The eSports industry has witnessed rapid growth in the last few years. 

With the increase in viewership and rise in revenue, several top eSports tournaments have been able to offer lucrative prize money in the past decade.

Sponsorships, advertising, and revenue from ticket sales and merchandise are some of the various sources that fund the prize money in eSports.

The winner of the tournament is awarded the maximum share of the prize money, while other top gamers also receive a share of the total prize pool.

It all began in 2011 when The International, an annual esports world championship for the five-on-five video game Dota 2, offered a record total prize pool of $1,600,000.

Developed by Valve, Dota 2 is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) video game. It is a sequel to Defense of the Ancients (DotA), a community-created mod for Blizzard Entertainment's Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos. 

The popular video game is played in matches between two teams of five players, with each team occupying and defending their own separate base on the map. 

Since then, Internationals have the largest single-tournament prize pool of any esport event.

Highest prize pool in eSports

The International 2021 broke the record for the highest prize pool in eSports history as they offered a total prize pool of US$40 million.

Previously in 2019, the International had a total prize pool of US$34 million.

The International 2018, The International 2017, The International 2016, The International 2022, The International 2015, Fortnite World Cup Finals 2019 - Solo, Riyadh Masters 2023 and Fortnite World Cup Finals 2019 - Duo have offered the highest prize pools in eSports’ marquee tournaments.

Highest prize pools in eSports



Total prize pool

The International 2021

Dota 2


The International 2019

Dota 2


The International 2018

Dota 2


The International 2017

Dota 2


The International 2016

Dota 2


The International 2022

Dota 2


The International 2015

Dota 2


Fortnite World Cup Finals 2019 - Solo



Riyadh Masters 2023

Dota 2


Fortnite World Cup Finals 2019 - Duo



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