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Top five esports events to watch in 2020

With events every weekend and full seasons of multiple titles expected in 2020, it will be impossible to catch them all. This list will run down the top five that look set to be worth watching this year.
As changes and concerns regarding the inaugural season of the Call of Duty League have shown, the esports calendar can get very crowded even with just one or two titles to consider.

When each game has their own championships, all-star events, circuits and major tournaments, it can be hard to know just what to watch and which matches matter more than others in every scene.

Whether your relationship with each game is Global Elite or Iron, this list contains the top five tournaments to watch throughout 2020 if you simply want to watch an esports title at its best.

 

The International 2020

  • Dota 2

  • 18-23rd August (main event)

  • $1,600,000 + uncapped crowdfunded prize pool

With a prize pool that breaks records every year, The International is the jewel in the Dota 2 competitive crown.

Following the Dota Pro Circuit, a series of Major and Minor events throughout the year that award points for placements, 12 teams will automatically qualify for TI.

A further six spots will be filled by regional qualifiers in China, CIS, Europe, North America, South America and Southeast Asia. 

Set to be held at the Ericsson Globe in the Swedish city of Stockholm, The International 2020 marks the tenth TI and will see two-time champions OG attempt to take a third Aegis of Champions against all odds.

 

2020 World Championship

  • League of Legends

  • TBD

  • $2,225,000 prize pool (not including any season winnings)

League of Legends is a juggernaut of esports. With leagues across the world, any team could make an appearance at Worlds.

With a Play-In stage for smaller regions and direct pathways for champions of larger regions, it is a meeting of the best global League of Legends teams every year.

A 'theme song' is released annually for the event, with 2019 seeing the release of Phoenix featuring Cailin Russo and Chrissy Costanza.

It was fitting that FunPlus Phoenix were the eventual winners in Paris, crushing G2 Esports and the EU dream.

As G2 retained their roster for 2020, it looks like the Europeans will be looking to do the same in China, taking down any LPL challengers on their home soil to lift the Summoner's Cup, as long as they manage to perform domestically in the LEC to qualify.

 

ESL One Rio Major

  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

  • 11-24th May

  • $1,000,000 prize pool

While CS:GO has two Majors per year as well as ESL One Cologne, 2020 will see a CS:GO Major take place in South America for the first time.

Denmark and France are yet to get their Major, but Brazil as a location is exciting when the history and rise of the region's biggest names are put into context.

The likes of MIBR have seen a fall from grace and the addition of the best player in the world from 2016 and 2017, Marcelo "coldzera" David, has not yet revived FaZe Clan.

With the chance to play in front of a passionate home crowd and numerous months passing since Astralis' record-breaking fourth Major title at the StarLadder Berlin Major, it will be the tournament to watch for fans and newcomers to GO alike.

 

2020 Evolution Championship Series

  • Multiple fighting game titles

  • 31st July - 2nd Aug

  • Various prize pools

The FGC is often left on the sidelines. With small prize pools and as a side offering at events like DreamHack versus other esports on the billing, EVO is the weekend in which fighting games take the spotlight.

With EVO Japan 2020 taking place in January, the main event in the summer will see Las Vegas host

Last year saw Takahashi "Bonchan" Masato triumph in Street Fighter V, Leonardo "MKLeo" Lopez Perez

 

Apex Legends Global Series Championship

  • Apex Legends

  • TBD

  • Over $3,000,000 total prize money in the series

Apex Legends is only a year old but has been exceptionally popular since its release in February 2019.  As a battle royale, it competes with the likes of Fortnite and PUBG, but the ability to choose 'legends' with different abilities in your squad of three has made the game unique.

Despite a slow esports effort initially, $100,000+ tournaments at TwitchCon San Diego and the EXP Invitational at X Games Minneapolis took place as well as the $500,000 Apex Legends Preseason Invitational in September.

The new Apex Legends Global Series for 2020 is an attempt to create a competitive circuit that allows any player to qualify online for LAN tournaments including the Global Majors, with the first taking place in March.

There will be a Championship at the end of the year to determine the Apex Legends Global Series World Champions, with the best teams from throughout the year attending. While the prize pool is unlikely to match the Fortnite World Cup, Apex Legends is an underrated title to watch this year.