The August Bank Holiday weekend saw the 9th DOTA 2 International (TI9 for short) take place in Shanghai China, and what a show it was! Featuring epic cosplay competitions, a short film contest, two new hero announcements, and, of course, the tournament itself.
Before we get started, check out this blog post if you haven’t already, as it’ll give you a little bit of background information on the popularity of eSports.
Record Number 1 – Prize Pool
DOTA 2 has always been famous for being the most popular esport with the biggest prize pools; in fact, DOTA 2 holds 13 out of the 20 biggest prize pools in esports history, which says enough. Well, it’s about to get even more staggering.
The total prize pool for the 2019 DOTA International was an absolutely mindblowing $34.3 million. With almost a $10 million increase in just a year, we could realistically expect to see this top $100 million within five years (considering 2014’s prize pool was $11m).
What is the Dota TI Prize Pool and Where Does it Come From?
The DOTA 2 prize pool is split between every single team invited to participate. The bottom two teams receive about $85k each, and the top team win $15.6m.
Valve contributes a ‘base’ amount to the tournament prize pool to kick things off, usually about $1.6m, with the rest of the prize pool being ‘crowdfunded’ directly by players who buy the DOTA Battle Pass.
Only 25% of the revenue from Battle Pass sales go directly to the TI prize pool, with the rest being distributed around the pro circuit across the year and used to develop new features, events, and rewards for players.
Records Number 2 and 3 – The First TI Repeat Winner
OG beat Team Liquid 3-1 in a best-of-five final, becoming the first team to win the TI more than once, as well as the first team to win two years in a row.
This is especially impressive when you consider what happened to the winners of the TI6 competition in 2016, Wings Gaming. Wings were a force to be reckoned with, and everyone expected them to be a long-term presence in the DOTA 2 esports world, except… they disintegrated before the following year’s TI even took place.
Team Liquid and OG are two teams that have put forward high-class performances over a longer period of time than a year, which is great to watch and forget about the disappointment of the Wings team.
With OG being 2018’s victors and Team Liquid being the 2017 winners, so we knew this was going to be a great clash of the titans to watch.
Record Number 4 – DOTA Viewership on Twitch
At its peak, TI9 reached 1 million live viewers on Twitch.tv, which is the biggest DOTA 2 viewership ever.
Players are obviously engaging with the game more than ever, considering their mammoth contribution to the prize pool, but it’s also clear to see the game is easily reaching a massive number of spectators too, just like any sports game.
Can DOTA 2 Compete with Fornite?
DOTA’s recent records are surely impressive, but you shouldn’t sleep on Fortnite, at all.
DOTA consistently broke the ‘highest prize pool in esports’ record – beating themselves several times. This is with the exception of 2019 – when the Fortnite World Cup took place and they held the record for about three weeks. The rate of growth seen in both of these games is incredible, even more so when you consider the fact that DOTA 2 is six years old and Fortnite is only two.
Finally, Twitch viewership is still completely dominated by Fortnite. August 2019 saw about 94.5m views alone, compared to DOTA 2’s 37.9m. DOTA 2 isn’t in the top five most viewed games on Twitch but spectators are most certainly turning up to watch the tournaments, as Fortnite’s World Cup had a peak of just over 2m live views on Twitch.
Both of these games have bright futures, and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in 2020. For now, though, I’ll just patiently wait for the Overwatch League season 2 grand finals and the Overwatch World Cup. You didn’t think I’d be able to go a whole esports post without mentioning Overwatch, did you?