Alright, it’s Monday and I’m up for a game of Global Thermonuclear Hot Take.
In back to back weekends, Pinburgh/WIPT and Evolution 2018 (Evo) happened. For those who don’t know, Evo is THE fighting game major and similar to Pinburgh and PAPA in community reception. Hundreds of thousands of people watch from around the world online and on TV. They pack the Mandalay Bay (12,000 seats), home to 31 UFCs and the Las Vegas Aces (previously the San Antonio Stars).
Tons of high profile matches in high profile games. Both Smash Bros games, Street Fighter V, Tekken 7, and the new darling Dragon Ball FighterZ all eclipsed 1200 players.
And then, there’s this tweet from Super Smash Bros. Melee champion Leffen:
$135 for 7th/8th. What the what?
Looking up the Evo pot splits, there’s a questionable 60/20/10/4/2/2/1/1 split. That’s not the point here, though.
This huge, important tournament watched by hundreds of thousands of people, with all of the production and hype and media attention, paid out $13,530. Elwin just pocketed a larger paycheck than the prize pools of all but 3 Evo tournaments:
(Edit - Evo pools are generated at $10/person. SFV had multiple “pot bonuses,” or external pot additions, from fundraising and sponsorships. No other tournament got pot bonuses.)
- Pinburgh - $100,000+ prize pool
- Street Fighter V - $84,990, $40,994 to winner (different pot structure)
- Pinburgh A - $50,100, $15,000 to winner
- Dragonball FighterZ - $25,790, $15,474 to winner
- Pinburgh B - $22,500, $4,000 to winner
- PAPA 20 A - $16,200, $7,000 to winner
- Tekken 7 - $15,470, $9,282 to winner
- Pinburgh C - $15,300, $2,000 to winner
~-~Keith Elwin - $15,000~-~
- Current IFPA NACS pool - $14,934*, $5,000 to winner
- Injustice 2 - $13,610, $8,150 to winner
- Super Smash Bros. 4 - $13,580, $8,150 to winner
- Super Smash Bros. Melee - $13,530, $8,150 to winner
- BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle - $11,810, $7,086 to winner
- W.I.P.T. - $10,000*, $5,000 to winner
- denotes a machine prize, valued at $5,000
The fact that IFPAPA (let alone B/C divisions and the inagural WIPT) are on par with a well known fighting game tournament on payouts means we have some other things to work on as well as the money issue. I’m not counting other major tournaments for the sake of brevity.
I think the money we’re seeing tossed around at tournaments plus the sponsor leverage we’re starting to see can be a catalyst very soon if not right now. “Building the spectacle” is another thing I’m happy to see with more tournaments getting better production value in person and online.
I saw the numbers, put my facts out there, and would like to see a good discussion now that we’re a good part of the way through the year.