This article explains three techniques that can help both tournament organizers and fans who want to support events.
A memorable tournament is what everyone desires — players, fans, organizers, and brands who want to use the event for promotion. But every esports tournament needs to have a prize pool that can positively affect the number of spectators and attract top teams to the competition. Engaging the esports community will help the event thrive financially and increase the prize pool.
In-game items and assets
When acting as tournament organizers, publishers have a straightforward way to raise funds by selling in-game assets. Valve, Blizzard, Riot Games, and other publishers have applied this approach and continue using it. Every year, Valve releases the International Battle Pass, an in-game bundle that offers a variety of goodies. A quarter of International Battle Pass sales goes towards the prize pool of The International, the annual Dota 2 tournament. If we look at The International 10 with its prize pool of $40,018,195, you can be sure that this method of raising funds is more than promising.
Blizzard gave 25% of the proceeds from each purchase of Transmorpher Beacon or Lion’s Pride and Horde’s Might Fireworks to the Arena World Championship (AWC) and Mythic Dungeon International (MDI) prize pools.
The downside is that only gamers can benefit from purchasing in-game assets. Spectators who don’t play themselves but love to watch grand tournaments have no reason to buy things they can’t even use.
Popular fundraising services
A popular way to collect money for the prize pool is crowdfunding. For example, the Matcherino platform provides organizers with tools to increase and manage the prize pool. The platform works almost like an ordinary crowdfund. That is, anyone can just donate or buy something that the organizers offer. Matcherino is suitable for both local competitions and international ones. In 2018, Ninja’s Fortnite event in Las Vegas used the service to manage the prize pool transparently.
Besides standard tools, Matcherino also provides a unique Sponsor Quest feature. Sponsors willing to support grassroots events will fund your event if the audience completes some simple actions. For example, sponsors contribute to the prize pool when fans subscribe to the YouTube channel or follow the Twitter account, increasing brand awareness. This is a win-win for all parties: the brand only pays for user actions, fans can help the tournament they want to see without making contributions from their own wallet, and organizers get funds.
Tools like Matcherino help organizers, brands, fans, and players meet on a single transparent platform and cooperate, but these services keep a part of the collected money.
In addition to the time-tested options, there are also modern methods such as selling NFTs. Just as fans buy some kind of merch at sporting competitions, concerts, and other events to memorize them, they can purchase NFTs and raise funds for the tournament.
For example, WePlay Collectibles launched the NFT collection “Shooter: from A to Z” in support of the WePlay Academy League Season 2. Plus, they announced that 50% of sales will go to the losing team of the finals as the Runner-up Award. While the tokens are not specific to this tournament but rather represent slang expressions used by shooter fans, the entire collection sold out in a few weeks.
To create a collection that would be sought after, tournament organizers have to collaborate with creative digital artists. This way, the fans get outstanding esports memorabilia and players compete for a bigger prize pool.
There are many ways to attract investment for a prize pool. One way is to sell NFTs that provide value reaching beyond the game. Esports memorabilia piques the interest even among fans who don't play themselves. In this way, the tournament organizer establishes a rapport with the entire fan base, and not just part of it. The NFT market is booming, so esports tokens can catch the attention of people far removed from esports and tournaments, and who knows, maybe collecting esports memorabilia will turn them into loyal fans someday.
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