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The International 4: Dotaball

For those of you who know me personally, you will understand how much of a Dota 2 fan I am. I’ve been playing the game for ages, never seem to get any better, but still pump small wads of money into this free-to-play game. Obviously, I recently bought a compendium for The International 4.

The International 4 (TI4) is a tournament that is touted as the “biggest Dota event ever” and quite rightly so. It takes 16 of the top teams from all over the world, some invited and some playing through qualifiers to earn their spot, over the space of a few days in Seattle, USA, for a massive prize pool. It’s a huge event in Dota 2 and it’s a huge event in eSports, not just in terms of the prize pool, but in the amount of people who find interest in the game and subsequently became fans afterwards.

Anyways, at the time of writing this article, the prize pool for TI4 has gone up to $6,283,131 and continues to grow on a daily basis. How this works is that gamers will buy a compendium for $9.99 (around R100) and of that money, $2.50 of it goes straight the prize pool. Valve has brilliantly included the compendium’s ability to level up, which means gamers are buying compendium points too, which also increases the prize pool, but benefits them by leveling up the compendium. Valve actually kicked off with 13 stretch goals, unlocking new things as the prize pool grew but since they were reached so quickly, had to bring in another nine stretch goals just to please the fans.

Thankfully since there are people who are a lot smarter than me, a Reddit user was able to put together a mathematical equation, having a look at the compendium “by the numbers”. Based on the calculations should things continue the way they are currently going, the prize pool should get to goal 19 which is around $9 million. By comparison, the prize pool for The International 2013 was $2,874,381. Alliance, the winning team, took home half of that for the gold with the second place Na’Vi taking home just over $600,000 and the teams below them, considerably less. Should this trend continue and the winning team takes half of the prize money, the winner for this year will receive around $4.5 million (if we get the aforementioned goal). For now though, let’s stick with the current prize pool of $6.2 million, so our winning team should get just over $3.1 million.

There are five players in a team, probably a manager, sponsors, costs and a whole bunch of other people who would probably take some of the money. If there weren’t, let’s talk just players. $3.1 million divided by five people in the team comes to $620,000 each.

Alliance taking The International 2013 Alliance taking The International 2013

According to Forbes, at the current prize pool, The International 4 would slot in at ninth for “The Ten Richest Sporting Events in the World”. It wouldn’t be too far behind The World Series of Poker but begins to get dwarfed by things like the FedEx Cup (golf) and the Super Bowl (NFL). At number one, the UEFA Champions League rocks a cool $65 million with the FIFA World Cup pulling up in second with $31 million, so football (or soccer) players are horrendously overpaid…

Having said that, winning $600,000 per player would catapult each player up to at least the top five. While the NFL team earns a lot from the Super Bowl, there are on average 45 players in a team. The World Series (baseball) prize pool is $19 million but the highest earning player grabbed $377,000, twice what the Super Bowl individuals earns but half of what one player in the winning TI4 team will get.

Lee ‘Jaedong’ Jae Dong Lee ‘Jaedong’ Jae Dong

In terms of eSports earnings, the highest overall eSports earning in the world is Lee ‘Jaedong’ Jae Dong (according to eSports Earnings), a Korean StarCraft and StarCraft 2 player. This man has been playing StarCraft since a very young age, started earning huge money when he was 17 (he’s now 24), has placed first in 13 tournaments around the world, second in nine of them and third in eight of them. Last year he took part in 15 tournaments and earned a little over $120,000. What this means is that any team in The International 4 can take the win, and each player will be instantly rocketed to the top of the eSports list. Not only that, but they will be able to earn more individually, than the best NFL or MLB players in the world.

It’s an amazing thing that Valve has done for its own community and it may just be the exact thing that eSports needs throughout the world. A tournament of this size with this type of prize pool will make the average Joe stand up and take notice. Good on you Valve, it’s going to be one hell of a tournament.