The Esports Tournaments Index

As the video games industry booms, the significance of esports has grown tremendously. It’s become a global phenomenon: it was estimated that 525 million people watched esports in 2022, a figure expected to grow to more than 640 million by 2025.

The popularity of online gaming competitions has played a pivotal role in these surging numbers. Unlike traditional, physical sports, esports tournaments let people from around the globe take part without any physical barriers to gameplay.

We wanted to uncover just how successful and influential the esports industry is. To do this, we analyzed everything from the biggest tournaments and most prominent esports games to the most successful collectives and solo champions leading the way, and created The Esports Tournaments Index.

The Esports Games Reigning Supreme

Popular games have turned competitive gaming into a worldwide sensation. To determine which games dominate the landscape, we analyzed several factors, including peak viewership, the amount of prize money on offer, the number of tournaments and players, and Google search volumes. We used this data to create an overall score out of 50.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, a multiplayer first-person shooter game where players are divided into two teams, topped the table with an overall score of 46/50. The tactical shooter game has a peak viewership of 2,748,434 spectators, as well as an impressive 16,433 players across 6,975 tournaments, along with prize money totaling $162,310,621.33, and 365,350 Google searches, which all contributed to its score. The 2012 game, which often ranks among the most-watched streams on Twitch, has had huge success, with a second instalment, Counter-Strike 2, released in 2023.

Ranking in second is League of Legends (often referred to as League or LoL). The multiplayer game sees teams of champions battle to destroy each other’s bases, and scored 45.8/50 in our report. The peak viewership for League topped 6,402,760 spectators, and the game has featured in 2,937 tournaments, according to our research. Its prize pot reached an eye-watering $108,072,120.11 total over the years, and it boasts 9,379 players who competed for a win. As a result, it received 363,220 Google searches for its tournaments.

Season 14 of League was released in January 2024, with the new update featuring some exciting additions, including alternative maps and item changes, such as updates to recipes and gold values. Also featured in the latest season are Voidborn Monsters, with three new Baron Nashor forms: Hunting, Territorial, and All-Seeing.

Fortnite, the multiplayer battle royale game where players fight to be the last person standing, emerged in third place, scoring 45.5/50. The game has 9,209 active players across in 2,159 tournaments, with total prize money earnings of $179,480,520.57. With Fortnite’s ever-growing popularity, it’s understandable why the game has a peak viewership of 2,334,826, at last count and why there’s over 1,540,000 searches for its tournaments.

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Elite Esports Tournaments around the Globe

With a vast number of esports tournaments worldwide, we wanted to determine which events are the most elite to either attend or compete in.

Our study looked at several data points, including the number of teams taking part in each tournament, the competition’s viewership, the prize money on offer, and the total number of hours of gameplay watched, to give each tournament a score out of 40.

Leading the way as the biggest esports tournament in the world is The International 2023 for the game Dota 2. The tournament took place at the Seattle Convention Center and scored 35.3/40.

Dota 2, the sequel to Defense of the Ancients (DotA), is a multiplayer game where teams battle to destroy each other’s bases using powerful heroic characters. As well as gaining huge success in esports, the game also has a dedicated following, with 435,000 active players per month on Steam. The International 2023 featured 20 competing teams, and had a peak viewership of 1,442,274 spectators with 65,399,781 hours of gameplay watched. Those lucky enough to secure a win at the tournament were awarded a prize pot of $3,380,000.

The Fortnite Champion Series (FNCS) 2023 Global Championship claimed second place as the next most elite tournament, scoring 34.2/40. The tournament for the multiplayer battle royale game took place in Copenhagen, Denmark, with 128 teams competing. The event saw a peak viewership of 722,081 spectators who clocked up 5,791,393 hours watched, all in anticipation of who would win the $10,000,000 prize.

