Importance of third place matches in esports

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Importance of third place matches in esports

Esports is growing at a phenomenal pace and is one of the most lucrative investment opportunities for new investors. The growth of esports has seen several non-endemic organisations to esports investing in esports. This can be either in the form of monetary investment in an esports team, sponsoring a tournament or advertising.

Over the course of the past few months, we have seen brands such as Sour Patch Kids, HP by Omen, Mercedez, jumping into the fray. Several sports organizations and teams are already picking up investments in esports teams. The growth of esports is fuelled by various lucrative metrics including the young age of the players and a growing market.

Esports to reach $900 million revenue in 2018

A Newzoo report suggested that esports is slated to reach revenue targets of upto $900 million by 2018. This phenomenal growth is helped by the launch of several new tournaments and leagues. The Overwatch League, by Blizzard is one such League which promises to transform the face of esports.

Esports is set to reach revenues of $900 million in 2018. North America and China will contribute to around 56% of the global esports revenues. The growth of esports is set to reach around $1.4 billion by the

The third place match

Esports tournaments have had problems in establishing the most efficient tournament format. While Overwatch League and LoL have a league format, CS GO has been trying to lock down the best possible tournament format.

We have already seen several formats such as the GSL Format, the Swiss BO1 format and more recently, the Swiss BO3 format being implemented in tournaments. Each format has its own flaws and there are always pros and cons to the formats implemented.

The recent Starladder matches brought about another topic into discussion. The third place match between the losers of the semifinal matches is a very debated match. There is no scope for the participants to potentially win the trophy. Esports players have always expressed their desire to play for the win. A third place match is basically a consolation match. The players themselves have diminished interest in playing these matches.

Is it the Prize money?

The prize money difference between the third-placed team and the fourth-placed team is often quite large. At Starladder it was $15,000 which, by no means, is a small amount. The Prize money is definitely an incentive for teams to participate in the third-place match. However, despite the increase in the prize money and the difference; there has been diminishing interest from teams to play the third-place match.

Lack of Incentive

The biggest reason cited by players is the lack of motivation to play and potentially win these matches. The knowledge that they have no chance of progressing in the tournament is always present in their minds.

The lack of a clear path to a potential tournament victory often results in the players having substandard and demotivated performances. The match between Faze &


Unfortunately, there are no straightforward solutions to this problem. Increasing the prize pool might help in motivating the players and teams to take third place matches seriously. However, an increase in the third-place match prize money has to be supported by a similar increase in the prize money for the 1st and 2nd place. This directly increases the cost of running a tournament significantly.

Tournament organisers are already facing severe economic hurdles and have been trying their best to be successful. ESL recently struck an exclusive broadcasting deal with Facebook, amidst growing opposition from the community.

Traditional sports tournaments also have cut down on third place matches. Despite having the prize money to make the match a significant one, there is very low interest.

Change the formats

We have seen esports formats ensure that the third-place match has a lot of significance. The Dota 2 esports scene has Dota Pro Points which are given out based on the team’s rankings. Each ranking is extremely important as it can potentially provide you with an invitation to the famed and sought after TI8.

However, The Dota 2 International had a prize pool of $24.7 million last year. Securing an invitation to The International is definitely a big win for any team concerned. Placing third in a Major adds a big boost to a team’s efforts to collect the DPC Points (Dota Pro Circuit Points) and potentially receive a direct invite to the Major.

Of course, this is an incentive for any team to play the third-place match to the best of their ability. However unless and until there is an incentive, teams have shown disinterest in the third-place matches. Tournament organisers need to either provide incentives or do away with the third-place match altogether.


Author: Jack Steele

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