Alibaba to back $1.5 million tournaments in CS:GO and Dota 2

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Alibaba's sports-focused subsidiary Ali Sports has launched a new esports division

Alibaba's sports-focused subsidiary Ali Sports has launched a new esports division, and announced new international tournaments in Dota 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, StarCraft 2 and Hearthstone.

The organization put out a Chinese press release on Wednesday morning, and ESL's Orrin Xu tweeted about the announcement from a press conference the same day.

In the release, Ali Sports says it has set aside $5.5 million total in prize money for the new World Electronic Sports Games (WESG). According to Xu, $1.5 million will go to CS:GO and another $1.5 million will go to Dota 2. The games are expected to begin sometime in April, with LAN Finals set to take place in Shanghai in December.

This will be the largest single prize pool in CS:GO's history, a record previously set by Valve when they increased the prize pool for their Majors to $1 million earlier this year.

In addition, Ali Sports will fund a $400,000 StarCraft 2 tournament and a $300,000 Hearthstone tournament, which will eclipse the $250,000 prize pools that were awarded at the global championships for both games at BlizzCon in 2015.

Ali Sports is a sports promotion company owned by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba. In addition to organizing and funding the new games, Ali Sports has developed a gaming platform that it will use to facilitate user registration, even publishing, tournament schedules and content distribution for its events.

The release says the company hopes the WESG will take place annually and will be hosted outside of China in future years.


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