Top 5 Esports Event Organizers To Watch In 2020
Event organizers are — depending on the esport — incredibly important. They also vary in scope, experience, and success rate, among other things. Esports as a whole is still in its infancy when it comes to many different aspects, and event organizing is definitely one of the elements where you can notice its grassroots nature.
Some events are monumental. They’re big, loud, entertaining, and are akin to regular sports; they’re experiences in every sense of the word. They “attack” all of your senses and are seismic in nature — from branding, marketing, shoutcasting, sound, light, and stage design, all the way to the small, nuanced things many people don’t even think about and yet unconsciously notice.
That’s when you have a veteran squad organizing an esports event.
Other times, however, the fans and viewers aren’t as lucky. At worst, these events are slow, filled with technical issues, not enough engagement (especially on-site), the breaks are excruciatingly long, and you just feel like everything was done in haste without much thought or care.
Fortunately, the best event organizers out there have a more meticulous, detail-oriented approach which certainly allowed esports to become as entertaining and popular as it is today.
So let’s focus on some of the best event organizers in esports! Obviously no such list can be definitive, meaning someone’s bound to be left out. That said, the organizers listed below have more than earned our trust (and views) over the years.
One of the biggest esports organizers in the world. ESL has been chugging along for almost two decades. One of their mottos “committed to pushing the boundaries” might sound like marketing speak, but it doesn’t make it any less true. They have offices all around the world which translate into a global footprint and are well-known for organizing some of the best and most-watched events in all of esports. They’re the second largest esports company that’s currently broadcasting on Twitch (right behind Riot Games), and have partnered with the who’s who of the esports realm to bring thrilling events into existence. At the time of this writing, they’re basically organizing events for every major esport out there except for League of Legends.
The history of MLG is long and storied. What began in 2002 eventually grew into what can rightfully be deemed as a global esports-focused network. Because of its success, MLG was bought by Activision Blizzard in 2016 which means that today, it is the go-to place for all their content and many esports competitions. Call of Duty League, Overwatch League, BlizzCon, Overwatch World Cup, Hearthstone Grandmasters, and StarCraft 2 WCS are all streamed on MLG (in higher detail and with less compression than on, say, YouTube Gaming).
The whole idea behind this acquisition was to create the “ESPN of video games” according to Activision CEO Robert Kotick. Did they succeed? It’s still too early to tell, but they’ve definitely made a couple of fascinating moves over the years.
ELEAGUE, much like ESL and DreamHack, is yet another esports organizer that needs no introduction. They’ve hosted some of the biggest and most important tournaments in the world, including two Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Majors, along with Overwatch, Call of Duty, Street Fighter, Dota 2, FIFA, Rocket League, Gears 5, Magic: The Gathering Arena tournaments and many others.
Their production is top-notch and their focus on storytelling and building the superstars of tomorrow garnered them worldwide acclaim in a very short amount of time. ELEAGUE was founded in 2016 and yet it’s already one of the most important and respected esports brands and organizers in the world.
DreamHack is an esports phenomenon. They organize live events, exhibitions, tournaments, live music events, LAN parties, cosplay competitions and everything in between. They’ve pioneered esports and have been trailblazing ever since the mid-nineties. Even though many years have passed, they’re still one of the largest esport-focused content producers in the world.
It’s not so rare for a game developer to organize their own events, but one can argue that no one does it better than Riot Games. The studio behind League of Legends has done an awe-inspiring job over the years and is somehow still able to blow our minds every so often. Watching League in large-scale venues is an experience unlike any other. The fact that the 2017 World Championship final was held at the Beijing National Stadium — the same stadium where Usain Bolt set multiple world records mere years prior — just goes to show how much esports has grown over the years.
Tickets are often scooped up mere minutes after going on sale, regardless if it’s the World Championship, Mid-Season Invitational, or a Spring/Summer Split final. With top-notch production, spectacular visuals and a penchant for mind-blowing live performances, Riot Games stands out as one of the best (and most consistent) live event organizers in all of esports.