On the subject of tournament entry fees and prize pools. An open letter to the community

Yes, I know Im late to the party but I hadnt listened to Wake up #84 until a few days ago. I didnt want to post this there because comments on that episode appear to have ended a week ago.

  First, I would like to state for the record that I am relatively new to this community.  Ive only been on this site for 8 months and Ive only been playing SF and only for the past year.  I have never entered or even attended a video game tournament of any genre.  So I like to think that my perspective on this subject comes from the position of an "outsider"

 Knowing nothing of fighting game tournaments beyond what Ive seen on the streams I must say that when I heard Wake Up Srk the other day my emotions ran from confused to astonished, with a bit of disgust thrown in.  How is it that there could be any opposition to raising  entry fees to $20 (astonished to see that they were that low in the first place) and at the same time have complaints about the small size of prize pools.  I realize that this topic has indeed  been argued ad naseum among the community insiders and hard core fans but I thought it necessary to inject the opinions of an outsider.  This means that the argument contained within is my opinion supported by facts from the outside.  While I welcome comments and will answer direct questions, I have no intention of debating trolls.  This is all merely informative to aid in your decision as to where you fall on the subject of entry fees.

 As I mentioned, I was completely unaware of the cost of entry so I found it ridiculous to hear that the majors have to think long and hard about raising the fee to $20.  In the outside world of established self-financing competitions $20 would be a steal.  Three examples:

  I used to play a lot of chess 7-8 years ago.  There was one annual tournament I was sure to make it to in Philadelphia, even though most of the time I had no hotel room and had to sleep in my car.  The tournament  is called the World Open.  It brings in thousands of players of all skill levels from around the world to compete.  Grandmasters specifically come because even then the prize pool was $200,000+, with first, second and third place, in multiple categories, getting 5 figure awards and even 30th place finishers getting their entry fee back. That entry fee was $300 and Im sure that it has gone up since then.  There was no complaining.  Yes the chess community, in terms of numbers of players world wide, dwarfs damn near every other community on the planet, so it can be said that there is enough variety of financial means within the group that there are enough players at all income levels to populate any tournament no matter the entry fee, but there were and are children that enter.  They seem to be able to come up with the money for entry, hotel, food (thousands dammit) and we can't?  Are all chess tournaments this expensive?  Of course not.  We are talking about majors here.

    Second we are all well aware of the astronomical prize pools for the main event of WSoP, and we all also know that the only way that it is able to reach the millions is because the entry fee is $10,000.  I dont think those guys are complaining.  Some might say that they play poker, they win big so they have money for ludicrous  buy-ins.  But the fact is, that all the way up the ladder, there has to be big money in circulation to then put it into pools of bigger money.  These guys are gambling big even at the local level and the winnings fund the next tier of bigger pots.

   Third, to get away from "me vs. you" direct competitions.  I am an artist.  An oil painter of the realism genre ([www.derekofbaltimore.com](http://www.derekofbaltimore.com)).  I enter about 5-6 "competitions" per year.  I use competition in quotes because art is obviously subjective.  The average cost of entry is $45 with some going as high as $90.  The only thing that $45 grants me is the ability to submit 3 images of my work to be judged.  The first round of "competition" is merely some staff member looking over thousands of entries and picking the ones he/she like best.  If you get past this round, then you pay to have your art crated and shipped to the gallery where the show takes place.  Then in person, a second honored judge (usually a prominent member of the community) will pick the first, second, third, place standings.  The art is then on view for 30 days at the gallery where it may be bought by gallery patrons, if not then you pay to have the art reshipped back to you.  The total could amount to hundreds especially if you decided to fly out to attend the show's opening night.  Im not complaining and by the looks of hundreds of thousands of artists entering these competitions annually, it would appear that they are not complaining either.  I have one competition that I've entered every year for the past 4 years and Ive never gotten past the first judging.  I have every intention of entering it this year.  Entry fee $45, prize fund $50,000.

 Personally, I just dont get it. Where do people expect the award money to come from?  Can it be generated outside of entry fees?  Absolutely, but that will involve sponsors, advertising and such, which in a word (e-sports, ahem) doesnt seem to be the path the community wants to take.  But if you want big pots, then you only have those two choices.  I like the self-financed route, but you guys need to quit crying over 20 bucks.  If it were up to me, entry fees on majors would start at $50 and EVO would be $100.  Im sure many EVO attendees gamble that much in side bets, much more in their own money matches.  Come on guys, $20 from an outsider's perspective is a joke.  Its time to put your money where your mouth is and up the ante.

Sorry to not post a constructive reply but those still life paintings are incredible.

the roots of the fighting game community consists of poor minorities who can’t make it to evo because they tried to run out the NYC subway without paying the fee.

so not surprising.

however given that the old fgc has been supplanted by console gamers whose parents buy them everything, not sure why its still an issue.

