Some ESL numbers prompted some thoughts about balance.

Patrick Howell O’Neill wrote up a great overview of the success that was ESL’s recently-concluded IEM Katowice event. ESL claims that the four-day stop in Poland was the most watched European-based esports event to date. While the numbers in the infographic released by ESL really do tell the story of a great success, something else caught my eye and my mind sort of started doing the thing that could be called thinking.


IEM Katowice was highest-rated European esports event ever — Last week’s IEM World Championship and EMS One tournaments in Katowice, Poland combined to be the highest rated esports event in European history, according to numbers just released by Twitch and Turtle Entertainment, IEM’s parent company.

Do the companies that publish and support other games that are on the Intel Extreme Masters’ series see the event as a success for their game’s community? I’m sure that the viewership numbers alone are probably affirmation enough to allow the companies to pat themselves on the back for allowing their games to be included in these tournaments. The question I’m curious about: excluding the distorted prize purse of the StarCraft 2 winner-take-all event, does the level of investment that the companies put forward relatively resemble what actually goes into the community? If not, is that a big problem for the future of these games as esports or is it simply the circle of life in a twisted economically unstable sense?

I’m not exactly sure that I’m going to find nice results if I start looking. Even estimating the cost benefit of a single tournament at a community levels shows that the community puts in considerably more money than what is paid out (a tip of the hat to keekerdc for sharing an estimate). Besides, the whole bit relies on tournament organizers not completely being financially sound enough to raise money that isn’t dependent on things like contest and entry fees, which hasn’t really been the case at all, as far as I know.

In any case, more questions than opinions above, but I just felt like I needed to write that out. Link post format working? Link post format working.

Something doesn’t add up.

There was a number in the post-MLG Orlando press release that sort of prompted me to do a little digging.

“[…] $600,000 in prizes and stipends.”

I tried to work out the math on this one and this is what I came up with:

  • $120,000 (SC2 prizes)
  • $56,000 (Halo: Reach prizes)
  • $140,000 (Call of Duty: Black Ops prizes)
  • $6,400 (For qualifying SC2 pro players, estimated: 16 players * 400)
  • $6,400 (For qualifying Halo pro teams, estimated: 16 teams * 400)
  • $4,800 (For qualifying Call of Duty: Black Ops pro teams, estimated: 16 teams * 300)

That leaves approximately $266,400 as unaccounted for as various stipends or some manner of agreement that certain teams have with MLG to attend. This would certainly include the Korean GSL exchange agreements, additional stipends based on need for some players and of course, and deviations from my estimations of players involved in the pro player scene for each game.