By Pavo Jurkic
January 8, 2020
2019 is done and dusted! It’s behind us. It’s old news. It was an excellent year for all esports, with numerous broken records and an all-around sense of progress chiming throughout the industry. And the numbers perfectly depict the current state of affairs in the esports industry. With more than $215 million in total prize money in 2019, it’s safe to say the esports industry is having a blast.
CSGO events are doing themselves justice too, featuring close to $21.5 million. However, looking a year back (2018), the total prize pool of CSGO events was $22.68 million, meaning there was less prize money involved in CSGO events last year.
On the bright side, it’s not that big of a difference, especially considering other top-tier esports titles out there. For example, League of Legends prize pools in 2018 amounted to roughly $14 million. They dropped down to $9 million in 2019.
Today, though, we won’t be focusing on esports prize pools. Instead, it’s just one of the factors we’re going to take into account for our short list of the five biggest CSGO events in 2020!
First things first – let’s check out what exactly makes the best CSGO events. Or, better yet, what makes the best esports events in general?
Let’s start with the viewership. CSGO is still doing good in the grand scheme of things, but its popularity is slowly declining, whereas other popular titles are either on par or growing more significant than previous years. Still, 2019’s IEM Katowice Major managed to climb to the third-best CSGO event ever with more than 1.2 million peak viewers, and second-best in terms of total hours watched (53.24 million).
As far as CSGO’s competitive ecosystem goes, the most-watched events are Valve’s CSGO Major Championships. The first one is scheduled for May, and it’s going to be the first-ever Major hosted in Brazil. Knowing enthusiastic Brazilian CSGO fans, I wouldn’t be surprised to see ESL One Rio Major 2020 end up breaking quite a few viewership records.
Ahh, prize money. As you all know, CSGO is not one of those crowd-funded esports titles. Even though there have been talks about a potential switch to both crowd-funding and franchised leagues, experts suggest CSGO is better left as it is.
And, the current state of affairs in CSGO, prize pool wise, is pretty good. It’s not precisely Fortnite or Dota 2 good, but it’s right up there with the best of them. CSGO’s uniqueness lies in the events’ quantity. The prize pools of the biggest events usually round up to a million dollars, but the sheer number of tier A and B events are more than enough to make up for it.
As far as the biggest CSGO events in 2020 go, I’ll go out on a limb and say the total prize money will be higher than the record-breaking 2018, which featured upwards of $22.5 million!
CSGO total prize money in 2020 will amount to more than $25 million – you’ve heard it here first!
Lastly, let’s talk about production and content quality. Even if there’s a massive prize pool and a whole ton of viewers, if the action is boring and the broadcast staff can’t up the entertainment, chances are the event won’t be remembered as a proper spectacle.
Stream smoothness, 1080p at 60FPS quality, and plenty of top teams competing in tight contests – that’s what every good event needs. The more competitive it is, the better the results will be. It’s as simple as that. Many of the CSGO events featured below are known for packing highly competitive teams and pinning them against each other right from the kickoff. These are usually the fan favorites as they sport giant clashes throughout the event, without having to wait for the final stages.
Now we’re getting to the fun stuff!
Here are the five upcoming CSGO events in 2020 that ought to be proper spectacles. All of them have already been officially announced except ESL Pro Leagues, but knowing ESL’s tradition, it would surprise me if we don’t see their lucrative series in 2020.
So, without further ado, let’s go through the most prominent CSGO events of 2020!
Brazilians already have their CSGO Major champions, so it was only a matter of time before we finally get to see a CSGO Major Championship in Brazil. Rio de Janeiro is the location of choice, with the gorgeous Jeunesse Arena set as the venue from May 21-24, during the Champions Stage of the competition.
Need I remind you, the core of the current MIBR team were the back-to-back Champions in 2016 under Luminosity and SK Gaming colors. However, their form hasn’t been the greatest in recent months, especially after Coldzera’s departure for FaZe Clan.
