Watching Esports Live vs Watching Online: What to Expect

Watching Esports Live vs Watching Online

Many people would argue that nothing beats the collective synchrony of attending an event in person. While there’s an undeniable thrill of watching an esports tournament in the flesh, this thriving industry is well-tailored for the internet age. If you’re itching to watch matches from The International, League of Legends Worlds Championship, and Call of Duty League unfold, all you need is a smartphone and a reliable internet connection.

The Early Days of Esports Tournaments

In 1972, Stanford University played host to the first-ever esports tournament. Back then, it was slim pickings as far as video game titles were concerned, with Atari’s tennis-inspired Pong making waves in arcades. However, it wasn’t Pong being played at a world-famous research university. Instead, it was a Spacewar!, a space combat title that was actually developed in the early 1960s.

It wasn’t until the 1980s that competition really became a thing in the video game world. With the advent of true multiplayer gaming and the introduction of high-score lists, players were finally able to take on challengers. The first event we’d recognize as an esports tournament wouldn’t appear until the 1990s. Even, these were limited to a few high-profile events organized by the likes of Blockbuster Video and Nintendo. For the most part, competitive gaming was relegated to LAN parties.

By the turn of the millennium, modern-day esports events finally took form. South Korea championed the first major tournament with the World Cyber Games in 2022. In 2023, Europe followed suit, hosting the Electronic Sports World Cup in France. Within a few years, professional leagues were taking shape, and playing games professionally became a lucrative career prospect. However, the actual coverage of these events left a lot to be desired. That would all change by the 2010s when high-speed internet connections and advancements in streaming technology finally opened up esports events to global audiences.

Attending an Esports Tournament in Person

If you’re an avid fan of Dota 2 or love nothing more than watching your favorite LoL teams in action, attending a grand final is probably high on your bucket list. However, it’s not as always as clearing your diary and heading out. For starters, location can present a real challenge. As with traditional sports, major events tend to be held in capital cities or major urban centers. In 2023, a League of Legends World Championships ticket is easily going to set you back at least $200. Don’t live in South Korea? You’ll need to factor in additional travel expenses.

However, if you can afford to spend on a long-overdue trip, attending an esports tournament in person is definitely a good idea. Nothing beats the thrill of being up close and personal with the best in the business. Even the most mediocre of tournaments tend to deliver a few standout moments. If you’re there for the full tournament, there’s also a chance you’ll be witness to a legendary match that will go down in the annals of esports history.

Looking to connect with like-minded gamers? You’ll find thousands at live tournaments. Whether you’re just looking to make new friends or network for career opportunities, this is the perfect place to do so.

When it comes to attendance, most tournaments are limited by venue capacity. However, some events have set record-breaking attendance figures. In 2017, the Intel Extreme Masters in Katowice welcomed more than 173,000 visitors throughout the competition, with a further 46 million watching the event unfold online.

Watching Esports Tournaments Online

Can’t afford to fly off to far-flung countries to watch your favorite rosters work their magic? Not to worry. This professional esports circuit was made for online audiences. In 2022, more 530 million people were watching esports tournaments online on mobile or smart TV via the apps.

Online esports tournaments are readily available, with organizers of most major tournaments offering free coverage via platforms like YouTube and Twitch. While you won’t be able to mingle with other attendees, you can still connect with other sports fans in chat windows. What’s more?, you can still benefit from first-class commentary and expert insights.

Planning on watching the next LoL Worlds or The International online? Once you’ve picked your platform of choice, make sure you’re keeping up to date with the latest Dota 2 scores at and don’t forget to share it with others on social media platforms!