How Much Should I Charge as Entry Fee For a League of Legends 5v5 Tournament

Setting the right entry fee for your early tournaments is very important. It sets the tone and projects an overall value for your service. Pricing its entry too low will devalue your service and make it perceived less worth than it may truly be. On the other hand, pricing its entry too high will repel players from indulging in your service and never letting it truly take off.

The average cost of a League of Legends 5v5 tournament is $25. Factors that play into this cost include the prize pool, the tournament’s location, the level of competition, whether it’s a league, the tournament’s status and additional perks to signing up.

Below is a chart outlining several tournaments over the past years and their respective entry fees:

Mobile users can scroll right to see the entire chart!

Tournament

Tournament Organizer

Entry Fee

Prize Pool

Year

League or Tourney

Virtual or Physical

BYOC

Additional info of signup

League of Legends Canadian Nationals

SKL Esports

$25/team

per qualifier

$50,000

2020

League

Virtual (4) + Physical (1)

Pay for each individual qualifier (5) nonmandatory to attend all

League of Legends 5v5 Tournament

District Beta

$20/team

$250

2020

Tourney

Virtual

LoL @ Lan ETS 2020

École de Technologie Supérieure

?

$10,000

2020

Tourney

Physical

Access to the BYOC Premium Ticket and all its perks

EGLX League of Legends Drop-In

Waveform Entertaintment

$35/person (day)

?

(hidden until event)

2019

Tourney

Physical

Access participant in the entire event including all other tournaments

SKL LoL Rec League

SKL Esports

$25/team

$5/person

$0

2019

League

Virtual

A1 LOL TOURNAMENT

?

$5 ?

$600

2020

?

Virtual

DreamHack Canadian Championship

DreamHack

$0

$10,000

2019

Tourney

Virtual (physical finals)

SKLAN Tournament

SKL Esports

$40/person

$30/person early bird

$0*

2018

Tourney

Physical

Access participant in the entire event including all other tournaments

5v5 Open Division

SixtySixGames

$250/team

$6000 +7750 RP + Skins/ Icons

2020

Tourney

Physical

 

Let’s go into the factors that go into entry fees and how you can decide the price for your own!

What Factors Should I Consider When Deciding the Entry Fee to My Tournament?

When deciding the entry fee for your League of Legends tournament, it is very important to look at the industry standards in your community. League of Legends is not a new game and the cost of entry into a tournament is likely well defined in your community already.

But even so, many tournaments have varying entry fees. Although some aspects of the entry fee are subjective and also dependent on other income streams for the tournament, there are several factors to consider that would better help you understand what validates a higher entry cost to a player.

Prize Pool

It’s no surprise that one of the largest reasons for a tournament being able to charge a higher entry fee is due to a large prize pool. When there is more for participants to earn, they are willing to risk more for it. Be mindful of what you perceive your prize pool to be and how others perceive it. When I say that, I am specifically referring to the ‘increased prize pool per signup’ model.

Understand that a large prize pool value listed upfront triumphs that statement completely and will attract many more signups. Players aren’t going to take the time and critically think about how much money they could be making, they just want to play. To the naked eye, it may not be as obvious as you may assume so be careful about your perception.

The exception to what I said above are tournaments in the FGC (Fighting Game Community). This prizing model is a normality for their tournaments so it’s highly accepted. For most areas, League of Legends tournaments doesn’t have that privilege.  

Location

The location of your event also plays a major role in helping you determine your tournament’s entry fee. An online tournament would charge less than a tournament with a venue. The reason being is that less value is being provided to the participants with the exclusion of a venue and therefore the normal pricing is not justifiable.

The location of the venue is also as important. Hosting an esports tournament in a popular city like Toronto, for example, would not only allow you to charge more money but will also act as an incentive for participants from other distant cities to attend your event. Esports players want the opportunity to experience new areas as they attend new events, that’s part of the experience for them. Having an accessible venue, although does not affect the price, is nice to have for players coming from afar.

The venue itself may also play a small role in the entry fee when certain conditions are met. The size of the venue and reputation, if special, could be a reason to slightly increase the entry cost.

This is a bit of an extreme example but imagine playing in a venue like this one. I know I would pay a bunch more to experience this! Esports tournaments are also recreational, think about how you can focus more on that to increase the satisfaction and overall value of your service.

