10 Largest Prize Amounts Awarded At Esports Tournaments

By Alice Chen on May 26 2020 in Entertainment

The championship prize for the International tournament keeps getting larger every year. Image credit: dotesports.com
The championship prize for the International tournament keeps getting larger every year. Image credit: dotesports.com
  • The various The International tournaments are the top five in largest esports prize pools
  • The Fortnite World Cup Finals - Solo awarded over $15 million in prizes
  • The LoL 2018 World Championship had the ninth highest esports prize pool

Traditional sports are still vastly popular. Huge events like the Super Bowl and other more global tournaments bring together the world's best players to face off in games of all varieties while showing off their skills and mettle in high-pressure environments. But now there's a whole new avenue of competition to explore. Move aside, old-world, because esports are coming on to the scene. While they may not be as strenuous as other activities, they do have their own requirements for physical ability, intellectual ability, and wicked twitch reflexes. And as these games grow, so do the prizes associated with them. Here are the 10 largest prize pools awarded at esports tournaments.    

10. LoL 2016 World Championship

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Starting out this list is the League of Legends 2016 World Championship, an event hosted by the makers, Riot Games, of the popular multiplayer online battle arena series. This tournament boasted a total prize pool of $5,070,000 with $2,028,000 of that awarded to the first place winners, the SK Telecom T1 team. The second-place Samsung Galaxy team took in $760,500 of winnings while third-place finishers H2k-Gaming went home with a still sizable $380,250. 

9. LoL 2018 World Championship

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Next on this list is another tournament celebrating League of Legends though this one took place two years after the last entry on this list. This event was for the same genre, a genre that readers will notice dominates this list, likely due to the popularity and status of the games in question. Up for grabs at the 2018 world championships was a staggering total prize pool of $6,450,000. 

8. The International 2014

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Next on the list is The International 2014, a tournament held for the popular game Dota 2. This game shares a genre with League of Legends, but has additional layers of added complexity and an entirely different feel to the design of their characters. This tournament, in particular, has been running annually for a long time and its high prize amounts are consistent. On offer at this 2014 iteration was a total sum of $10,931,103. 

7. Fortnite World Cup Finals 2019 - Duo

Image credit: fortniteintel.com

This is one of two on this list that doesn't fall within the constraints of multiplayer online battle arenas and the very specific type of gameplay they provide. No, this tournament is for new game darling, Fortnite, a sensation that has swept the world and its youth into its blooming cultural phenomena. The prize pool here lands at $15,100,000, with $3,000,000 of that going to the first place winners Cooler Esport. 

6. Fortnite World Cup Finals 2019 - Solo

Image credit: fortniteintel.com

This is another tournament for the game Fortnite, a battle royale shooter that has grown immensely in popularity since its launch. Where the last one focused on duo play, as in two players working together, this branch is solely for solitary players to display their own raw reflexes and game sense. The amount to win here clocked in at $15,287,500, coming in relatively close, if marginally higher, to its duo partner.  

5. The International 2015

Image credit: blog.dota2.com

Now we dive into the tournament that will, like its young and talented players, dominate the remainder of the entries on display here. Specifically, it's The International 2015, whose many annual versions consistently rank in the highest of the high when it comes to prize pools and dollar values. Winners in 2015 were each treated to a portion of the whopping $18,429,613 up for grabs. 

4. The International 2016

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It only gets higher from here. Dota 2 is a massive game with millions of players and active users so it's no wonder that its tournaments are similarly outsized and powerful in the esports scene. The 2016 prize pool came in at a grand total of $20,770,460. Taking first place was Wings Gaming who went home with $9,139,002. But second and third place weren't too sad to be going home with similarly large million dollar amounts. 

3. The International 2017

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The trend continues with The International 2017, yet another iteration in the longrunning and esteemed tournament series aimed at celebrating the players of the deep and intricate systems of Dota 2. This one offered $24,687,919 in total prize amounts to be awarded and featured 18 teams, meaning a total of 90 players, competing for the grand prize total of $10,862,683, which Team Liquid ended up taking home. 

2. The International 2018

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Second last on the list and second most recent The International, The International 2018 doesn't buck the pattern on display with increasingly large and mind-boggling dollar amounts to be awarded. The jump here is slightly less than the jump from 2016 to 2017, with a less than million dollar increase to the total prize pool of $25,532,177. It similarly featured 90 players split across 18 teams. 

1. The International 2019

Image credit: teamsecret.gg

Rounding out this list is the latest The International tournament and the jump in available prize pool is notable, climbing almost $10 million dollars from the 2018 amount to a very hefty $34,330,069. Taking the largest portion of it are the first place winners from team OG, who went home with $15,620,181 split five ways. Coming up second in this August held competition was Team Liquid, and then PSG.LGD in third place. 

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