Battle of the Year, commonly referred to as BOTY, is an annual international b-boying series that began in 1990. It is a crew (as opposed to individual) competition. Regional qualifying tournaments, also known as preliminaries, are held worldwide culminating in the BOTY International, the world finals event which was held at the Volkswagenhalle in Braunschweig, Germany until 2009. Since 2010, the world finals take place in Montpellier, France. Battle of the Year is widely regarded as the premier International B-Boy Championships in the world, frequently referred to as the "World Cup of B-Boying". Battle of the year creates "spaces for a globalization at the bottom, bringing people together across the barriers of geography, language, and race". Benson Lee filmed a documentary on the Battle of the Year called Planet B-Boy which gives a point of view on what type of people take part in the Battle of the Year. "BOTY becomes more and more international and that means more and more popular. So the capacity of the venues grows and every year there are some more key men in the BOTY-team. One of their aims is to integrate young and motivated people. And it's necessary to do it because it is getting harder and harder to fulfill all the claims". BOTY audiences increased over the years - in 1997, 4000 people watched the finals. The BOTY finals in 2000 held in Hannover, Germany had the largest audience, with 10000 people watching the finals. In 2001, "A change of direction" was added to the BOTY logo as decisions were made to change the format due to the increased popularity and to make it more manageable.
In 2006, 2 semifinal battles were implemented, with the winner of each battle advancing to the finals. The losers of the semifinal battles do not battle each other; therefore, there is no longer a fourth-place award.
Like in 2012, Battle of the Year 2013 included an additional semi finals placer to add additional battles to the tournament. Six crews qualified after the showcase stage of the competition consisting of the two highest scoring crews automatically qualified for the semi finals and four crews competing for the two remaining places against them.
Battle of the Year 2012 included an additional semi finals placer to add additional battles to the tournament. In 2012 six crews qualified after the showcase stage of the competition consisting of the two highest scoring crews automatically qualified for the semi finals and four crews competing for the two remaining places against them.
For the first time in the Competition's history, a 1 on 1 Tournament was held for b-boys who weren't competing as a part of a crew. The first 1 on 1 Battle of the Year final saw Lilou of Algeria defeat Morris representing the U.S..
The format comprises firstly a showcase round in which all crews perform a routine of no more than six minutes in length demonstrating their ability in the different styles of breakdance. Judges rank all competing crews by evaluating certain criteria based on the shows.
Following the showcase round, the top four crews are selected to take part in a crew-vs-crew battleplayoff. In the semifinals, the top-ranked crew battles the 4th-ranked crew and the 2nd-ranked crew battles the 3rd-ranked crew. The winner of each semifinal then battle each other for the championship.
An award, "Best Show", is also given to the crew that had the best-scoring showcase.
The champion of the world finals is always invited directly to the following year's world finals to defend their title. All other crews qualify via preliminary tournaments, although historically there have been a few instances of directly-invited crews (usually when there is no preliminary in that crew's region).
Qualification is moving towards a two-step system consisting of individual country preliminaries followed by regional preliminaries. Historically, each country had an individual preliminary and sent one crew to the world finals; however, countries have become more and more regionalized over the years. For example, starting in 2007, there is a new BOTY Asia regional preliminary that will send the top 3 finishers to the world finals; in 2006 and years prior, Asia region countries such as South Korea, Japan, China, and Taiwan had their own preliminaries and sent one crew each to the world finals.
The following is a chart showing the regions and countries in the region, as well as number of crews sent to the world finals, for the 2007 season.
* Winner of BOTY India will participate in BOTY Asia from 2011 * BOTY North East Europe regional preliminary was canceled. On July 10, 2007, it was announced that BOTY North East Europe member countries would be allowed to enter BOTY Scandinavia. ** On September 7, 2007, the BOTY USA 2007 qualifier was announced; however, it was canceled less than one month later.
Prior to 2006, the current championship playoff system was not used. Instead, there were only two battles: two crews would compete for first place, while two other crews would compete for third place. While a "Best Show" award was still granted based on showcase performance, the judges would also rank the crews as to who they thought should participate in the championship battle. This resulted in frequently-occurring situations where the crew that received the "Best Show" award was not even able to compete for the championship, as they were picked for the third place battle instead of the championship battle. Examples include three "Best Show" winners in the final five years under the old format: Break the Funk (2004), Fire Works (2003), and Visual Shock (2001). The change to the playoff system also brought the world finals format into line with some of the qualifier formats, such as the BOTY Korea Preliminary, which has been using the four-crew playoff system for years.
Starting in 2004, a strict 6-minute time limit per crew on the showcase was enforced for the world finals, with scoring penalties assessed for going over time. This was enacted so that the world finals event would finish in a shorter time period. The 6-minute limit was quickly adopted at preliminaries.
In 1990, when the event was known as the International Breakdance Cup, there were only shows and no battles. From 1991-1996, there were battles resulting in a crowned champion, but no "Best Show" award was given.
A movie based on this competition, called Battle of the Year, was released on September 20, 2013. The film was directed by Benson Lee, who produced Planet B-Boy, and featured famous artist Chris Brown in the primary role.
On occasion with the annual competition, a CD/LP titled "The Official Battle Of The Year Motion Soundtrack" is released. It features some of the leading B-Boy Funk artists such as DJ Nas'D, Def Cut, Cutmaster GB, and DJ Phantom.