E-sports tournaments have traditionally been held in the Western and Asian countries, with the CIS region lagging behind in the e-sports competition development. But in 2019, things changed with Parimatch holding the first-ever Dota 2 tournament in Russia in a partnership with ESforce Holding. The event attracted much media and fan attention, with over 1,000 attendees able to watch the contest’s epic final battle for the prize pool of $40,000 between Virtus.Pro and Hellraisers at the Yota Arena.
The event’s attendance and online viewing stats came as a pleasant surprise for its organizers and resulted in the planning of the second season right away, after Season 1’s completion. The total number of views of the tournament’s events exceeded 6 million, with each event attracting 36,000 people on average. The event was attended by such renowned Dota 2 teams as Team Spirit, jfshfh178, HellRaisers (the finalists), and Virtus.Pro (the winners). The number of views climbed to 136,000 per day, and the playoff was watched online by over 500,000 users.
According to Epic Sports Events CEO, Maxim Maslov, the event was a huge step forward in the development of e-sports in the CIS region, with new rising stars and talents able to develop and showcase their skill, with fans receiving a great community event, and with the overall entertainment industry in the CIS rising to new heights. Moreover, the tournament was unique in terms of the arrangement, as Parimatch is essentially a betting company. Thus, it was the first time such an organization got involved in the development of regional e-sports and organized an event of such scale and significance.
While the total prize pool in 2019 was $75,000, the next year’s tournament will feature an even greater award – $100,000. The teams participated on an invitation basis this year, but the 2020 event will welcome only the teams that will qualify. The qualifications start in December 2019 to get the teams ready for the May 2020 event. The tournament’s organizers in CIS, Parimatch and ESforce Holding, are highly positive and optimistic about the potential of such regional competitions to develop the local gaming community and to contribute to the rise of e-sports as such, an innovative sports sector largely ignored in the region to date.