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The International Breaks Another eSports Record with $180M in Overall Prize Money


Over the past ten years, The International has significantly boosted its prize money, becoming the largest tournament in the eSports industry, with the prize pool heavier than any other event.

According to data presented by Mejores Apuestas, after raising its already impressive prize pool to over $40 million this year, the total prize money of the Dota 2 annual world championship hit more than $180 million.

Total Prize Pool $70M Heavier than All Fortnite, LoL and PUBG Events on Top 500 List

Esports players have seen some outrageous payouts over the last two decades, and The International has had a significant role in that. Although the overall size of a prize pool doesn’t determine how prestigious the event is, it’s one of the most critical factors players use to decide whether they’ll show up and compete.

While offering a total of $1.6 million in 2011 and 2012, since 2013, The International has been the most successful example of crowdfunded prize pools in eSports history.

In 2013, its prize pool rose to $2.87 million and then soared to almost $11 million the next year. However, that was just the start of the impressive growth seen in the following years. In 2017, the prize pool of the annual Dota 2 world championship was worth over $20 million. Two years later, The International set a new record with a staggering $34.3 million in total prize money. In 2021, this figure was boosted by another $6 million, with the prize pool reaching $40 million in value.

In fact, Valve’s annual world championship in Dota 2 has broken the record for eSports prize pools for ten years in a row. Also, with $180 million in overall prize money, the tournament is $70 million heavier than all Fortnite, League of Legends and PUBG events on Esports Earnings Top 500 list.

Statistics show the combined prize pools of all Fortnite events on this list brought in around $68.5 million to date. LoL and PUBG follow, with $29.3 million and $12.3 million, respectively.

Dota 2 Hit Over $276 Million in Total Prize Money

As an eSports game with the largest single-tournament prize pool, Dota 2 also tops the total prize money list. The Esports Earnings data showed the game hit over $276 million in cumulative prize money, close to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Fortnite, and League of Legends combined.

Dota 2 players have competed in 1,549 tournaments to date. With $7.1 million in total prize money, Danish gamer Johan «N0tail» Sundstein still tops the list of the most successful Dota 2 player globally. Jesse «JerAx» Vainikka and Anathan «ana» Pham follow with $6.4 million and $6 million in earnings, respectively.

However, statistics show Chinese players won the largest share of Dota 2 prize money or $75 million so far. Russia ranked as the country with the second-highest number of Dota 2 winners, with over $24 million in prize money. Finland, Ukraine and the United States follow, with $16.8 million, $16.7 million, and $14.4 million, respectively.

Jastra Kran

Jastra is an editor, writer, and PR specialist with years of experience in the news, research, and report writing. Over the years, she has covered different topics including gaming, the entertainment industry, and the tech market.