Dota 2: North America's sponsorship woes

It is easy to cut a cheque. Only when you see money come from it, do you call it an investment. Similar are the woes of the North American Dota 2 teams, majority of whom are without sponsors.

Amid the ongoing pandemic that brought the entire globe to a standstill, esports was one of the few industries that flourished. Momentous increase in viewership, creation of online and regional leagues, etc.

Dota 2 went largely unnoticed

Valve’s lack of communication and clear vision for the competitive circuit, Dota 2 got impacted in a way that proved to be a setback for most of the players – in an open ended ecosystem that had no regulation from the developers whatsoever.

Besides The International and few Majors, the pro players had to majorly rely on third party tournaments to make a living. It is no secret that Dota highly rewards those who end up in the top 5 at a TI.

But the delay in response by Valve had already done the damage: Teams being rendered without a sponsor as organisations looked to cut down on expenses and began to drop teams like a sack of potatoes.

In all fairness, it is understandable why orgs would take such extreme steps. No communication, no stable ecosystem, no regulation, and the list goes on. But it still didn’t make things easier especially for the pro players hailing out of North America.

Before the announcement of the DPC Regional Leagues, only one organisation stuck to their roster through thick and thin – Evil Geniuses. While other orgs like Chaos EC, Complexity Gaming, Cloud 9, etc. had already made their exit or were on the cusp of making one.

Quincy Crew (ex-Chaos) were one of the first ones to take the hit. The talented bunch placing top 2 on a consistent basis in the DPC NA has been sponsorless for more than two years.

They are yet to find an org, and have been relying entirely on the Regional Leagues and Majors earnings, excluding TI, as their primary source of income. But are those earnings enough according to the North American standard of living? Doubtful.

Here’s a heartfelt tweet from Khezu, Quincy Crew’s captain appealing to sponsors to pick them up:

As of today, they sit at the top of the NA DPC, and have won $30,000 as first place prize. Split that evenly into 6 members – 5 players and 1 manager – it’s a meagre $5,000 per person for 6 weeks of play.

Still think it’s worth it?

Let’s take another example of the previous year – Team Undying. Being sponsorless for the entirety of 2021, they managed to woo the audience and successfully qualified to TI10. Seems rosy, no?

Not at all. Crowdfunded by the passionate Dota 2 community, the team accrued enough funds to gather the players in one place for a bootcamp – in their quest to prepare for TI10. A team being crowdfunded to attend the glorious $40,000,000 event. Leaves a bitter taste, right?

Unfortunately, the situation still remains the same, if not worse, with Valve’s silence once again.

The Winter Major cancellation without a moment’s hesitation, having no parley with the involved teams, and conveniently ignoring to relay any information pertaining to the $500,000 prize pool for the Major has dampened everyone’s spirit to an extent where many have expressed their regret over choosing Dota 2 as a career.

It seems like North America is on the path of becoming non-existent in Dota 2 as the orgs don’t see much value creation as compared to other titles such as League of Legends, CS:GO and others.

Let’s think about the solution since we have plenty of time.

If you are a Dota 2 fan, you can watch the matches of the team you support and place bets here on Luckbox.