INFINITY CHALLENGE TOURNAMENT?

I read a good explanation here http://www.gamezone.com/products/halo-4/news/halo-4-infinity-challenge-begins-december-17-win-big-prizes What I learned is that the next couple weeks (beginning Dec. 17) are just qualifying. How well you do during that period determines what tier you are
sorted into.

Now my question is, does the qualifying phase really matter? Is there any advantage in the
upcoming weeks to be in the first or second tier, rather than the third?
I realize that the prizes are better in the first tier, but that’s only if you do really, really well.