M final 12 months, League solely noticed a slight drop to $8M this 12 months.
League of Legends is likely one of the few esports the place, regardless of the massive totals distributed, prize cash usually takes a again seat to the status of competitors. Gone are the times of crucial trophy awarded at an occasion being the novelty big verify value 1000’s. As an alternative, the extremely coveted Summoner’s Cup trophy takes middle stage on the World Championship whereas its recipients quietly rake in over $100Okay every after the confetti has completed falling.
No. 2 – Dota 2: $8.87M
With the pandemic forcing the delay of this 12 months’s The Worldwide, Dota 2 noticed an enormous drop-off from final 12 months as anticipated. After doling out an enormous haul final 12 months that almost reached $50M, this 12 months got here in at a comparatively paltry $8.87M.
2020 revealed simply how reliant Dota’s esports relevancy is with out that record-breaking TI prize pool every year. With out important neighborhood stress and third occasion organizers stepping up, Dota would have fallen a lot additional down the listing.
The large query dealing with this title in 2021 is what is going to occur to that over-large championship purse. Valve nonetheless raised over $40M for the 2020 TI earlier than suspending to August 2021 and has not said what is going to occur with that cash. There might be a state of affairs the place that cash will get rolled into subsequent 12 months’s crowdfunding effort and we see a single-event prize pool surpass $80M.
No. 1 – Counter-Strike: World Offensive: $14.75M
The longtime OG of FPS video games takes the highest slot this 12 months regardless of having a dropoff in prize cash from 2019. CS:GO’s open, third-party-fueled ecosystem was arguably finest suited to adapting to the online-only, fractured nature of 2020 esports competitors. There was no league infrastructure to wrangle into place exterior of the newly-launched Flashpoint, which didn’t have the OWL’s challenges of making an attempt to navigate a league with groups working throughout 4 continents.
CS:GO event organizers shortly shifted their occasions to a regional competitors system and continued pumping out content material all 12 months lengthy. The one factor lacking for the sport’s ecosystem have been the million-dollar payouts from Valve’s Main system, which is able to little doubt return the second reside occasions can safely resume.
Trent Murray contributed to this text.