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Bigger & Better! The Biggest Esports Prize Pools Ever

Millions & Millions are being paid out to young gaming professionals and their organizations

how much are the biggest prize pools in esportsImage Source: Valve

Esports has grown into a huge industry, with insane sums of money being pumped into the sport. Throughout the years, tournaments have come from being a side show at video game conventions to filling entire stadiums. But not only have the events gotten bigger, so have the prize pools. 

With multiple games now established as tier 1 esports, which games and events have featured the largest overall prize pools? That’s what I’m going to check out today, to see which game is the one with the most money on the line when it comes to their biggest tournament. Can you already guess which prize pool is the biggest in the history? 

The Top 5 Esports Prize Pools

The five biggest prize pools all have one thing in common, and that is the event and the game. There is one game that stands above the rest when it comes to prize pools, and it’s all thanks to the community behind the game that make it happen. 

5. The International 2017 – $24 Million

The International 2017's massive prize pool, which exceeded $24 million, was primarily funded by Dota 2 community contributions through Battle Pass sales, where 25% of proceeds were added to the base prize. The base given by Valve was $1.6 million. 

the international esport event 2017
Image Source: Valve

This tournament, held in Seattle, featured 18 teams from around the globe, culminating in Team Liquid's victory. Liquid lost their first game in the upper bracket to Invictus Gaming, making their way through the entire lower bracket until the finals, where they eventually faced off against China’s Newbee, beating them 3-0 in the finals. 

4. The International 2018 – $25 Million

Once again, community engagement led to the prize pool of The International to grow to over $25 million. Valve, as usual, gave a baseline of $1.6 million, but thanks to the player base, the prize pool exploded. By purchasing the battle pass, 25% of the money went straight into the prize pool, growing it. 

The International 2018 was held in Vancouver and was the first time that the event wasn’t held in the USA. Eighteen teams competed, with Europe’s OG clinching an unexpected victory in a dramatic final against PSG.LGD. 

3. The International 2019 – $34 Million

The prize pool shot up by a solid 10 million within a year. One of the biggest contributors to the prize pool in 2019 was none other than Prince Abdullah bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who is a huge Dota 2 fan. It was reported that he spent around $20,000 on the battle pass alone, which contributed to the huge number in the end. 

the international 2017 esports tournament winners
Image Source: Valve

The 2019 International was held in Shanghai for the first time, with 18 teams participating. Not only was this a historic tournament because of its large prize pool and location, but OG managed to win back to back championships, defeating Team Liquid in the finals. 

2. The International 2021 – $40 Million

The 10th edition of The International was also the tournament with the largest prize pool. Once again, thanks to the contribution of the Dota 2 community, over $40 million was raised for the prize pool. This also came after the COVID-19 pandemic, and the tournament had originally been planned for 2020. 

Team Secret managed to take home a large portion of this insane prize pool, managing to beat out favorites PSG.LGD. Team Secret had lost to PSG.LGD in the upper bracket finals, only to meet them in the finals once more, where they managed a close 3-2 victory. 

1. 2024 Esports World Cup – $60 Million

The esports event with the largest prize pool of them all is none other than the 2024 Esports World Cup held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia throughout the Summer of 2024. While the prize pool is not allocated to a single game, this is the biggest culmination of esports the world has ever seen, with the $60 million getting split up amongst 21 different games.

Esports World Cup prize pool
Image Source: EWC 2024

The biggest portion of the prize pool will go to Dota 2 (is anyone even surprised at this point). Dota 2 has a $5 million prize pool, while mobile games like Mobile Legends: Bang Bang have been allocated a solid $3 million.  

Here is how price Esports World Cup prize money has been allocated: 

  • Total prizes for individual tournaments will exceed $33 million, with an MVP bonus of $50,000 for each event.
  • Over $7 million is allocated for qualifying tournaments.
  • The remaining $20 million will be distributed among the top 16 clubs according to their overall performance, with the champions earning $7 million.

So with this much cash on the line, which game do you think you should try to go pro in? The answer is pretty obvious, eh? 

About the author

Angel Cabal

Ex-soccer player for Real Oviedo Football Club and long-time casino enthusiast with a profound understanding of the iGaming industry. I'm constantly on the lookout for the latest bonuses, leveraging my 10+ years of expertise to maximize your gambling returns.