Top 6 Can’t-Miss Esports Tournaments of 2022
With pandemic restrictions lifting around the globe, in-person esports tournaments are set to return throughout 2022. But don’t worry, online esports events aren’t going anywhere either. With so much happening, we thought we’d highlight a few of the biggest esports tournaments coming up this year.
Now, this isn’t a full list of esports tournaments. Hundreds of events happen all around the globe, from small regional tournaments to huge leagues with professional esports teams. Consider this a highlight reel of some of the top esports tournaments.
Where to watch esports
If you’re fortunate enough to live near a city where an in-person esports event is taking place, you can probably score tickets to watch the event live. For most events, though, you’ll need to watch online.
Twitch is still the biggest name in esports streaming, with Facebook Gaming and YouTube also broadcasting some current esports tournaments. To find out where to watch your esports of choice (or just to see what matches are on at the moment), check out the relevant game’s website for an up-to-date schedule.
As with regular sports, you don’t need to play the games to watch esports, though it certainly helps if you understand what the players are trying to achieve. All the big broadcasts have commentators that can help complete newbies (and everyone else) make sense of what’s going on.
How esports tournaments work
While things are different depending on the specific game, most esports leagues or seasons are arranged in tiers.
At the start of the season, players or teams compete in regional leagues where the winners qualify for either a tournament (often in person) or another league made up of the top players or teams from different regions. They all fight it out, hoping to qualify for the big knockout tournament with a hefty prize purse that closes out a season. It’s those end-of-season tournaments with all the best players in the world that are most exciting to watch.
1. League of Legends World Championship
Twenty-four teams from Riot Games’ 12 professional leagues play in the month-long, multi-city tournament. There will be live events in Mexico City, New York City and Toronto, before the finals in San Francisco.
2. Dota 2 The International
Dota 2’s The International competition is one of the biggest events in esports: The 2021 prize pool was more than $40 million.
While the dates haven’t yet been announced, the Pro Circuit qualifying competitions are already underway. The First Season has already finished, and the Second Season runs from March 14 to April 24, with the Major taking place May 11–21. The Third Season runs from June 6 to July 17 with the Major taking place August 4–14.
Keep an eye on the Dota 2 website for an up-to-date schedule and more details about The International as they’re announced.
3. Valorant Champions Tour
The Valorant Champions Tour is already underway and will run until September.
Stage One, ran through March and featured six regional tournaments. The winners are competing in the Masters One event April 14–29.
Stage Two runs from May to June, starting with an Open Qualifier May 5–8, before the Main Event that runs May 13 to June 26. The winners will compete in the Masters Two event in July.
This all builds to the Valorant Champions main event in September.
4. Rocket League Championship Series
Rocket League Championship Series Winter Major took place on March 26–27 at the YouTube Theater in Inglewood, CA.
All the teams there were looking to secure a place to the Rocket League World Championship in July, where a $6 million prize purse is up for grabs. Later this summer, first check out the Spring Major in London and then the World Championship in Dallas.
5. Free Fire World Series
The Free Fire World Series kicks off in May. The Play-Ins take place on May 14, and the Finals on May 21.
Another Free Fire World Series event is in November, but the exact dates have not yet been announced.
6. Asian Games
Perhaps the most exciting event from a legitimacy perspective, esports make their debut at the Asian Games 2022 in China, September 10–25. Sanctioned by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), this will be the biggest international sporting event that esports has ever been included in.
Gold, silver and bronze medals will be awarded for eight games: Arena of Valor, Dota 2, Dream of the Three Kingdoms 2, FIFA, Hearthstone, League of Legends, PUBG Mobile and Street Fighter V.
Other events to keep an eye out for
Those are just a few of the esports events we’re excited about. If you’re up for more, check out these:
- The Overwatch League starts in May. Players will be using an early build of Overwatch 2, which is sure to make things exciting.
- Fortnite constantly has online esports tournaments running. Check out the website for a list of current events.
- Call of Duty League’s Major II takes place March 31 to April 3. There will be two more upcoming in 2022.
- The World of Warcraft Arena World Championship kicks off in March. It all builds to the Arena World Championship Circuit Finals later this year.
- Halo isn’t the esports force it once was, but that might change in 2022. There will be in-person events throughout the year, and the Halo World Championship in Seattle, October 20–23.
- The Mobile Legends: Bang Bang World Championship M4 event will take place later this year. Keep an eye out at the game’s site for an announcement of the date.
Event availability and scheduling may have changed and is subject to change.