Pretty sure everyone realizes you don’t play Fighting games if you want to make bank.
If you want to make bank you play Starcraft.

nobody cares that such and such costs more. tournaments are too expensive. fuck people who want bigger prize pools.


WSoP, chess, painting competitions are for the rich.

I stopped caring at “I’ve been in the scene for 8 months…” bla bla bla

20 dollar entry fee is ridiculous. Plus the venue fee, entry to two games…god forbid you eat on the same day or had to travel out of town. Lol.

This doesnt deserve a thought out response. Since you’re 8 months in you probably dont understand the concept of gaming on the regular with a group of friends for free and paying a little extra at a major to see some new faces and see how the scene is progressing. Grand prize isnt what most of these guys do it for.

Holy shit what a throw back, I remember that.


Yeah, things are getting a little absurd. There are too many tournaments calling themselves a ‘major’ and I find myself holding back on going to them because entry fee is upwards of $40 to $50.

Uhg people need to stop thinking that fighting games are a way to make a living. It’s not. It’s a way to get together with people with similar interests, play some games, win a little money, and over all have a good time. This whole push to make fighting games into a profession is the stupidest shit. Really hate the direction the scene is going in.

When push comes to shove, hardly anyone really cares how big the prize pools are besides top players and people looking for topics for fighting game related articles/podcasts. In all the time I’ve been involved in fighting games, I’ve never heard any rank and file players (the people putting money into these prize pots) express any interest in bigger prize pools. It’s just the very small number of people out there who stand to benefit financially from a bigger scene (and a few random people on forums whose only connection to fighting games is through the internet).

You’re gonna need a better argument than “if you wanna get your top players paid, you gotta pay more for tournaments” cause I really couldn’t give a shit who gets paid

You know I don’t condone the concept of prize pots, but I don’t mind getting a prize if I win a major tournament. It doesn’t have to be money.

Give me a candy bar for 1st place and I’m good.

Any big events you go to for a lot of niche hobbies usually do have a entry fee that can be more than a few bucks. If people can’t handle the price of admission, then don’t need to go, simple as that. With every big major now a days, there’s always going to be some local tournament around the time of said event. Maybe not exactly coinciding, but big whoop, go do something else then. This is not new, I’ve seen this shit in other hobbies I’ve participated in. No big deal.

As someone who is has been around the scene for a long time, I want the pot to increase and I want to see the payouts go to a bigger group of folks.

The question is are we satisfied with lets be generous with $10,000 as the total pot to be split for top 8 at EVO? That is with 1000 participants. With the way the scene has been growing I believe that bigger pots will draw people to it. In conjunction with the increase in entry fee to feed the bigger prize pools there needs to be a payout structure similar to what Keits does with his tournament. Yes you will have to pay a little bit more to enter the game of choice but your chance of actually making money goes up exponentially. I’m not saying that the fees need to double or that all games take the hit, I just think its beneficial to the growth of the scene overall.

Are we satisfied with $10,000 being the prize pool without sponsorship?

Someone should take the risk at a major and then we would have hard data to support or refute the change in fees.

Shouldn’t this thread be in FGD?

well, i think these responses pretty much prove my point

fgc come from an arcade background. people who play arcade games are broke minorities. minorities dont like shelling out big bucks. PC gamers can afford to buy a PC. Console gamers can afford to buy consoles. Chess players … well chess is cheap but let’s face it, if you’re gonna get good at chess, you’ll have to have a teacher and chances are you are a rich white person.

hence fighting games will never be a part of esports.

Every fee should cost hundreds of dollars. This can do nothing but good. At the very least it will ensure venues don’t smell like open asshole.

heres a thought

go to a tournament and actually see who attends them

just because youre probably an older, well off guy doesnt mean everyone else is. nobody except for top players give a shit how much the payout at a tournament is.

90% of people attending a tournament are early 20s or teenagers, and upping entries to tournaments from 20 bucks to 50+ is going to do only one thing - stop these people from coming.

EDIT: F it, I had a long winded paragraph but it’s not even worth the debate, 20 dollar entry fees aren’t anything new when it comes to hobbies like this one. Maybe you guys think this is shocking and will diminish the attendance to these events, but as long as the interest is strong, people will be willing to fork out the dough no matter how absurd it is.

We all know the only reason most the people go to the tourneys are to impress all the single women there. So who cares about the pot.

Why are you so overly racist this year?

Might have something to do with some organizers raising prices and then almost no one showing up. Regarding prize pool, if you only pay top 3 out of 300 people, for example, then only 1% get any money at all so I doubt that most that show up are doing it because of the money aside from the same top players.