The unbelievable rise of eSports continues to impress, as Riot Games confirm that the final prize pool for the League of Legends World Championship stands at $4.6m.
That sum highlights just how popular streamed video game tournaments have become.
Over $2.3m of the amount up for grabs has been generated by the fans. Ahead of the tournament finals, Riot released in-game items to promote the occasion. The demand has been incredibly high, doubling the initial pool of $2.13m.
As a result, either SK Telecom T1 or Samsung Galaxy, the two League of Legends teams that have made it through to the final, could earn a $1.73m windfall this weekend.
SKT x SSG: League of Legends World Championship final
While Misfits went close to causing an upset, the tournament hasn’t provided too many shocks.
This year’s final will be a repeat of last year’s event, with SK Telecom T1 coming up against Samsung Galaxy. The LoL community widely regards the two South Korean sides are the best of the bunch. They have proved that one again this year, overcoming teams such as Cloud 9, Royal Never Give Up and Team WE on their way to the final.
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SK Telecom T1 claimed a 3-2 victory last year to take their world title haul to three. They are expected to claim a third consecutive victory this year, maintaining their control of the eSport.
If that is the case, the likes of Wolf and Bang could take their League of Legends earnings past the $1m mark, which highlights just how lucrative this line of work can now be.
However, that isn’t guaranteed. SKT haven’t been at their best this year. It took them all five games to get past both Misfits and Royal Never Give Up, so SSG will undoubtedly give them a game.
The final will get underway at Beijing’s national Bird Nest stadium on Saturday at approximately 7am London time. That will follow an opening ceremony, which is set to begin at 6:30am.
League of Legends Worlds: What’s the big deal?
The eSports industry has been growing rapidly over the last few years. Fuelled by video game fans streaming matches and tournaments via websites such as YouTube and Twitch, sponsors have been pumping increasingly large amounts of money into these events. It is anticipated that eSports will be worth $1bn by 2020, reaching audience of 600m people.
League of Legends is one of the games at the forefront of the eSports trend.
Created by developer Riot Games, LoL is a popular online multiplayer game that sees teams of superpower-wielding “champions” battle against each other in a virtual arena. Teams play against each other in a five match series. The first team to reach three victories crowned the winner.
If you’re new to eSports, but want to follow this weekend’s match, here are three things to look out for:
Riot has organised a live League of Legends concert ahead of the final. This event will be broadcast via the LoL eSports website on Friday evening, with Chinese hip-hop star PG One set to headline the show. Alan Walker, Pentakill and Mako are also set to perform.
SK Telecom T1’s Faker is the video game’s top earner and you can probably guess why. The South Korean Mid Laner has been the team’s leading figure since 2013. His dominate displays have set him up as one of the most popular eSports celebrities. As the driving force behind SKT’s growing collection of titles, Faker is expected to dominate again this Saturday.
Those that tuned in to the quarter-final clash between SKT vs Misfits will know not to get ahead of themselves, should Samsung Galaxy pull ahead in Beijing. SKT are known for adjusting their game plan mid-game. They did just that to come back from a losing position in their last two games and may opt for a similar technique in the final.