Esports as a whole has raked in boatloads of revenue. The trend is that the world of eSports is expanding and increasing in monetary value. Even the remunerative cash, what the players are paid, is hefty. Plus, the enterprise for betting might be drawing near. That means we will see a dramatic jump in the net worth of eSports.
Competitions are the core of eSports, the same as traditional sports. There are countless local tournaments that never reach the headlines, but that’s okay. Those smaller competitions aren’t meant to bring in the big bucks; they’re meant to sift through the player base and make upstarting talent shine.
One of the most concrete ways of showing how much value is in eSports is listing the biggest prize pools so far. “So far,” because each year there tends to be a bigger prize. Nevertheless, here are the largest sums of money offered to whoever can play a video game the best.
The International 2018
Prize Pool: $25,532,177.00
Location: Vancouver, CDN
Date: 08/15/18 – 08/25/18
Valve hosted the eighth annual tournament for the Dota Pro Circuit with a new twist. This time, a new point system was instituted based on officially sponsored Majors and Minors. The results of that system determined who was invited to this tournament. Eighteen teams competed on the 7.19 version of Dota 2, but only OG won the gold.
|5th-6th||Team Secret, Virtus.pro||$1,148,948.00|
|7th-8th||OpTic Gaming, VGJ.Storm||$638,304.00|
|9th-12th||Mineski, Team Serenity, Vici Gaming, Winstrike Team||$382,983.00|
|13th-16th||Fnatic, Newbee, TNC Predator, VGJ.Thunder||$127,661.00|
|17th-18th||Invictus Gaming, paiN Gaming||$63,830.00|
The International 2017
Prize Pool: $24,687,919.00
Location: Seattle, USA
Date: 08/02/17 – 08/12/17
The pockets of Valve are extremely deep. The Main Event was held at the KeyArena in Seattle Center. 17,000 seat capacity. It’s not the largest venue, but nevertheless, there was a ridiculous sum of money on the line. What’s interesting about this tournament is that the original prize pool was $1,600,000.
|5th-6th||Invictus Gaming, Virtus.pro||$1,110,956.00|
|7th-8th||Team Empire, OG||$617,198.00|
|9th-12th||Digital Chaos, Evil Geniuses, Team Secret, TNC Pro Team||$370,319.00|
|13th-16th||Execration, Cloud9, Infamous, iG Vitality||$123,440.00|
The International 2016
Prize Pool: $20,770,460.00
Location: Seattle, USA
Date: 08/03/16 – 08/13/16
The sixth of its kind, hosted in Seattle for the fifth consecutive year, Main Event held at KeyArena for the third consecutive year; this event was routine. Sixteen teams played the 6.88b version of Dota 2. Valve organized and hosted this tournament. What makes the prize pools so large is actually not because the company is ridiculously rich. For example, $19,170,460 in sales inflated the initial $1,600,000 pool.
|5th-6th||EHOME, MVP Phoenix||$934,671.00|
|7th-8th||Team Liquid, TnC Gaming||$519,262.00|
|9th-12th||Alliance, LGD Gaming, Newbee, OG||$311,557.00|
|13th-16th||Escape Gaming, Natus Vincere, Team Secret, Vici Gaming Reborn||$103,852.00|
The International 2015
Prize Pool: $18,429,613.00
Location: Seattle, USA
Date: 08/03/15 – 08/08/15
Eighteen million dollars is a lot, but how much of it was from Valve’s own pocket? $16,829,613 in sales; $1,600,000 out-of-pocket. Many people were pleased when Valve announced a doubling of the maximum number of participants. Sixteen teams competed on the 6.84c version of the game. Evil Geniuses scored the win by beating CDEC Gaming 3-1.
|7th-8th||MVP Phoenix, Team Secret||$829,332.59|
|9th-12th||Cloud9, compLexity, Invictus Gaming, Team Empire||$221,155.36|
|13th-16th||Fnatic, MVP HOT6ix, Natus Vincere, Newbee||$55,288.84|
The International 2014
Prize Pool: $10,931,103.00
Location: Seattle, USA
Date: 07/08/14 – 07/21/14
Eleven teams received a direct invite. Four teams qualified through separate competitions for a chance at the ten million dollar prize. Seattle, Washington once again hosted the championships – three times in a row. This tournament featured broadcast talents such as TobiWan (Toby Dawson), Kpoptosis (Bryan Herren), and 2GD (James Harding).
|5th-6th||Cloud 9, LGD Gaming||$655,866.00|
|7th-8th||Invictus Gaming, Natus Vincere||$519,227.00|
|9th-10th||Team Liquid, Titan||$49,190.00|
LoL 2018 World Championship
Prize Pool: $6,450,000.00
Location: Incheon, SKO
Date: 10/01/18 – 11/03/18
The first item on this list that isn’t Valve, the 2018 World Championship took place in South Korea. Invictus Gaming rose to the top of the 24 teams participating and won 37.5% of the total prize pool. Riot Games posted an initial pool of $2,250,000, which is higher than Valve. The version of the game played was 8.19.
