The number of eSports tournaments held in North America jumped from 8,809 in 2011 to a projected 47,500 in 2014, according to Vancouver-based eSports platform Battlefy.
Using publicly-available data, in-house developed algorithms and data from tournament organizers, Battlefy today released figures showing the growth in eSports tournaments, as well as the top 10 games played in tournaments since 2013.
Riot Games' League of Legends topped the list with 7,565 tournaments held in 2013. This was followed by Valve's Dota 2 with 5,012 tournaments, the FIFA series with 4,919 tournaments and the Pokémon franchise with 3,606 tournaments. The complete list can be view below.
Game (number of tournaments held in 2013)
League of Legends (7,565)
Dota 2 (5,012)
FIFA (Series) (4,919)
Pokemon (Total franchise) (3,604)
Starcraft 2 (3,104)
Call of Duty (Series) (2,263)
Street Fighter (Series) (656)
Battlefield (Series) (226)
World of Tanks (195)
Battlefy co-founder Jason Xu told Polygon said the data contained a few surprises.
"Given that League of Legends has almost nine time the monthly active players Dota 2 had, and the two franchises are very similar, we were surprised that Dota 2 tournament and player numbers were so strong," Xu said. "This could potentially mean Dota 2 players are more competitive/hardcore than League of Legends players.
"Pokémon in fourth place was also somewhat of a surprise," he said. "We knew that franchise had a dedicated following, but did not expect that the numbers would be as high as we found they were."
Xu said the factors that determine the popularity of a game at a tournament level include how easy it is to enjoy the game as a spectator, whether or not it is skill-based and whether the tournaments themselves are supported with sponsorships and prizes.
"A game has to be skill-based to thrive," Xu said. "Games with a high skills ceiling and low skills floor mean more players can get into the game at a base level and see professional players doing something they can aspire to.
"This idea of continual improvement is something that attracts the type of players who play in tournaments - the top players are incredibly driven and competitive."