We’ve been covering the International DOTA 2 Championships since they announced the prize pool for the event. Initially, Valve, the makers of DOTA 2, put up $1.6 million of their own money for the event and gamers have contributed to the prize pool for the event through the purchasing of the Dota 2 International Championships Compendium. DOTA 2 is a MOBA game (Massively Online Battle Arena) much like League of Legends, which is one of the more popular of the two and is made by Riot Games. DOTA 2 has only officially been out for a year or so (but has been in beta since 2011), but the momentum of the game is picking up even faster than anyone had suspected and is likely trying to compete with Riot Games for their user base.
However, Riot games funds their World Championships and last year’s season which was from a pool of $2 million, with the first place team splitting the $1 million prize. Similarly, Last year’s International DOTA 2 Championship was around $3 million ($2.8 million) with half of the prize going to the winning team, Team Alliance. This year’s $10 million prize so far eclipses both of those figures that it has now propelled eSports into the level of incredibly real sporting competitions. Many comparisons have been drawn with the FedEx cup which is the highest paying sporting event in Golf and actually eclipses any other horse racing event in the world and many other sports including Cricket, Rugby and virtually any other sport that isn’t Soccer or American Football. Obviously figures change from year to year, but at $10 million and counting there’s a good chance that a lot of people are going to want to switch to play DOTA 2 instead of League of Legends.
After all, the $10 million is split among the top 8 teams that compete, which means that there’s still a ton of money being played for even if you don’t finish in the top 4 where the real money can be had. Looking at the DOTA 2 split from last year, the top team gets 50 percent and the rest of the teams split the remainder. The 2nd place team gets 22 percent, 3rd place team gets 10 percent, 4th place team gets 7 percent, 5th and 6th get 4 percent and 7th and 8th get 1.5 percent. That means, if Valve continues with these percentages for the $10 million pool this year, 1st place will get over $5 million. That means that each and every member of the team walks away with $1 million and immediately become millionaires. Sure, there are coaches and other costs, but in the end there’s $1 million per player being awarded which can’t be said about most sports, team or not. Being able to become a millionaire in a Team eSport is mind boggling on its own.
Now, if you take the same percentages from last year and apply them to this year, 2nd’s place stands to win $2.2 million (over $400k per player), 3rd place stands to win $1 million (over $200k per player), 4th place stands to win $700,000 (over $100K per player) and 5th and 6th places each take home $400,000 (over $90K per player). Last (and least) the 7th and 8th place teams would likely take home $150,000 which still comes out to $30,000 per player which is nearly what the entire team got for winning last year in the same place. The sheer size of this tournament is really starting to weigh on me now.
Now, if we compare those numbers to last year’s League of Legends final, we will see why there’s a good chance that a lot of people will soon consider switching to DOTA 2 (unless Riot Games significantly ups the prize pool). Mainly that the 3rd place DOTA 2 team will earn as much money as the 1st place team did in League of Legends’ final.
Based on the above numbers, the winners of this year’s DOTA 2 International Championships will actually walk away with more money individually than the entire team of SK Telecom T1 did last year. Additionally, 2nd place players in DOTA 2′s Championships will walk away with more money than the entire 2nd place team did in the League of Legends finals ($400K vs $250K). The numbers just continually get more and more drastic with the 4th place team in DOTA 2′s Championships walking away with almost as much per player as the entire 3rd and 4th place teams did in the League of Legends final.
This means that the stakes are higher than they have ever been and Valve has found a way to make their game more competitive with Riot’s League of Legends, by simply allowing the community to incentivize the game’s growth. $8.4 million out of the current $10 million was added to the prize pool by the community, so they clearly want to see DOTA 2 succeed and by the looks of it, this is going to be one of the most talked about eSports events, ever. I even remember when I first heard about League of Legends $1 million prize for their final and how big of a deal that was. Now we’re looking at $10 million which is no chump change, and likely explains why universities are handing out eSports scholarships, even though right now they’re only for League of Legends (not sure how long that’ll only be League of Legends now that DOTA 2 has a $10 million pool).