The USA has quickly established itself as a global superpower in the nascent esports scene and its teams have already enjoyed tremendous success. However, competition is fierce in the world of competitive gaming and South Korea, China, Scandinavia and Brazil are also producing very prosperous franchises.
The likes of Astralis, Invictus and Team OG are going from strength to strength and seizing big tournaments and it is crucial for American teams to work hard in order to fight back. Here are the biggest US esports franchises to root for in 2019:
This Los Angeles-based franchise has enjoyed a remarkable rise to prominence over the last few years and it is now the world’s richest esports team. It made an inauspicious start to life when the Quantic Gaming organization went bankrupt and left its League of Legends team without a sponsor. The players banded together under the name Team NomNom and then Cloud9, although results were poor.
Its fortunes changed in 2013, when former Team SoloMid manager Jack Etienne purchased it for $15,000. Results immediately improved under Etienne’s management and it has gone on to win all manner of big tournaments.
The franchise is now valued at $310 million and that makes it the richest organization on the competitive gaming circuit. Sponsors include AT&T, BMW, Red Bull, HP and even the US Air Force.
However, it has not yet enjoyed the level of success that some of its peers have achieved. In only ranks 13th in team earnings from tournament prize pools, well behind the leader Team Liquid, which has some American players but is based in the Netherlands. Cloud9 is also only seventh in terms of social media following, so it needs fans to back it to the hilt as it aims to capture big trophies this year. Along with LoL, it competes in CS:GO, Overwatch, Hearthstone, Rocket League, Fortnite, PUBG, Apex Legends, Super Smash Bros. Melee and more.
On November 12, 2018, Cloud9 was named Esports Organisation of the Year at the Esports Awards and its potential is enormous.
This respected organization has racked up an impressive $21.3 million in prize money through its success at 760 tournaments. That leaves it second only to Team Liquid in terms of overall prize money, and it took Team Liquid 1,516 tournaments to reach $25.9 million. That shows just how strong Evil Geniuses is when it enters an event and its teams are feared across the board. If you check out the esports odds you will almost certainly see Evil Geniuses as one of the favourites to triumph at the tournaments in which they participate in.
It competes in LoL, Dota 2, StarCraft II, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow 6 Siege, World of Warcraft, Rocket League, Halo and more. It won The International 2015, the leading Dota 2 tournament of the year, and other massive successes include victory in the 2018 Call of Duty Championship.
EG was founded in Canada as a Quake clan all the way back in 1997, but it has been based in San Francisco for many years now. It retains a few Canadian players, but the majority of its stars are American, as are its coaches and leading executives.
It was formerly owned by GoodGame Agency, a part of the Amazon.com empire, but it is now independently owned. It is renowned for having extremely competitive teams in every game it is active in and it is a great option for any Americans looking for a big franchise to cheer on.
Ryan “OpTic J” Musselman and the OpTic KR3W founded this franchise in 2006 as a Call of Duty sniping team. Musselman handed over control of the organization to Hector “H3CZ” Rodriguez the following year and it went on to establish itself as one of the world’s premier esports operators.
Texas Rangers co-owner Neil Leibman snapped it up in 2017 and it is now rated among the top five wealthiest competitive gaming franchises. Mountain Dew and Nissan are among the world-famous brands that sponsor OpTic Gaming.
It continues to thrive within the Call of Duty circuit and it won the Championship in 2017 and the Las Vegas Open in 2019. The current Call of Duty roster is Danish, but Americans dominate its League of Legends and Gears of War teams, while it also competes in CS:GO.
Immortals is attempting to purchase the organization, according to ESPN, and that would be an interesting departure for the team, but right the Texas-based franchise it is concentrating on the business of winning tournaments and it is earning more and more fans all the time.
Former League of Legends player Andy Dinh set up Team SoloMid in California in 2009 and it is now rated as the second most valuable esports organization on the planet. It has not matched that success in actual competition results, as it is just 38th in overall prize earnings, but its potential is vast.
Its commercial team has certainly been extremely busy and it has already pulled in more than $25 million from tie-ins. The huge list of sponsors includes T-Mobile, Geico, Gilette, Red Bull, HTC, Hyper-X, Logitech and Dr Pepper. It is the only franchise known to record a positive cash flow and it is now time to turn that commercial might into gaming success.
Its greatest achievements have been in LoL, where it has won six of 10 splits of the North American League of Legends Championship Series. It also competes in Clash Royale, Apex Legends, Rocket League, Hearthstone, PUBG, Smash Bros. Melee, H1Z1 and Magic: The Gathering Arena, so you will be able to cheer it on in a number of different disciplines throughout the course of the year.
FaZe Clan has built up a reputation as one of the most iconic brands in Call of Duty esports. It announced itself as a force to be reckoned with by winning the Iowa Pro Gaming Challenge 2012 and really came into its own in 2015 thanks to the achievements of luminaries such as Enable, SlasheR, Clayster and Attach.
FaZe reached the semi-finals of 14 consecutive tournaments, winning five and finishing runner-up in seven. That established it as the most consistent Call of Duty team on the scene and it has continued to enjoy success, despite several roster changes.
It has since branched into a number of other esports, mainly focusing on first-person shooters and battle royale titles. CS:GO is one of the most popular esports in the world and FaZe Clan is a household name within that gaming community. It first came onto the scene in 2016, when it acquired the roster of G2 Esports. It now looks set to hit the big time after it toppled the world’s number one team, Astralis, and also beat Natus Vincere and Liquid to win BLAST Pro Series Miami 2019.
It also competes in Fortnite, PUBG and Tom Clancy’s Rainbow 6 Siege, while it has entered FIFA tournaments too.