Even though the esports industry suffered a lesser blow than the sports industry, some parts of it were definitely hit well. The total prize pool awards on esports events in 2020 is the perfect example of the negative trends last year. In 2019, according to Esports Earnings, the total esports prize pool awards amounted to $235.4 million USD. In 2020, the amount dropped to just $102.4 million. Unfortunately, we don’t have precise data on the numbers behind 2020 esports betting, but one thing we can tell right away – betting on esports in 2021 is bound to stomp over last year’s numbers!
You see, 2021 brings forth not just the biggest esports events that had to be canceled last year, but a ton of newly franchised leagues and seasonal circuits focused on further increasing the long-term stability of crucial esports markets.
All that should pave the way for healthy trends regarding 2021 esports betting, that’s for sure! Heck, just look at the number of massive esports events that have already been announced! There’s still stuff that, in a way, belongs to last year, but plenty of new stuff has emerged too. LAN events are popping up left and right – 2021 ought to be a fine year for esports betting enthusiasts!
Betting on Esports in 2021 – Biggest Events
There’s a ton of top-tier esports events you need to know about, so let’s cut right to the chase!
CSGO Betting Opportunities in 2021
We’re starting off with CSGO. Valve’s FPS still has the most chaotic schedule without a proper Valve-organized seasonal circuit or regional championships. I know, I know, we’re starting to see some competition-based partnerships pop up, but Valve will need to step in and do their thing by the end of the year.
CSGO’s chaotic schedule basically means 2021 will still have a ton of CSGO esports content. BLAST Premier, ESL Pro League, Major Championship, just to name a few. Let’s take a closer look!
BLAST Premier Series
2021 doesn’t just bring forth another two BLAST Premier seasonal circuits, but the grandiose BLAST Premier Global Finals 2020. Yep, the massive $1 million USD event starts on January 19th and features eight top-notch participants. Each of them will fancy their chances of taking the biggest share of the prize pool, that’s for sure!
If you’re going to be betting on esports in 2021, DreamHack Masters CSGO events ought to be near the top of your bucket list. The Summer event is scheduled to start on June 3rd; we don’t know much info on the Winter event, but I doubt DreamHack is going to drop it.
CSGO Major Championship
As you probably know, 2020 didn’t have a single CSGO Major Championship. Unfortunately, we still don’t know much about the next Major, but what we can tell with certainty is that it definitely will happen in 2021! Is there going to be just one CSGO Major this year? When is it going to start? Unfortunately, we have no answers right now… on the bright side, I’m sure we’ll get at least something by the end of the month.
ESL Pro League
Another year, another two ESL Pro League seasons. This time around, let’s hope they’ll both feature an international lineup of teams in a LAN environment. Season 13 starts on March 10th; Season 14th starts on September 8th. If you’re a fan of league-like CSGO action, ESL Pro League is the obvious choice. What about Flashpoint S3? Well, we’ll tell you when we find something fresh!
Intel Extreme Masters
Intel Extreme Masters belong to the top of the competitive CSGO food chain. They always deliver thrilling CSGO action and class-A production quality… not to mention that extra buzz from the live audience. IEM has already announced four events in 2021. The Season XV show ends in February with the IEM XV World Championship. The next season kicks off in August, with shows in Melbourne, New York, and somewhere in Asia (host city hasn’t been officially announced yet).
Dota Pro Circuit 2021
Now let’s talk about the two biggest MOBA esports out there- League of Legends and Dota 2. Both ought to feel familiar to everyone looking to start betting on esports in 2021. We’ll kick things off with the latter – Valve’s MOBA had a rough patch in 2020. The pandemic struck Dota 2 hard, annihilated the biggest event of its competitive calendar (The International 2020) and left it with dropping viewership numbers. This is the first year in quite a while that Dota wasn’t the most lucrative esports title (prize-pool-wise). That flattering title went CSGO’s way… but I doubt we’ll see that happen again in 2021!
As for betting on Dota 2 – the all-new 2021 Dota Pro Circuit will provide you with plenty of stuff to bet on. What does the all-new DPC include? Well, there are no more Minors! Regional Leagues are set to replace them and will, from now on, determine which teams advance to the Major. Talking about Majors, the total number is not just two.
Yep, that’s two Majors per calendar year. DPC will now consist of two seasons filled with Regional Events and capped with a Major. The International will be the icing on the cake following the end of the second Major.
LoL Betting Opportunities in 2021
There’s no point in listing all important LoL regional championships. Let’s just say they’re all starting in just a couple of weeks so now is the right time to brush up on your knowledge and investigate recent roster alterations.
LCS is bringing forth some changes to its 2021 competitive season. The season’s format has been altered significantly, plus there’s a three-week Lock-In event at the start of the season that serves as proving grounds for the participants. There’s more to it than just that – a winner-takes-it-all of $150,000 ought to be a fine motivator, that’s for sure!