|3rd-4th||Cloud9, G2 Esports||$451,500.00|
|5th-8th||Afreeca Freecs, EDward Gaming, KT Rolster, Royal Never Give Up||$258,000.00|
|9th-12th||100 Thieves, Flash Wolves, Team Liquid, Team Vitality||$145,125.00|
|13th-16th||Phong Vũ Buffalo, MAD Team, G-Rex, Gen.G||$80,625.00|
|17th-20th||Infinity eSports, SuperMassive eSports, DetonatioN FocusMe, Gambit Esports||$48,375.00|
|21st-24th||Dire Wolves, Ascension Gaming, KaBuM! e-Sports, Kaos Latin Gamers||$32,250.00|
LoL 2016 World Championship
Prize Pool: $5,070,000.00
Location: Los Angeles, USA
Date: 09/29/16 – 10/29/16
This tournament disrupts the chronological aspect of this list. It took place in the United States. The game version was 6.18, and Acer sponsored the event. If you’ve read our list of the top eSports players ever, then you know about Faker. His outstanding performance in this event earned him the Finals MVP award, the only award of the tournament.
|1st||SK Telecom T1||$2,028,000.00|
|3rd-4th||H2k-Gaming, ROX Tigers||$380,250.00|
|5th-8th||Albus NoX Luna, Cloud9, EDward Gaming, Royal Never Give Up||$202,800.00|
|9th-12th||ahq e-Sports Club, Counter Logic Gaming, I May, Team SoloMid||$114,075.00|
|13th-16th||Flash Wolves, G2 Esports, INTZ e-Sports, Splyce||$63,375.00|
LoL 2017 World Championship
Prize Pool: $4,946,969.00
Location: Beijing, CHN
Date: 09/23/17 – 11/04/17
Twenty-four teams played Riot Games’ 7.18 patch of League of Legends. From August to November, this competition unfolded across China. Samsung Galaxy, after a bit of a rivalry with SK Telecom T1, won the gold. Ruler, a South Korean player from Samsung Galaxy, earned the Finals MVP award. That is a very prestigious award and definitely a good indicator of a gifted player. The Champion most used by players was Tristana.
|2nd||SK Telecom T1||$667,841.00|
|3rd-4th||Royal Never Give Up, Team WE||$346,288.00|
|5th-8th||Cloud9, Fnatic, Longzhu Gaming, Misfits||$197,879.00|
|9th-12th||G2 Esports, GIGABYTE Marines, Team SoloMid||$111,307.00|
|11th-12th||ahq e-Sports Club, Edward Gaming||$86,571.00|
|14th-16th||1907 Fenerbahçe, Flash Wolves, Immortals||$61,837.00|
|17th-20th||Team oNe eSports, Young Generation, Hong Kong Attitude, Lyon Gaming||$37,102.00|
|21st-24th||Dire Wolves, Rampage, Gambit Esports, Kaos Latin Gamers||$24,735.00|
Fortnite Fall Skirmish Series – Clubs Standings
Prize Pool: $4,000,000.00
This ‘competition’ was a little different from the standard tournaments. There were numerous clubs that could earn points for each weekly trial and events of high skill based on their members’ performance. Each event had prizes for the players, so even those that didn’t come out on top got something. So, the 100 players in each club would get points for participation regardless of their placement.
|4th||Bush Bandits||500 000$|
|5th||Lucky Llamas||250 000$|
Prize Pool: $3,057,521.00
Location: Shanghai, CHN
Date: 01/05/15 – 02/09/15
The last item on this list returns to Dota 2. It’s a full circle. Three million dollars is a crazy amount of money, and there’s no denying that. This event featured 20 teams. The breakdown of prize money by country is interesting: China’s 54 players won a total of $856,106.20, and the United States’ 4 players won $801,070.00, but the next highest won was 4 Canadian players’ $373,017.40. The proportions there are all over the place, yet it’s intriguing to see that four players from America earned nearly as much as 54 players from China.
|5th-6th||Cloud 9, Rave||$152,876.00|
|7th-8th||HyperGloryTeam, Invictus Gaming||$122,301.00|
|9th-12th||EHOME, HellRaisers, LGD Gaming, Natus Vincere||$45,863.00|
|13th-16th||CDEC Gaming, MVP Phoenix, Newbee, TongFu||$30,575.00|
|17th-20th||Speed Gaming, Energy Pacemaker, Power Rangers, Wings Gaming||$15,288.00|
So that’s our list! Could it be that the future holds more cash? There’s no doubt of that, and it’s only a matter of time until eSports Betting opens the floodgates for more cash to be added to the hoard. The spread of value is something of interest to watch. As can be seen from this list, games like Call of Duty and CS:GO that are known to be monetary giants have yet to organize and sponsor tournaments that they could (so far as we know) easily afford. Why? Maybe it’s just a few years away before they join the club. Potential betters should stay aware of where the most money is and where the best players are. Furthermore, now that facilities specifically dedicated to eSports are popping up in places like Las Vegas, the network of eSports (and consequently, it’s value) shows no sign of slowing its growth.
Lineups is here to help you make the right choices, the educated choices so that you can join the millions who will prosper from this enterprise. Check out our other articles, such as the best players of CS:GO, StarCraft 2, Dota 2, and League of Legends. Additionally, if you’re newer to this whole scene, our very own eSports Academy is an excellent resource to gain the knowledge and catch up to speed with the rest of the fanbase.
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