The world of eSports is raging on in August 2017, but most of that is coming from the Dota 2 scene, where Valve is putting on their annual and perennially record-breaking Dota 2 International Tournament, and most every other eSport is staying out of Valve's way.
The International really is THE eSports event if there ever was one. That starts with its prize pool, which has just passed $23 million. If you want context for that, you can check out esportsearnings.com, but let's just put it this way: The International 2017 will pay out twice as much to one team as any other eSport has to the entirety of any one tournament. The grand prize (just the grand prize) for the International: more than $10 million and growing. The total prize pool for the largest eSports even not featuring Dota 2: $5 million (League of Legends 2017 World Championship). The total prize pool of the International breaking $23 million is an unprecedented accomplishment that will likely stay a record for a long time (or, at least a until next year's International).
Obviously, The International will take up a good portion of our eSports coverage in August, but here is a breakdown of all the big tournaments this month (International included).
The International 2017
Prize Pool: $23 Million (and counting)
Dates: August 2-5 (Group stage) and August 7-12 (Main Event).
Where to Watch: Twitch.Tv/Dota2TI
This is the big one. Rather than bore you with more of the impressive prize pool numbers, let's just get down to the meat of it: 18 teams face off to hoist the Aegis of the Immortal trophy. The bottom team from each of the two groups will be eliminated, leaving only 16 to compete in the main event. (Don't worry, though, even those teams that get eliminated in the group stage still leave with a cool ~$60k). This followed a rigorous, multi-region qualifier period that followed the six teams who received direct invites.
The International 2017 will be the last International that uses its current structure for invites. From now on, invites will be based on the accrual of "Competitive Points" that will be earned from performing well in Valve-co-sponsored events separated into "Majors" and "Minors." We'll see how this shakes up the teams going forward.
Call of Duty
World League Championships
Prize Pool: $1.5 Million
Dates: August 9-13
Where to Watch: MLG.tv
While it may be competing date-wise with the Dota 2 International 2017, the audience for an FPS is a generally a bit different than that of a MOBA, so they're going to be fine. Besides, this is the fifth-annual Call of Duty World Championship - they're not going to let anything get in their way.
And why should they? Activision has a $1.5 million tournament to worry about, making it the second-highest prize pool of any Call of Duty tournament to date. In total, 32 teams will compete, starting with a group stage where half of them will be eliminated, while the other half advances to a double-elimination playoff bracket, before the Grand Final on August 13. It will be interesting to see how the competitive game shakes up following the release of Call of Duty: World War II.
Heroes of the Storm
Global Championship Phase #2 Western Clash
Prize Pool: $100,000
Dates: August 4-6
Where to Watch: Twitch.tv/blizzheroes
Dota 2 isn't the only MOBA on the list this August, and it's not the only one to have undergone some changes in its competitive structure. After BlizzCon a couple years ago, the Heroes of the Storm Global Championship series will extend over three seasons, before culminating in one final event. This relatively smaller tournament is one region of the second season.
While not as gaudy as other eSports, the prize pool for this event needs to be kept in context: remember that Heroes of the Storm is still a relatively new eSport, so it won't quite have the huge financial backing just yet, especially because I imagine most of Blizzard's eSports budget is going toward the Overwatch League.