As far as betting on esports in 2021 is concerned, LoL looks to be all set for another spectacle. LoL Worlds rose up to the occasion last year, and esports bookmakers didn’t fail to deliver anything but an exceptional variety from start to finish. Here’s hoping for more of the same in 2021!
Valorant Champions Tour
We all expected more from Valorant’s inaugural season. Well, half of it, anyway. The thing is – considering the game’s pre-release hype, it was supposed to take the esports world by storm. Obviously, that didn’t happen. However, the pandemic made sure to mess Valorant’s plans up even further – the game’s esports ecosystem was supposed to spread its wings in the worst possible times.
But, don’t let the miserable start fool you – Valorant esports isn’t over just yet! Riot Games are still behind this project, they’re still backing it up. Even though they’ve announced a laid-back approach last year, they’re joining the esports discussion with a proper bang!
Valorant Champions Tour is the name of the first Riot-Games-organized seasonal circuit. It will feature three cycles of Challengers and Masters events, all capped with a Championship Final dubbed as Valorant Champions.
The first Challengers events are scheduled for January, bringing forth plenty of Valorant betting action right at the start of 2021. Are you interested in Valorant betting? If yes, 2021 is bound to be an awesome year!
I think we can all agree that Valorant Champions will be a massive success – a grandiose December-bound event that will set new standards for the game’s esports scene. You’ve heard it here first, folks!
PUBG Global Invitational S
Nope – PUBG betting is not dead yet! It lives to see another year. Who knows, perhaps esports betting in 2021 will be packed with PUBG wagers. The start of 2021 looks promising. First up, we have PUBG Mobile Global Championship Finals which starts on January 21st. We’re talking about a LAN event in Dubai with $2 million USD in prize money.
But, there’s an even bigger event just around the corner – PUBG Global Invitational.S 2021 is set to start on February 2nd. This PUBG event will be played in Seoul; it will feature 32 teams and bring forth thrilling Squads FPP action. I know PUBG isn’t really the most popular esports title to bet on, but it does have a certain charm. If you love watching competitive PUBG, then you shouldn’t miss out on this opportunity.
Six Invitational 2021
Yep, the biggest Rainbow Six esports event is just around the corner. The fifth iteration of Six Invitational starts on February 1st and lasts all the way through February 21st. We’re basically looking at R6’s Championship Finals. It’s the event that marks the end of the 2020 season by bringing forth the 20 best teams from last season.
The total prize pool consists of a base $500,000 plus 30% of all Road to SI 2021 Battle Pass sales. The amount is capped at $3 million, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it ends up capping out. What more is there to be said about this one?
Of course, Six Invitational 2021 is the pinnacle of this year’s Rainbow Six betting endeavors. Sure, regional championships will come and go, but the next event of this importance won’t come till January next year!
Call of Duty League
The inaugural season of the all-new Call of Duty League had its ups and downs. The viewership numbers were fine, averaging at close to 95,000 during the Inaugural Season Finals last August. Betting presence is there, but we haven’t seen major positive trends ahead of 2021. Perhaps the pandemic and lockdown measures got the better of CDL betting enthusiasts. Perhaps a fresh start is all that’s needed here.
The second season of CDL starts in January, but the official date hasn’t been officially revealed yet. It will feature twelve teams, including Los Angeles Thieves and OpTic Chicago and for the first time ever, the gameplay will be on PC plus controller instead of a console.
Unfortunately, Overwatch League is sinking further and further as far as viewership numbers are concerned. 2020 was a whole new low, with the inaugural season still labeled as the most popular OWL iteration. The most-watched 2020 event was the Playoffs Grand Finals in October. With 183,000 peak viewers and just shy of 93,000 average viewers, it’s clear that the OWL needs to change something if it wants to stop the negative trends.
However, these negative trends aren’t reflecting on Overwatch betting options. Bookmakers, those that don’t shy away from Overwatch markets, have solid offers on the table. There aren’t a lot of specials, but that shouldn’t be too big of an issue for your average esports betting Joe.
Best Esports Betting Sites for 2021
Not much has changed as far as good esports bookmakers are concerned. The ones that were on top last year are still there, actively innovating and improving their esports betting markets. If you’re looking to start betting on esports in 2021 but you have no idea where to look, we have a proper starting point for you. Our esports betting sites guide should be your next stop! It features all the essential things that’ll help you test the vast waters of esports betting.
Wrapping Things Up
Yep, 2021 has a lot to offer in terms of esports betting opportunities! Best of all, we’re finally seeing the return of LAN events which means we can expect even more specials than what we got used to during our 2020 esports betting endeavors.
Betting on esports in 2021 is going to be epic, I can already tell! The whole industry is maturing; thanks to an extra year of experience for everyone involved, I’m sure the level of competitiveness, viewership numbers, and production quality are going to be off the charts!