Fortnite’s popularity is a result of the game always evolving. Its latest instalment has taken extra measures to keep players safe from bullying and confrontation. For example, the see confrontational emotes setting in social privacy means a player will only see emotes from friends, preventing other players from being able to use them negatively.

In third place is the ALGS: 2023 Championship for the game Apex Legends, with a score of 32.7/40. The tournament, held in Birmingham, UK, has a peak viewership of 596,014 spectators and racked up 10,639,841 hours of viewing time. It saw 50 teams competing in several games, all with the hopes of winning the $2,000,000 prize money.

Apex Legends has 19 million active monthly players and has just released its latest update, season 21, which has new additions with armor changes, and limited-time modes.

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The Most Engaging Esports Tournaments

Our study also sought to uncover which esports tournaments boast the most passionate fanbases. We analyzed the number of TikTok posts, Instagram hashtags, Google searches, and YouTube subscribers for each tournament to calculate a score out of 40.

Taking the lead as the most engaging esports tournament is Call of Duty League in Toronto, Canada, with a score of 33.7/40. The competition, centered around first-person shooter game Call of Duty, drummed up 1,270,000 Google Searches and gained 1,800,000 YouTube subscribers. It also received lots of attention on social media, amassing 44,258 hashtags on Instagram and 25,000,000 posts on TikTok.

Call of Duty’s popularity shows no signs of slowing down, with the series seeing 22 games released following the popularity of the original in 2003 – the latest addition being Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III (2023).

The RLCS (Rocket League World Championship Series) tournament in Texas, USA has the second most-engaged audience, scoring 32.1/40. The event for the game Rocket League, which sees players control cars with rocket boosters to play soccer in high-speed matches, has captivated a huge audience.

RLCS has not only racked up 157,200 Google searches, but also accumulated 590,000 YouTube subscribers, 53,900,000 TikTok posts, and 327,244 Instagram hashtags. The latest season of the game (season 14) is set to further increase the game’s popularity, thanks to new car bodies, an underwater arena, and new playlists.

Scoring 28.5/40, FFWS 2023 (Free Fire World Series) in Bangkok, Thailand, ranked in third place. The competition for the battle royale game Free Fire, which sees players compete against each other to be the last gamer standing, has proven to be extremely popular. FFWS garnered 77,910 Google searches and 1,450,000 YouTube subscribers. It has a significant social media presence, with 30,575 Instagram hashtags and 27,700,000 TikTok posts.

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The Most Successful Esports Collectives

The dynamic realm of esports collectives includes singular powerhouse teams and groups of competing entities. We wanted to unearth the most triumphant collective to be a part of.

To create these rankings, we gave each collective a score out of 20 by looking at the number of tournaments they’ve won and the total sum of prize money earned during their years of competing.

Team Liquid reigns supreme with an unbeatable score of 20/20, having won an impressive 2,736 tournaments and cash prizes totaling $48,577,649.95. With over 150 players spanning across the collective’s 16 teams, Team Liquid is one of the most prominent and successful esports teams globally.

First founded in the Netherlands in 2000, the organization has teams competing across multiple games, including LoL and Dota 2. Team Liquid also makes a conscious effort to engage with its fan base through content creation, allowing its loyal community to feel connected and involved with the team.

Securing the title of the second-most successful collective is Fnatic, with a score of 18.3/20. The collective has been victorious in no fewer than 1,127 tournaments and has won an eye-watering $20,268,154.78.

Fnatic has six teams of professional gamers, who compete in games like League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Dota 2. The team supports its operations through brand partnerships with big names like drink brand Monster Energy, car brand BMW, and live-streaming service Twitch.

Taking third place as one of the most superior collectives in esports is FaZe Clan, scoring  17.3/20 for winning 711 tournaments and $19,375,972.00 in cash prizes. The collective, which consists of 16 teams and 85 professional players, was originally founded in 2010 by a group of YouTubers who initially focused on Call of Duty content. Over time, FaZe has evolved into a multi-faceted organization with teams competing in multiple games, creating content, and selling apparel.