Level of Competition

The level of competition has a correlation with your prize pool; The higher the prize pool the higher the level of competition. With that being true, more competitive and well-established teams would be more willing to pay more for entry. The prize pool doesn’t limitedly control this factor, therefore you may get away with attracting well-established teams with a smaller prize pool.

However, more casual players and novel esports tournament participants would rather pay less and leverage the event as more of a recreational experience over a competition.

I’ve seen other tournament organizers get away with charging a casual community with a high price and providing a small prize pool when there’s a lack of LoL tournaments in the community and the participating community itself is committed to their respective player base and the organizing brand. This, however, creates a barrier-of-entry for external players from signing up, inevitably killing your tournament brand (which is what happened to the tournament that charged so much for so little over several years).

League or Tournament

Typically, a standalone tournament would charge more than a league as there are usually more participants which results in a smaller likelihood for a player’s success. This also depends on the number of games players are getting from both formats. On rare occasions, a tournament may be larger than a league and in those cases, it could be the other way around.

In a league’s case, it would also depend on which parts are online and which parts of physical if both are being used. We already covered tournament location above, but for leagues it usually doesn’t justify an entry fee increase.

Tournament or Organizer Status

This is another big one, the pre-established value of a tournament or the organizers themselves. With events that people are anticipating, they are usually willing to pay more since it provides a larger value in their eyes. Less known or qualified events should charge less to build a fanbase/community and reputation.

Well recognized organizers may be able to use their brand name to get away with charging more as well, but this is applicable on rare occasions.

Additional Perks to Signing Up

Lastly on this list, additional perks to signing up. This could include food, transportation, venue space, entertainment, equipment, etc. Perks have the ability to tremendously increase the value of your entry fee, but you need to have an understanding of your demographic and what is valuable to them.

Bringing a boy band to a tournament with tier 1 esports teams will not really justify increasing the entry fee since most of them likely wouldn’t care for that entertainment. Providing a hotel room, living space or training area would justify an increase. But for more casual players wouldn’t care as much for a practice space as they would for that boy band. Understand your demographic and make sure it is transparent to the players!

One of the things I typically incorporate in our events is food. Pizza, soda and chips (chips depending how community-oriented your event is) work really well on satisfying players and helping you advocate costs increase. But make sure you are transparent with what is being offered!

Should I Charge Per Team or Per Player?

How you charge is highly dependant on the context of your tournament. Typically for League of Legends, teams are premade as a 5 man and could potentially have subs which makes sense to make it cost per team over cost per player. That would also make it easier for the team as well as yourself (being the tournament organizer).

You may want to opt into charging per player if the tournament organizers are forming teams or if free agents are signing up. Ideally, you have free agents join a team and collaborate with them, but if that is not what you are doing, charging per player would work out. This works much better with live events than it does with online events.

I highly recommend charging per team for online tournaments, otherwise you will face many issues when it comes to hosting that event. Trust me on that one.

What Kind of Discounts Should I Offer?

There are some discounts offered to players which usually benefit the tournament organizer in some way. Early bird discounts are helpful as they incentivize players to signup early, giving you an idea of how many people will be attending your event and providing you with money early which may be a major asset to your team for unexpected costs.

Carpooling discounts is one commonly seen in FGC tournaments. This incentivizes people to help each other arrive at the event, building connections within the community and inevitably to your brand. Additionally, it may allow players who may not have been able to attend your event otherwise to now make it. Not only are you earning more money overall, but you are getting an opportunity (or another opportunity) to further build the bond with that participant during the event and create a reoccurring customer.

Providing bundle discounts is also an asset to larger tournaments or when more is offerable. For example, for a multiday tournament or an event with multiple tournaments, you could have a bundle providing access to all days/tournaments.

Another discount is for participants when they bring or provide equipment. Again commonly seen in FGC, but could be valuable when you don’t have the infrastructure to provide all the equipment yourself. Be mindful of any legalities when dealing with other’s hardware.

Conclusion

Overall, you need to be strategic with your pricing to ensure you can earn the most amount of money while losing the least amount of prospects. Be reasonable and be comparative as you select a price. In the end, if you host a good tournament, you will inevitably get the opportunity to increase your entry fee without significantly reducing your fan base down the line as your brand name matures.