Following a lull, which saw Valve’s fundraising campaign for The International 2017 fall behind last year’s pace, the 2017 effort is now on tap to leave last year’s record-setting prize fund of $20.8 million in the dust.
And it was all thanks to one super-aggressive sale.
Where does The International 2017 stand?
The annual fundraising campaign for the biggest Dota 2 tournament on the planet has raised $19,667 305 as of today. This is well ahead of the pace set last year, at which point the campaign had generated $17,054,893.
As was the case last year, 25 percent of International Battle Pass and Levels sales go toward the prize fund for The International, which this year is slated to crown a champion at KeyArena in Seattle on August 12.
It’s worth noting that on Day 46, the 2017 campaign fell behind pace of the 2016 effort.
Part of the reason behind the changeover was the somewhat tepid reception of this year’s Collector’s Cache. In 2016, the Cache — which consists of a variety of goodies and generally inspires an influx of campaign contributions — resulted in the prize fund growing by roughly $1.4 million in a three-day span.
This year, the Cache was slightly less influential, with the prize pool growing by $1.3 million within three days of its release.
Other surprise announcements from Valve, including the reveal of a Kunkka Prestige Item and Quest Path, as well as the exclusive Siltbreaker: Act I Campaign, fell flat, barely generating any increased activity.
The release of the Immortal Treasure II on Friday fared better, but didn’t move the needle as much as it did last year. Immortal Treasure II inspired about $800,000 in contributions within three days of release, as opposed to $1.1 million in 2016.
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Weekend sale comes through
As much as the lackluster performance of the Collector’s Cache and Immortal Treasure II set off alarm bells, the primary reason why the 2017 campaign briefly lagged behind its immediate predecessor was nothing more than a matter of timing.
To elaborate, on Day 45 of last year’s campaign, Valve went live with an exclusive weekend sale that enabled players to purchase a Battle Level bundle for $14.99. This represented a more than 60-percent discount compared to purchasing the contents individually.
Players purchased the pack in droves. On the first day of release, the prize fund spiked $1.1 million, compared to just $143,000 the day before.
Valve went a step further this year. On June 22, it unveiled a Battle Level and Treasure Bundle that represented a staggering 70-percent discount. The sale, which lasted until June 26, inspired a huge uptick.
When the dust cleared, campaign contributions spiked $3.16 million in just four days, compared to $2.38 million for last year’s sale.
The timing of this year’s sale was a bit earlier than expected.
Why? Because in 2016, Valve waited to go live with its weekend sale until shortly after The International roster was hammered down. Well, the 2017 roster isn’t expected to be set by June 29, after the Open Qualifiers (June 22-25), and the Regional Qualifiers (June 26-29) conclude.
Thus, it surprised that the weekend sale didn’t begin June 30.
In either case, The International 2017 campaign now has a clear path toward $20 million, as it’s nearly reached that figure by the campaign’s halfway point.
Step right up, and place your bets
Although we haven’t witnessed any esportsbooks post odds on the final International prize pool, a select few have begun offering futures bets on the eventual winner.
- Bet365 has Evil Geniuses and Virtus Pro as the favorites at 3/1 on its esports betting platform. Both teams received a direct invitation into the tournament.
- PaddyPower also has Evil Geniuses at 3/1, with Virtus Pro and OG tied for second at 10/3.
Given these tight odds, it looks like this this year’s International will in fact, be a hotly contested affair.