What is esports?
Electronic sports, commonly called esports, refers to the professional level of gaming within a competition or tournament setting. This industry has been growing exponentially over the past few years, moving from small venues and local competitions to global events with tournaments being broadcast all over the world. Stadiums are filled to the brim with fans cheering for players, teams or even just the characters they love.
Teams or single competitors compete for large prize pools and titles all year round in the game of their choice, living the dream we all wished for as children.
Overview of esports in the US
The US esports scene has become massive over the last several years, with events at cities across the country and varsity programs at well over a hundred colleges. Last year, the NBA held an official draft for the launch of its esports NBA 2K League.
In 2015, the first dedicated arena for esports opened in Santa Ana, California, and a second arena has already opened on the Vegas strip.
What are the biggest esports games?
Most games with some kind of substantial player base can create a tournament, but it is the biggest and the best games that attract the crowds and the money.
Current top esports games include:
- League of Legends
- Call of Duty
- Heroes of the Storm
- Rocket League
- Dota 2
- Street Fighter V
- Super Smash Bros. Melee
- StarCraft II
Esports earnings in the US
Professional esports players are closing the gap on sporting athletes in terms of pay, with team sponsors and tournament prize pools funding professional players so they can receive a comfortable earning within the top brackets. Prize pools are usually distributed evenly through the team, but even still winning players can walk away with some real bank.
Major tournaments can pay out over $1 million to the winning player or team, and the top US earners have made millions. At the time of writing, the top four players in the US made their winnings on Dota 2, with games in the Call of Duty and Halo series also making a major appearance on the top charts.
Esports is already a massive industry, and it’ll likely only go up from here. If you’re an aspiring gamer, you face a lot of competition — but earnings are massive for players who make it to the top. And if you’re just an avid audience member, you’re in good company — some tournaments are already attracting over 100 million viewers.
Ask an Expert