This event could prove to be a morbid one for Brazilian fans, since their best teams, FURIA and MIBR, are nowhere near the top of the CSGO food chain. Hopefully, the fans will lead them to the Champions Stage, so the loyal Brazilians have at least one team to cheer for in the live playoffs stage.
Now let’s talk about RFRSH Entertainment’s BLAST events. In 2019, BLAST Pro Series were among the most popular CSGO events. They made stops across the world but did end up canceling their Lisbon event. Still, 2019 was a widely successful year for the Danish event organizer, and from the looks of things, they’ve set aside an even bigger budget for 2020.
For RFRSH Entertainment, 2020 kicks off with a brand change. BLAST Pro Series is no more – say your welcome to BLAST Premier, a biannual league with Spring and Fall splits. Each of the two regular seasons splits features $300,000 in prize money.
Additionally, each of the season finals yields $750,000 with BLAST Premier Showdown (sort of like the Finals for the bottom part of the regular season table) featuring $325,000. That’s not all, though! The pinnacle of the BLAST Premier season is the so-called BLAST Premier Global Finals that’ll feature eight best teams and pin them against each other for whopping $1.5 million.
In all honesty, I wouldn’t be surprised if RFRSH ends up buying the rights to the second Major of 2020. If that happens, fingers crossed the BLAST Major 2020 isn’t set for Bahrain of all places.
World Electronic Sports Games are going to host another spectacular event. Even though the presence and importance of WESG have fallen a bit, at least in terms of CSGO, it’s still a popular event. It’s great for lesser-known teams who use WESG as one of few top-tier opportunities to establish themselves at the grandest of CSGO stages.
As opposed to other conventional CSGO events, WESG always prefers nations instead of teams, although that trend seems to be changing in the last few years. Still, every team represents a specific country which adds that extra bit of charm to every matchup.
As far as prize pool goes, WESG 2019 (that’s not a typo, WESG 2019 is scheduled in 2020) features $1 million, going toe to toe with CSGO Major Championship as far as money goes. Finally, it’s going to be held in Chongqing sometime in March and will feature a total of 24 nations/teams.
Intel Extreme Masters, AKA IEM, is always splendid events. They don’t come around too often. For instance, in 2019, there were only four IEM events, including the IEM Katowice Major. This time around, in 2020, Intel and ESL’s joint venture kicks off with the XIV Season World Championship featuring $500,000 in prize money.
The event starts on February 25 with 16 teams in total. Three of them we already know, Fnatic (winner of DH Masters Malmo), Astralis (winner of IEM Beijing), and Mousesports (winner of ESL Pro League S10). Katowice is the location of choice once again. The esports capital of Eastern Europe is bound to produce another spectacle that’ll leave a significant mark on CSGO’s 2020 competitive season.
As mentioned earlier, ESL Pro League is the only event/series on our list of the biggest CSGO events of 2020 that hasn’t been announced yet. However, I’m sure we’ll see the standard two ESL Pro League iterations spread across 2020.
There have been several changes to the event that shook the qualification stage. The switch from online to offline qualifications in the main region was a huge hit. Everyone was a fan except for the players who had an extra bit of traveling on their hands.
However, the lucrative prize pools of ESL Pro League events were more than enough to captivate even the best CSGO organizations. Combined, season 9 and 10 featured $1.2 million in prize money, a hefty sum for CSGO standards.
There’s also a handful of other events in 2020. DreamHack Open series stand as the most notable contenders with eight events already officially announced for 2020.
Esports Championship Series ought to see the return for another two seasons in 2020. Even though they weren’t exactly the most popular events in 2019, the tradition will most certainly continue, although I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a lower prize pool than last time out.
Of course, the likes of ESL One and DreamHack events will be there too. DH Masters Jonkoping 2020 has already been announced, just like ESL One Cologne 2020. DH starts in June, while ESL One begins in July.
All in all, CSGO events in 2020 ought to be numerous and grandiose. The game is not dead yet, especially its esports popularity, which can still go toe to toe with the crème de la crème of the esports industry.