StarCraft 2 was just taking off in 2011. Esports had been a thing for over a decade, but million-dollar prize pools and the streaming culture was just getting established.
But StarCraft: Brood War was still kicking along, even though many players had transitioned to StarCraft 2 at the time. So seeing the Team AoV ICCup Starleague have a prize pool of $US1000 was no big deal; if anything, it was nice that it had any funding at all.
What really makes the tournament stand out today, however, was its sponsor. The whole thing was backed by BTCSportsbet, a bitcoin-based esports bidding website. And because Bitcoin really wasn’t as valuable a currency back in 2011, it made total sense to give away 25 BitCoins — not just to the winners, but everyone who finished 5th to 8th.
Some Team Liquid posters went back to the tournament thread in 2013, noting that 25 bitcoins had surpassed $1000 a pop. If you’d still had those 25 bitcoins today from getting dunked on in the quarter finals, you’d have a measly $1.61 million:
Imagine how many Brood War tournaments you could fund today with one bitcoin, let alone 100 of them.
Correction: Updated this story with better math (5th to 8th is 100 bitcoins for four places, not 75).