Yesterday marked the beginning of the biggest ever esports tournament.

Taking place at the Key Arena in Seattle, The International 2017 (TI17) has one of the biggest prize pools, not just in esports history but also in sporting history.

With a main event final prize pool of $23,285,768, the winning team will take home over $10 million - a staggering sum.

The main event is set to take place 7th-12th August.
 article about Seattle opens up its doors to the biggest esports tournament ever

TI17 is an esports event where competitors compete against each other in an online fantasy game called Dota 2.

Dota 2 is an immensely popular team game involving high levels of strategy and team work. The players competing in TI17, although very young - usually between the ages of 18 and 26 will have already invested around 20,000 hours into the game.

To play Dota 2 at a competitive level requires a huge amount of mental fortitude, lightning quick reactions and top tier mechanical skills. In a similar way to other sports, it is thought that there is a physical barrier for esports athletes when players start to reach their late 20s - early 30s. 

To put the age range in Dota 2 and esports into perspective, one athlete called 'fear' was competing on the Dota 2 competitive circuit at the age of 27 - his nickname was 'old man fear'. 
18 teams will be competing for the top prize with each team containing a total of five players. But don't be fooled into thinking that the $10million+ prize money will only be split between the players, though.
 article about Seattle opens up its doors to the biggest esports tournament ever

Esports are now real sports in everything but name.

The top tier Dota 2 teams are as professional as any traditional sports teams. Coaches, psychologists, managers, chefs are all on the wage bill in order to fully unlock the potential of the esports athletes. 
The teams have their own sponsors, they have mental and fitness regimes, take part in fan meet up events and travel all around the world to compete. 

The teams are run like well-oiled machines and much like regular sports teams, they have only a single objective: to win.

Audiences also have chances to win. In an exact same way to regular sports, esports events - especially high profile ones - have their own betting markets. Fans and viewers of TI17 are able to place a variety of bets on esports tournaments. Interestingly enough, many major betting companies which offer esports betting have not yet caught up with their odds to value ratios, so there is money to be made if you know your stuff.

Of course, the majority of viewers watching TI17, which will number in the millions thanks to online broadcaster Twitch - the primary streaming platform for all esports - will be tuning in simply for their love of competitive Dota 2 viewing.

No longer is gaming a nerdy pastime played by spotty teenagers. Esport is now a wildly successful entertainment sport, worth hundreds of millions (soon to be billions) in revenue and watched by a global population.

If traditional mainstream sports, these days, are nothing more than money making machines, then esports are now one of them. Mega global companies, banks, traditional sports clubs and many other entities are all jumping on the esports bandwagon for monetary gain. 

Of course American companies are beginning to establish their way into the driving seat of the bandwagon. US company Amazon's acquisition of Twitch in 2014 for just shy of $1 billion secured the notion that the Americans are taking esports seriously. 

In conclusion, if you are not a fan of esports or have never seen it before, then Dota 2 TI17 is a great place for you to wet your feet, so to speak. The main event, especially, will be a spectacular event mixed with tension, strategy like plays resembling a game of chess and million dollar games going down to the wire that will be resolved through a single moment of glory or a single moment of error.

America will be the host with the most as Seattle welcomes esports athletes from around the world and not even Donald Trump can mess this one up.