The World’s Leading Esports Champions

With an abundance of exceptional esports gamers around the globe, distinguishing who is the very best can be a difficult task. We’ve taken on the challenge to determine the crème de la crème of players. Our data looked at the overall winnings of each player, as well as the number of tournaments won, to create an overall score out of 20.

Topping the leaderboard as the world’s esports champion is Johan Sundstein, also known by his gaming name N0tail, with a score of 18.2/20 in our report. N0tail’s biggest success has been from playing Dota 2, with success in 130 tournaments earning him an enormous $7,184,163.05 in overall winnings. N0tail’s esports gaming career started in 2010 when he competed primarily in the game Heroes of Newerth. He gained significant prominence when he transitioned to Dota 2 in 2012, and is now regarded as one of the most respected Dota 2 players.

The second-most successful player is Clement Ivanov, also known as Puppey to the gaming community, scoring 15.5/20 overall. The champion, famous for his Dota 2 wins, has racked up 153 tournament wins, alongside an impressive financial gain of $4,313,472.80 in prize money. Puppey rose to fame during his reign as the captain of Natus Vincere (Na’Vi), a prominent esports team in Dota 2’s early years. He went on to co-found Team Secret, an esports organization focused on Dota 2, in 2014.

Kuro Takhasomi, or KuroKy to fellow gamers, ranked as the third leading champion in the world, with a score of 15.4/20. The Dota 2 legend has achieved 129 tournament wins, alongside $5,291,422.93 in overall winnings. KuroKy’s career started in the 2000s, with a primary focus on Warcraft III. Over the years he transitioned to Dota, where his talent and exceptional skills were showcased during his time on Team Meet Your Makers (MYM).

The Biggest Esports Tournaments Worldwide

Esports tournaments have evolved into massive events that draw in audiences from around the world, so we wanted to uncover which in-person tournaments are largest. We ranked them by venue size to offer a glimpse into the scale of competitive gaming.

Before we delve into our data findings, it’s important to remember that many esports competitions take place online, so this ranking is only a snapshot of tournaments that compete in arenas with live audiences.

The Magic Regional Championships 2023 takes first place as the biggest esports tournament on the list. The competition for Magic: The Gathering Arena was held at the San Diego Convention Center, which has a huge capacity of 125,000.

Following behind is The International 2023 for Dota 2. The event takes place at the Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, US, with an 18,300-person capacity.

Placing in third is the Fortnite Champion Series (FNCS) 2023 Global Championship, the tournament for Fortnite. The championship is based at the Royal Arena in Copenhagen, Denmark, which has a capacity of 16,000.

The Future of Esports Gaming

The esports industry continues to flourish as more players join the world of online gaming. The unique blend of competition, entertainment, and community engagement created a cultural phenomenon that has shifted how the world views gaming in general. Our analysis of some of the biggest esports tournaments in the industry shows that engagement and popularity around them are already huge and will, no doubt, continue to grow as technology advances and the industry becomes more immersive. While more traditional forms of sport are still more popular for now, the growing market for esports streaming and gameplay may put esports and physical sports on the same playing field in the future.


The Esports Index report by the team at CyberGhost VPN reveals the world’s biggest esports tournaments and games, as well as the most successful teams, players, and winners in the gaming industry.

To do this, the team initially created a seed list of all of the above categories and ranked them based on the following data points:

    • Peak Viewership*
    • Total Tournaments Played
    • Prize Money
    • Number of Players
    • Google Searches for the Game
    • Number of Teams Competing
    • Hours Watched
    • Instagram Hashtags and Followers
    • TikTok Discovery Views and Followers
    • YouTube Subscribers and Followers
    • Twitch Followers
    • Number of Tournaments Won
    • Overall Winnings
    • Venue Size

*Some individual versions of games included on the seed list did not have peak viewership figures available, meaning they ranked lower on the list.

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