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Dota 2 Riyadh Masters’ $15m dollar prize pool sparks controversy in the community

Soon after the disastrous Dota 2 Bali Major, the community turned their attention to the Middle East for the Riyadh Masters tournament on July 17th and its massive $15 million dollar prize pool.

Last year the event boasted a $4m pool, however after receiving attention and several sponsors, they managed to triple it for 2023. This has officially made Riyadh Masters the biggest non-Valve-sponsored tournament in Dota 2 history. The winner of the Saudi Arabian capital event will go home with a $5 million prize pool in clash, which sparked controversy as the community immediately started to compare it to the entire Dota 2 Pro Circuit.

Dota 2 Riyadh Masters’ $15m dollar prize pool sparks controversy in the community
Riyadh Masters announcement via Gamers8 social media

For educational purposes, Gaimin Gladiators, a squad who won all 3 DPC Majors in 2023, won $200k from each event which is equal to 13-14th place within Riyadh’s tournament. It is an astronomical difference in money between both competitions and even the early days of crowd funded TIs.

Most of the community agrees the new DPC structure is exactly what the competitive scene was looking for, as teams are now interested in participating in several Majors instead of just waiting for The International to start. With Valve starting to invest currency throughout several regions and competitions, most organizations outside of the world’s top 8 started to participate in mid-season DPC tournaments to keep themselves operational.

Gaimin Gladiators’ historic triple Major this year has only given them $600k while becoming the second team in Dota 2 history to achieve this feat. The first organization to accomplish it was OG back in 2016, who accrued a total of $3 million. It seems the DPC’s true enemy is an inconsistent prize pool over the last couple of years.

Outside of prize pools, the biggest reward of the DPC is TI qualification through several matches and majors. However Valve’s rumored changes to ditch the battle pass model and possible move from crowdfunding TI, might mean massive prize pools will carry more weight than before for most organizations.

Similar instances are currently happening within traditional sports, mainly football and golf. Recently the Saudi sponsored LIV Golf Tour attracted the best players in the world, mainly thanks to high signing bonuses and bigger payouts during the tour.

Valve’s TI12 structure has yet to be revealed, and given that it is rumored to change quite a lot, it will be interesting to see just how much impact will a competition such as the Riyadh Masters take against the DPC format.

The Riyadh Masters is set to start on July 17th, with TI12’s regional qualifiers set to start soon after around mid August with the official date yet to be confirmed.

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