Do Majors influence other prize pools?

The Dota 2 community has contributed to the prize pools much less recently, leading to significantly lower figures in all non-Valve sponsored events. It is the Majors that look to be responsible for this state of things. What to expect in 2016 if this trend continues? Is it actually bad for Dota 2?
The Dota 2 community has been nothing short from incredible when it comes to increasing the prize pools. Some events have doubled, tripled or even multiplied 10 times the prize pool that is awarded to the teams purely thanks to the community. It is a phenomenon not only in eSports, but in sports as a whole. 
However, it seems like the peak was reached between the end of 2014 and the early 2015. We aren’t in the era where the base prize pool is only a slim part of what teams take home after the event anymore. Proof of that can be easily found by looking at the prize money of the recent tournaments. Probably the best example is The Summit 4 which is an established event greatly favored by fans. In the past, the base prize pool of $100,000 has been tripled at the 2nd iteration of the event, and almost tripled at the Summit 3. Meanwhile  this time, the increase was only 10%. 
The Summit 4 prize pool has shockingly low community contribution this time. Image: BeyondTheSummit
The exception is, of course, The International 5 which has again reached outstanding numbers. However, being a part of four Majors, it seems to be exactly the reason why all the prize pools in other events are lower. Yes, it is the introduction of three more Valve sponsored events which most likely leads to the decrease in prize money of other tournaments. 
Why is that the case? Well, the key to success, when it comes to increasing the prize pool in Dota 2, is having a great chest of cosmetics. Essentially, the better the hats attached to the event-- the bigger the prize pool. However, previously events competed only with each other and it was a fair game. With the introduction of Majors, there is a Valve event every three months and thus the competition isn’t fair anymore. It is obvious that the game creator will make sure to have far superior chests, which are now available almost constantly due to the frequency of the Majors.
As a result, the regular tournaments are in a position when at all times there is a better pack of cosmetics available on the market and just a better compendium in general. Because of that, most people who are going to increase the prize pools of the regular events are those who just want to support the tournament directly and aren’t looking only for new hats. That isn’t the same amount of users that raised the numbers so high in the past.
Introduction of a new trophy responsible for lower prize pools in other tournaments? Image: ESL.
Even though the reduction of prize fund in many tournaments seems to be a bad phenomenon for Dota 2 competitive scene, it doesn’t actually have to be the case. There has been over $30 million awarded in prize money in Dota 2 in 2015. Most of that came from The International 5 ($18 mill), Dota 2 Asia Championships 2015 ($3 mill) and the Frankfurt Major ($3 mill), the rest coming from other tournaments. Assuming that TI 6 will have around the same prize pool as TI 5 and that the Shanghai Major is a replacement for DAC, Valve will still pump another $3 million into the Dota 2 ecosystem with the last Major. It should compensate for the loss in community contribution to other tournaments. 
Moreover, it is much more healthy for the other tournaments to rely on sponsors to increase their prize pools rather than to try to outdo the competition with more and more fancy hats. It is just a better long-term model. It also gives more incentive for sponsors to invest more into base prize pools as it is much less likely that it will get overshadowed by the crowdfunding, especially as the Majors also seem to have a set prize pool at $3 millions. 
Overall, it looks like the Dota 2 scene is going the right direction with the crowdfunding mainly benefiting Valve and being only really used to boost the prize pool of only TIs while leaving more room for sponsors to invest into other tournaments. Additionally, at least for now, both biggest prize pools as well as the biggest prestige are at the events supervised by Valve. This leads to a certain quality standards for both players and fans and that is always a good thing to have.
AuthorProxyPL Date 6 December 2015, 13:19 Views9574 Comments0
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