The International, the biggest e-sports event on the planet
In our article on side betting, we gave you some insights on the vast growth of the e-sports industry and with this the growth of side betting in e-sports tournaments. The industry continues to grow, dedicated e-sports arenas are build on the Vegas Strip and young professional gamers become millionaires.
As with every competition there is always the event of all events. In case of e-sports this is the International. It’s the biggest event of its kind with a prize pool of nearly € 20.000.000 ($24.000.000) and is hosted by Valve. Sixteen teams, with players from all over the world, are competing in the season climax for online battle arena game Dota 2. Dota 2 is a free-to-play battle arena game for PC. Teams of five players choose heroes to fight against opposing teams and take control of key points on a map. This game is played by an estimated 13 million players worldwide. Strange as it may sound, even for these young players the prestige of lifting the trophy at this ultra-competitive event is far more important than the cash prizes. The teams have fan clubs and the members are celebrities amongst their fans.
This tournament comes with its own online celebrity host, has live streams on Twitch attracting millions of spectators besides the 17.000 fans that watch the games live at arena. It comes with an extensive preview and commentary that are also broadcasted by a growing number of international TV-stations.
The reason this is called the biggest tournament is of course because of the prize pool. Each player on the winning team will have an whopping €1.700.000 in prize money in their bank accounts. Fans will take time of from work to watch the whole tournament.
Dota 2 is a free-to-play multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) video game developed and published by Valve Corporation. The game is the stand-alone sequel to Defense of the Ancients (DotA), which was a community-created mod for Blizzard Entertainment’s Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and its expansion pack, The Frozen Throne. Dota 2 is played in matches between two teams of five players, with each team occupying and defending their own separate base on the map. Each of the ten players independently controls a powerful character, known as a “hero”, who all have unique abilities and differing styles of play. During a match, players collect experience points and items for their heroes to successfully battle the opposing team’s heroes, who attempt to do the same to them. A team wins by being the first to destroy a large structure located in the opposing team’s base, called the “Ancient”.
You can watch the highlights of the 2017 Grande Finale here and more information about Dota 2 and The International can be found here.
It is pretty obvious that e-sports tournaments at this scale will attract not only attract the interest of big sponsors but are also outgrowing traditional live sports events as we know it. With this the legislation faces a new challenge to prevent illegal side betting and, even more important, protect minors from betting.