[toc]Just a few weeks back, doubts lingered as to whether The International 2016 prize pool would eclipse last year’s record-breaking mark.
Thanks to a clever, and somewhat unexpected marketing scheme by campaign runner Valve, those doubts have been quietly put to rest.
Weekend sale prompts massive uptick
That announcement came on June 30, by way of an extended weekend sale on Battle Level Bundles that was so generous, it sparked the single biggest sales surge of any mid-campaign announcement in the campaign’s four year history.
Data provided by dota2.prizetrac.kr:
Players who participated in the event received:
- 50 Battle Levels
- 2x Immortal Treasure I
- 2x Immortal Treasure II
- 2x Collector’s Cache
The weekend package cost $14.99 total, representing a 60 percent discount. For perspective, under normal circumstances the purchase of 48 Battle Levels alone will set players back $19.98.
Prior to the blowout, the prize pool was ticking up at a rate of approximately $100k – $200k per day.
On Day 1 of the sale, it surged by just over $1.1 million. And by the time the final bell rang, the sale — which neatly coincided with The Steam Summer Sale — bolstered the prize pool by just shy of $2.4 million, in only four days.
As it stands, the weekend sale is proving the difference maker between a rather pedestrian campaign struggling to reach new heights, and one that at nearly $18 million with several weeks left to go, should easily eclipse the $20 million threshold.
No longer a question of ‘if’ but ‘by how much’
With a new record all but certain, the question becomes: “By just how much will The International 2016 prize pool beat out last year’s mark?”
In the past week, the campaign has averaged $85,000 in prize pool contributions per day. Extending that average out over the remaining weeks of the campaign, we arrive at an estimated $19.94 million.
However, there are two wrinkles that should push the prize pool higher than this figure. The first is the reveal of the Immoral Treasure III package.
Three weeks ago, Immortal Treasure II facilitated a nearly $900k two days sales surge. History tells us that Immortal Treasure III will spark a more subdued uptick than its predecessors, but still an impactful one nonetheless.
Also, we expect momentum to pick up over the next few days due to Valve’s inclusion of a new community challenge for 2016: the High-Water Mark. Should the prize pool of this year’s International eclipse last year’s, players will receive a bevy of rewards, including three Trust of the Benefactor treasure rewards – each of which will offer a chance at ultra rare, limited-run items.
Already, the High Water Mark is impacting sales. Just last weekend, the prize pool was only growing by approximately $70k per day, but in the last two days it’s averaged $120k. Expect this growth rate to accelerate daily until the record falls.
Together, these two variables paint a picture of a $21 – $22 million final prize pool, which is more or less in line with our original bull case estimates.
That being said, it’s plausible that Valve has one final curveball in store for its contributors that could vault the final tally to as high as $24 million.
Paddy Power taking bets on International prize pool
Paddy Power, one of a growing number of online sportsbooks to offer esports betting odds, is now accepting wagers on the final International prize pool. The wager is categorized under Dota 2 TI 2016 Futures.
From this category, players can also wager on the outright winner of the tournament. Betway is also taking futures on the final outcome.
As somewhat expected, Paddy Power’s highest confidence intervals for the final prize pool are in the $20 – $22 million and $22 – $24 million ranges — both of which offer players betting odds of 17/10.
The $18 – $20 million and $24 – $26 million ranges are somewhat less expected, but far from long-shots, coming it at 4/1.