Esports Around The World is a series of profiles outlining the esports ecosystem in various countries globally. The series ties into ESI’s international esports business events, which take place around the world.
Denmark has a strong history in esports and is one of the most dominant esports nations in Europe. The Scandinavian country — a region known for its formative role in the industry’s early growth — has been active in esports since the early 2000s and has enjoyed strong government support.
The Counter-Strike franchise is and has been the predominant esport in the country since its inception, a storied history that has helped propel esports to the mainstream — not just domestically in Denmark, but worldwide.
Thanks to early investments in digital infrastructure, gaming and esports has a high penetration rate in Denmark. According to Statistics Denmark — the country’s central authority on Danish statistics — 52 percent of men and 50 percent of women over 16 play games, and one in four citizens play daily or almost daily.
In March 2022, leading Danish esports organisation Astralis partnered with the Confederation of Danish Industry to support the industry’s development in the country. The same organisation is a partner of the Danish trade union HK Privat, the second largest trade union in the country.
Despite growing commercial success and popularity amongst ordinary Danes, esports in Denmark is fragmented among stakeholders, and some esports entrepreneur owners lack necessary business skills, according to a 2019 report by Denmark’s Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs.
Unfortunately, well-known Danish esports organisations Tricked Esport and Copenhagen Flames have both filed for bankruptcy in 2023. Meanwhile, major Danish esports organisation Astralis has voted to delist from the Danish NASDAQ.
Nonetheless, energy drink brand Red Bull opened its largest-ever venue in Denmark in 2023, called the Red Bull Gaming Sphere Aarhus.
Denmark is one of a handful of countries in which the government proactively supports esports.
In 2018, Denmark’s then-Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen gave an on-stage guest speech at BLAST Pro Series Copenhagen 2018, and has previously described Astralis’ Danish CS:GO team as ‘role models’.
Denmark was the first country to have a clearly-defined National Strategy for esports. The Danish Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs report said the government wanted to support the spread of esports and talked of the need to establish a sustainable, top-to-bottom structure for Danish esports.
It also claimed the government had launched a ‘strategic effort’ with a pool of DKK 10m (~£1.13m) available from 2019 to 2022 to “provide some impetus to projects that will strengthen Denmark’s position as a leading esports nation, and place an increased focus on esports throughout the country.”
In 2020, the Danish Tax Assessment Council (Skatterådet) ruled that esports is a grassroots sport in the same vein as football, handball, and other association-based activities, a ruling that renders esports associations in the country exempt from VAT tax.
Notable Tournaments & Leagues
Denmark is home to many top-tier, flagship tournaments. Most notably, BLAST is headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark. The ESL Pro League and EU LCS have both also held events in the country.
|ESL Pro League Season 6, 8, 10 Finals
|BLAST Pro Series
|EU LCS Spring Split Finals 2018
|BLAST R6 Major Copenhagen 2023
|PGL Major Copenhagen 2024
Notable Esports Organisations
Note that this is a non-exhaustive list and exclusion does not signify an org is not notable.
National Associations / Federations
Note that inclusion in this list does not suggest any acknowledgement from ESI of its authority, works or official capacity.
Several Danish educational institutions have integrated esports into curricula and activities, including at the middle- and high-school levels.
Additionally, Astralis runs Astralis Talent, a talent development programme and the academy team of the Astralis Group.
Moreover, Denmark has a culture of locally-run, traditional sports clubs. The esports arm of DGI – an umbrella organisation that promotes sports clubs in Denmark – has extended its infrastructure to support the development and participation of local esports clubs in the country.
This is a preliminary country profile and will be augmented with additional information over time. If you have any suggestions or feedback for this profile, please get in touch at [email protected]. Article originally published: April 13th 2022. Article last updated: August 4th 2023.