Streaming juggernaut and recent Amazon acquisition Twitch announced earlier today that it will sponsor the Apex World Circuit and Apex 2015, one of competitive Smash’s most prestigious tournaments. The streaming giant is committing $14,000 to the 14 individual Apex World Circuit qualifying events, increasing the prize money of each by $1,000.
This is big news for the Smash scene which, in stark contrast to Dota and League of Legends, awards only $5,820 in prize money to the champion of its annual main event, the Evolution Championship Series. Twitch’s press release did not specify how the additional prize money would be distributed, but the funds are significant for a competitive scene without ubiquitous player sponsorship.
In addition to larger prize pools for qualifying events, Twitch will also accommodate travel and lodging expenses for all 14 qualified players to attend the main event in Secaucus, New Jersey, Jan. 30 through Feb. 1. The provision is unprecedented for competitive Smash and marks a major step forward for its top participants.
Smash and Apex have both experienced marked growth in recent years. A deluge of high-level signings earlier this year coupled with Nintendo’s support of their upcoming Smash title have fans wondering what’s next for the storied esport. With Twitch’s announcement, it’s clear that that momentum isn’t slowing down.