Esports is a form of competitive gaming where the world’s best professional players compete against each other for internationally-known titles in big tournaments around the globe.
It’s an industry that has continued to grow steadily over recent years and now millions of people tune in to watch some of the biggest tournaments take place throughout the calendar. Esports has become so popular that even international sports betting operators like LeoVegas, Betfred & others are providing options to wager on the tournaments too, alongside other mainstream sports like football, tennis and horse racing.
The International Olympic Committee has also recognised competitive esports as it grows in popularity and discussed its potential future in the Olympics. With big prize money up for grabs, every player and each team must focus on making their way through rounds to reach the top and claim the title.
Playing some of the most popular games and competing in some of the biggest esports tournaments in the world, here are some professional teams that are at the top of the ranking right now.
Without a doubt, the top spot for the top professional esports teams at the moment goes to Team Liquid, who have earned around $35,689,948 in prize money over their tournaments since the team’s inception in the Netherlands in 2000. Team Liquid is a prolific esports team, competing in a total of 37 different games, with their most successful titles being DOTA, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), Fortnite, and League of Legends.
Just like professional athletes of traditional sports, esports players in professional teams also have extensive training routines. According to an article on Business Insider, in 2018 Team Liquid practised together for eight hours a day and also played extensively on their own in their spare time too. It was announced in November 2020 that Barney ‘Alphari’ Morris, from the UK had joined Team Liquid. He is currently one of the team’s successful players, playing top laner for Team Liquid’s League of Legends roster.
A relatively new team in the esports industry is OG, having been established in 2015. Based in Europe, the team participates in matches with the games Dota 2, CS:GO, and Valorant. One of the founders of OG is perhaps the most successful professional esports player of all time, Johan ‘N0tail’ Sundstein, from Denmark. Since their beginnings, OG have gone on to be one of the top teams in the esports industry.
However, their greatest success has come from dominating the Dota 2 circuit. They were the first team to ever win the Dota 2 Valve major and are also best known for their wins as champions of both The International 2018 and The International 2019. In terms of prize money, OG sits just behind Team Liquid having won around $33,943,233 in total. What sets OG apart from Team Liquid is that nearly all of their $33m prize money was won with a single title, DOTA 2.
Another popular team that is making its name in the esports industry right now is Evil Geniuses (EG). They were founded in 1999 and have had a variety of divisions over the years including Call of Duty, CS:GO, Dota 2, League of Legends, Super Smash Bros. and Rocket League.
Evil Geniuses have competed in many tournaments over the years, but like OG, most of their prize money has come from a single game. According to Esports Earnings, in total, Evil Geniuses have won $24,263,698 in prize money, with over 80% of this coming from Dota 2. The team’s most successful player is probably Pakistani gamer Sumail ‘SumaiL’ Hassan, who’s amassed a total of $3.6 million in prize money to date.
This year, EG have also announced ‘Press Forward: Young Women In Gaming’ in partnership with Women In Games International (WIGI) which is a summit series to help inspire young women to pursue career paths in esports and gaming. A selection of successful women in the gaming industry will lead panels on a variety of game industry topics. Event attendees will be able to take part in networking and also receive feedback from recruiters representing game companies who will also be attending.