eSports by the Numbers: Valve Wins

Valve’s The International 2013 Dota 2 tournament boasted the largest prize pool in eSports history — an impressive feat for a game that released less than two months ago, after being in beta since 2011.

While most major eSports tournaments are funded by one or two major sponsors, Valve made creative use of aspects of crowd funding to raise a large amount of the more than $2.8 million prize pool for The International 2013.

Valve raised the funds by selling copies of The Compendium, an updating, interactive book that contains general information on the tournament, the players, and even interactive predictions.

The Compendium sold for $9.99, and $2.50 of every sale went toward the prize pool. Valve supplied a baseline of $1.6 million, but the remaining $1.2 million was raised entirely by Compendium sales. To encourage fans to buy, Valve made use of stretch goals and other tactics proven to work on Kickstarter.

Just how big was The International 2013? Within hours of going live, it had nearly 400,000 concurrent live viewers. It got a mention on BBC News. It was featured on Q13 FOX News. A Swedish TV station covered the event. Valve confirmed sightings of more than one million live viewers.

Valve, a relative newcomer to the eSports scene, has just shown everyone else how it’s down. The company has proven a new model that may evolve eSports as a whole, and it’s possible that the scene was waiting for just this — for a company with the platform and influence to come in and pave the way.

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