[toc]The sky appears to be the limit for the prize pool at The International 2017, which is less than two weeks away.
$23 million plus for The International?
Crowdfunding is a popular tool to raise funds for all sorts of things, ranging from medical bills, to new product launches, to esports tournament prize pools. And no esports tournament utilizes crowdfunding more effectively than than The International, which takes place Aug. 7-12 in Seattle.
This year’s championship for Valve’s Dota 2 has raised a record-breaking prize pool $22,657,229 and isn’t finished yet. With the event taking place in the second week of August, $23 million looks like a lock. There is still an opportunity for this event to be the first esports tournament to top $25 million.
The pool is largely funded by players of the game Dota 2 who purchase a digital package known as the “Battle Pass.” This package grants access to a variety of in-game goods, new in-game content and other goodies. Full details on the Battle Pass, along with the ability to purchase a pass for yourself, can be found here.
With such a large prize pool, the spoils do not go entirely to the victor. Prizes are paid all the way to 18th place. The top prize currently is almost $10 million, with the top six teams guaranteed a million dollars.
The winning team from the all-star game that takes place during The International 2017 will walk away with a cool $100,000 in addition to bragging rights.
The International 2017 continues a tradition of breaking records
This year’s prize pool is record-breaking, not only for Dota 2, but for all of esports.
While we still do not know how high The International 2017’s prize pool will go, we do know the others that top the list:
- The second largest prize pool belongs to last year’s International, which managed to raise an impressive $20,770,640 in 89 days.
- Third place in the list of highest esports prize pools is The International 2015, which raised $18,429,613 in 101 days.
- Fourth place, is an easy guess: It is The International 2014. This prize pool was a massive step up from the 2013 prize pool which was the very first attempt at crowdfunding. The 2013 prize pool reached $2,874,380, with Valve contributing its standard $1,600,000.
Others are following in the success of The International
The massive prize pool and success of crowdfunded prize pools has been noticed by other organizers, and this model is starting to see wider adoption.
Notably, Riot Games, creator of League of Legends, adopted crowdfunding for its 2016 world championship, which assisted in raising the overall prize pool to $5,070,000. This is more than double the $2,130,000 prizes in 2014 and 2015.
Blizzard is also looking to crowdfund this year for its Heroes of the Storm tournament series.
Organizers benefit along with players and teams
While the benefit to the teams playing in The International is clear, it’s Valve, the maker of Dota 2 and tournament organizer, that collects the largest check.
Only 25 percent of the proceeds from the purchase of Battle Passes are added to the prize pool. The rest go directly to Valve itself.
What these funds are used for is not entirely clear, but certainly some are used in the tournament itself, as hosting an event with the scale of The International is no small task.
A rich betting environment
With stakes this high, every team playing in this tournament will be bringing their very best, making The International an exciting esports betting opportunity.
North American team Evil Geniuses took home the prize in 2015 and are the favorites from the west. Chinese teams always come out in force at The International, having taken the top spots in 2012, 2014 and 2016. Look to all of the five Chinese teams represented this year to perform well.
The 2014 champs, Newbee, would love to have a strong showing this year, perhaps becoming the first two-time champions at The International.