It’s tough being a tier-two Dota 2 team, or even a tier-one team that hasn’t already played at The International. That was the case with Undying, North America’s third-best Dota 2 team, heading into TI10.
Dota 2’s Supporters Club system gives players a method of directly supporting their favorite competitive teams. The packages range from $2 to $20 with half of the money going directly to teams. They went on sale for 50% off ahead of The International 10 and were integrated into the compendium by giving fans packs of player cards.
During the $40 million event, WIN.gg connected with Team Undying to learn more about the financial side of Dota 2. Manager Peter “Panders” Anders revealed how the supporter packs actually impact the competitive scene.
“The supporter pack has actually helped tremendously. Our supporter pack, in all honesty, was not the highest quality compared to some of the other teams, but it still was able to earn us a lot of money especially once TI began. We’re seeing a lot of growth after each match. Compared to what we were receiving before it was released, it’s a huge benefit to us. I’m sure that’s true for even the larger teams as well,” Panders said.
Supporters Club money a windfall for TI10 teams
It’s clear that Valve’s Supporters Club program can go a long way towards helping teams stay afloat, which is a bit of a surprise. Valve’s efforts to let Dota 2 esports entities monetize their presence in the game have historically been abandoned in short order, and it looked like this would be the case with Supporter Club bundles when Valve started ignoring teams that were trying to have their bundles added to the game.
Panders wasn’t able to state exact numbers, but selling 1,000 gold tier packs at full price would net around $10,000 to the team. Alongside this, TI10-qualified teams also received revenue from team-specific card packs sold for the TI10 Compendium.
It’s unclear how the distribution of Supporter Club revenue would work for independent organizations like Team Undying or sponsored organizations like Evil Geniuses. It also ends up being a bit blurry in terms of how it should be distributed, as Evil Geniuses’ bundle was heavily based on popular player Artour “Arteezy” Babaev and Arkosh Gaming’s bundle was created by team owner and frontman Jake “SirActionSlacks” Kanner.
Panders brought up quality as an interesting component. The emotes, loading screens, voice lines, and sprays included in Dota 2 team packs are provided directly from the teams themselves with minimal oversight from Valve. These varied from team to team, with more organized sponsors having more organized submissions.
PSG.LGD, for example, has well-drawn and edited photos of their players making various expressions. Meanwhile, some teams didn’t submit any sprays or voice lines at all. Teams with higher quality submissions probably sell more packs than just in-game logos.
The ongoing sale on Dota 2 support packs and their sudden relevance to players that don’t follow Dota 2 esports closely likely resulted in the uptick of sales Panders mentioned. The proceeds distribution of Supporters Club packs during the current 50% off sale is not public. The discount could remove Valve’s cut or reduce revenue for the teams.