The Coronavirus pandemic has changed the landscape of eSports slightly over the summer, with events either being cancelled or moving to an online-only state, where fans have no choice but to watch from home.
However, despite this, the ESL Pro Tour has been pushing on, and their two biggest events are still set to take place in the coming months.
This is great to see and while other sports are slowly starting to appear, there is still an opportunity for eSports to gain some new fans as people look for things to watch. During the peak of the pandemic, eSports was one of the few events still running. This led to increased interest both in terms of views on live streams and bets placed on the matches.
The entire industry will be hoping that the increased exposure during 2020 is not lost, and events such as the two big ESL events see record numbers of people tuning in to watch them. If events like these ones do well, there is plenty for eSports as a whole to build on going into the end of this year and the start of 2021.
ESL One Cologne 2020
First up is the Masters Championship, which will take place in Cologne, Germany at the end of August. This was scheduled to be a live event with fans in attendance but the decision has already been made to turn this into an online event, with a live broadcast for fans to watch and keep up to date with the action.
The event will run from August 21 until August 30, with the prize pool for the event standing at $1 million. A total of 16 teams will compete in the event, and these are teams that have had to qualify to reach the final, with points gathered across a number of smaller competitions and tournaments in the build up to this.
It is disappointing to see this event take place without a packed arena of fans watching on, but having the tournament go online is better than having no tournament take place at all.
ESL One Rio 2020
The biggest ESL event of the year has been saved until last. ESL One Rio 2020 is set to be huge, and if fans are allowed into the arena to watch live by the time this event happens then the organisers have said they are happy for that to happy.
We’ve seen Brazilian champions in the past, but we have never seen a huge event such as this one be hosted in Brazil, a country that continues to take eSports in, particularly CS:GO. Should their fans be in attendance, be prepared for a huge gaming atmosphere, there is a huge appetite for something like this in the country.
The dates for Rio 2020 have been set and the tournament will begin on November 19 and run until November 22. The event originally scheduled for Rio in May was cancelled, so the $1 million prize pool for that event has been added to the November event meaning there is a total of $2 million up for grabs here.
Two big CS:GO events have happened in Brazil in the past, both have drawn big crowds and a lot of attention. The build up to May’s cancelled event showed that it was going to be the biggest yet. Put all of that together and in November, we are going to see something special.
In a year where eSports as a whole could move forward a lot, the CS:GO world will be hoping that Rio 2020 can take advantage of that right at the end of the year with a bumper crowd, millions of viewers online and huge overall interest in the event.
Disruption earlier in the year caused the CS:GO tournament schedule to change or move online. ESL are looking to bring that back to life at the end of the year. They are at the forefront of all things CS:GO when it comes to big events, so it is no surprise to see them offering not one, but two major events over the next few months.
The first in Cologne has already moved behind closed doors with fans only able to watch via a live stream. Let’s hope the second one doesn’t suffer the same and that fans can go and cheer on some of the very best players in the world from the beautiful city of Rio.