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E-Sports in 2016

Jamie Burgess, Account Director from the FRUKT L.A team, takes us through the biggest E-Sports tournaments in the U.S.

We probably don’t need to tell you that E-sports is a huge thing, and it’s growing at an exceptional rate. However, beyond a few arms-length approaches to team sponsorships, there haven’t been a great deal of major link ups between big brands and E-Sports. Yes Coca-cola partnered with Riot Games studios for the League of Legends (LOL) Challenger Series and introduced a range of LOL inspired packaging. But significant and truly invested collaboration is yet to take off, but we at FRUKT see this changing over the next year. Here are our picks on the biggest events to come in 2016.

International Dota 2 Championship
Sixteen professional teams are given invitations to compete in the tournament. Since 2011 the prize money has risen from 1.6 million to a  huge $18 million, in only 5 editions of the tournament. There’s no denying that there’s no shortage of money in this game.
Evo (Evolution Championship Series)
The Evolution Championship Series (Evo) represents the largest and longest-running fighter game tournaments in the world. The tournaments are all about the participation however, and this one is open for anyone. The beauty of this one is that established champions can face off against unknown newcomers.
Apex is an annual e-sports tournament held in New Jersey that again focuses on fighting games. In particular, the main focus is the long time favourite Super Smash Bros. But the tournament also hosts other side-events for games such as Street Fighter, Marvel vs. Capcom and Tekken. Encouragingly, last year Apex was officially sponsored by Nintendo of America.

Major League Gaming
Just this January, the huge video game publisher Activision Blizzard announced that it had acquired Major League Gaming (MLG). The company apparently intends to use the purchase as part of its plan to build an e-Sports-focused television network, in the same vein as ESPN. This fits in line with MLG's aim to elevate computer and console game tournaments to viable competitive and spectator events.
UMG Gaming
UMG Gaming has been holding gaming events mainly for the Call of Duty franchise since 2012, it has become a staple event for top professional teams. UMG holds it’s origins as a LAN event provider, but they’ve also branched out into the physical and online gaming world. Online they’re a source for daily tournaments and ladders, offered on multiple games across various platforms. UMG Online is community based, so the users are always held front of mind.

Capcom Cup
Capcom Cup is an annual fighting game tournament, specifically focused on Street Fighter IV. Starting in 2013 the 2015 Capcom Cup version has doubled to a 32-man format. The Pro Tour has a total pot bonus of $500,000 thanks to a partnership between Sony Computer Entertainment and Capcom.
League of Legends Championship Series
The League of Legends is one of the most revered eSports tournaments around. They’ve attracted the larger portion of brand sponsorships, from the likes of Coca-Cola and American Express.
Each season is nine weeks of round-robin tournament play, followed by play-off tournaments between the top six teams from each region. The highest placing three teams in each league qualify for the annual League of Legends World Championship.