CoStar will offer a grand prize of $1,000,000 to the winner of the second annual Battle of the Bids competition via its online auction arm Ten-X, starting this week.
Battle of the Bids functions like a 'fantasy football' contest, where players guess the sale price for selected commercial properties over the course of six rounds. Players win points for the closest guess, with the highest overall scorer walking away with the cash at the end of the competition. If the property doesn't sell, players score zero points.
The first instalment in 2022 gained significant attention for CoStar's generous prize money allocation—including an additional $100,000 donation to the winner's charity of choice—and the company says it has nearly 6,000 registered players this year. Runners-up prizes include a $100,000 mystery prize plus prizes for selected participants in every round.
Last year's overall winner, Mike King—a Seattle-based VP at Kidder-Mathews who specializes in net lease investments—said he spent a "substantial amount of time" researching the properties in each round of bidding to maximise his chances.
The event will be live-streamed from Ten-X offices and has also been opened up to CRE brokers who aren't already in the CoStar ecosystem.
Steven Jacobs, president at Ten-X, told The Real Deal that the competition will bring a necessary reduction in stigma around property auctions:
"We saw an incredible growth of players from round to round [last year].
"The whole thing about auctions being for distressed properties is just not true. Another thing that’s great about this game is that they get to come in and see that 90% of our business is not distressed.
"We hope [Battle of the Bids] becomes our annual branding campaign.
Jacobs also told The Real Deal that the marketing and operations costs for Battle of the Bids have hit the "several million" mark, in addition to the $3,000,000 grand prize.
CoStar bought Ten-X for $190M in 2020 specifically to increase its coverage of the commercial real estate sector.