Esports Live Stream Guide | How to Watch Esports Online in 2021

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Esports Live Stream Guide | How to Watch Esports Online in 2021

One of the biggest appeals of esports is that live streams of tournaments and events are readily accessible to anyone with a reliable internet connection and a device to watch them on.

Some of the biggest titles in esports can be viewed via live streams, with popular choices including League of Legends and Dota 2.  If you’re itching to follow the latest developments or keep up with your favorite team and players, live streams make it easier than ever to stay engaged with esports. However, they are also invaluable resources for those looking to improve their own gaming skills, especially if they’re planning on entering the fray as a professional in the future. If you’re new to esports and need some help making sense of live streaming, our guide is here to help.

Watching Esports Online

Watching esports live streams online is one of the easiest ways to engage with this competitive virtual sport. Provided you have a laptop, desktop, or smartphone, you can keep up-to-date with the latest developments. You can access the biggest live streaming platforms directly through an internet browser. However, if you prefer to view live streams on your smartphone or tablet device, you will find tailored apps for an improved viewing experience. Just make sure you are downloading the right app for your device type.

One thing to bear in mind is that the kind of streaming content offered will vary from service to service. Platforms such as 1337PRO are good options if you want a more varied choice of live stream fixtures, while other services will tend to have a high number of amateur streams. If you want to follow the biggest esports games, make sure you are searching for official channels. Take Twitch, for example. Although this platform plays host to casual streamers, it also provides official channels for popular esports titles like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Another good thing about these designated channels is that they are likely to include archived content. Therefore, if you miss an important fixture or match up, you can access and view it later.

Live Stream Platforms

Twitch continues to dominate the live streaming scene, other platforms are available for those who want to watch esports online. YouTube Gaming was once a fierce rival to Twitch, with a dedicated app for live stream viewing. Although this app was retired in 2019, YouTube continues to provide live stream gaming options, with its dedicated gaming channel boasting more than 88 million subscribers as of May 2021. While YouTube’s flagship gaming channel has a focus on solo gaming, co-operative titles like Call of Duty and Counter-Strike regularly pull in tens of thousands of viewers at a time.

A fairly new addition to the esports streaming sphere, Facebook Gaming is another worthwhile option for those looking to live stream gaming online. Unlike Twitch, Facebook Gaming does not have a user-friendly browsing feature. Instead, you will need to like a page or follow a user to be alerted of when a stream is about to start. As such, Facebook Gaming is better suited toward those who want to follow casual game-play or check in on streams broadcast by people on their friends list.

Mainstream Esports Streaming Platforms

As the popularity of esports continues to grow, more mainstream broadcasting and live streaming options are becoming available. Big names in broadcasting, including the BBC and ESPN, have both offered live streaming of esports tournaments in the past. Although these streams are not as regular as other platforms, they are still easily accessible. Another big benefit of these streams is that the production values are generally first-rate. Overall viewing experience is much improved, with more reliable streams and in-depth commentary provided. However, one downside is that you miss out on the ability to converse with other viewers, which is a staple of many other platforms.

Ultimately, you will need to decide on what is most important to you as a viewer when selecting a suitable live streaming platform. If you want high-profile guests and commentary, you may be better served by the big-budget streaming broadcasts occasionally offered by the likes of ESPN. However, if you want to discover the next big thing in esports and comment on the action along with other viewers, a platform like Twitch is probably a better fit.

Photo by Martin Garcia/ESPAT Media

Corey Pollack
Corey is a team member of one of the world's largest esports organizations. Corey is also the founder of Wave Digital Media, one of Canada's 60 fastest growing companies. You can learn more about Corey via our About page.