The Biggest Prize Pools in Esports History

Published: Apr 16, 2024

Over the past decade, the biggest prize pools in esports history have reached new heights. In this featured article, we’re looking at the current history and ranking the most epic esports events ever to be hosted, making esports the world-renowned spectacle it is today.

Biggest Prize Pools in Esports

Here’s a look at the top 20 esports tournaments of all time based on the biggest prize pools in esports since last publishing:

#RankTournamentYearGamePrize Pool (USD)
1The International2021Dota 2$40,018,195
2The International2019Dota 2$34,308,060
3Fortnite World Cup 2019 Finals2019Fortnite$30,000,000
4The International2018Dota 2$25,532,177
5The International2017Dota 2$24,787,916
6The International2022Dota 2$18,930,775
7Riyadh Masters 20232023Dota 2$15,120,000
8Honor of Kings International Championship 20232023AoV$10,000,000
9Honor of Kings International Championship 20222022AoV$10,000,000
10Honor of Kings World Champion Cup2021AoV$7,728,000
11PUBG Global Invitational.S2021PUBG$7,056,789
12Fortnite Fall Skirmish2018Fortnite$6,018,000
13LoL World Championship2016LoL$5,070,000
14LoL World Championship2017LoL$4,946,969
15Call of Duty League 2020 Finals2020CoD$4,600,000
16Honor of Kings World Champions Cup2019AoV$4,533,660
17Honor of Kings World Champions Cup2020AoV$4,533,660
18PUBG Global Championship2021PUBG$4,340,000
19Riyadh Masters2022Dota 2$4,200,000
20Peacekeeper Elite League Summer2022PUBG Mobile$4,130,244

Here we’ll list some of the highest prize pools in esports history, starting from top to bottom. Keep in mind, these esports tournaments are ranked according to the total prize pool and popularity, and the focus here was to include different esports titles instead of having one game pop up multiple times in the following descriptions.

Bearing this in mind, here are the top 10 different and top 10 prize pools in esports.

Without further ado, let’s start with the number one on the list.

The Top 10 Biggest Prize Pools in Esports

1. The International 2021 ($40 million)

biggest-esports-prize-pool-ti9

For anyone familiar with esports, The International 2021 finding its spot on top of the throne is no surprise considering the TI Prize Pool history.

Beyond the fact that every year, The International pushes the limits for esports prize pools, 2021 was a special iteration of the event.

Specifically, following the unfortunate cancellation of the 2020 iteration, the prize pool carried over to build up to the epic $40 million prize pool which sits on top of the entire esports industry.

Moreover, what’s more special about this event is that this record will likely never be broken. Hosted back when the Dota Pro Circuit was at its peak, the prize pool of The International has only reduced since this epic moment.

Regardless, The International 2021 showed what the esports industry is capable of, a summit of its incredible history.

The first The International esports tournament was held in 2011, and back then it had a $1.6 million prize pool, which was something unheard of at the time. During The International 2019, the prize pool climbed to a massive $34.3 million figure. The gigantic prize pool, as well as the fact that OG were crowned back-to-back The International champions, is why The International 2019 is remembered so fondly by the Dota 2 community.

Overall, not only is The International 2021 the Dota 2 biggest prize pool, but it’s also one of the top esports events in the world. It concludes the Dota Pro Circuit, and it’s during this time that Dota 2 TI betting truly skyrockets.

2. Fortnite World Cup Finals ($30 million)

fortnite

Fortnite entered the esports scene sometime in 2017 and it immediately exploded in popularity. Wherever you went you’d hear about Fortnite. That’s when Twitch was flooded with Fortnite streams, Ninja climbed to the top of the streaming website, and there was just an overall fever for this game.

It’s no surprise that Fortnite managed to amass insane amounts of money in a very short period of time, and just two years later we saw one of the highest prize pools in esports history during Fortnite’s World Cup Finals. The prize pool for this esports event surpassed $30 million, which was something nobody expected from a game that was so young.

Fortnite is still going strong and enjoys incredible popularity, but we haven’t seen such prize pools in Fortnite since 2019. Nonetheless, the game has still secured a place among the biggest prize pools in esports.

3. Riyadh Masters 2023 ($15.12 million)

The Biggest Prize Pools in Esports History
Image Credits: Riyadh

Gracing the esports scene since 2022, the Riyadh Masters esports festival has been a celebration of multiple esports in the Middle-East, hitting new peaks for esports.

Moreover, for multiple esports, huge prize pools are available for the top competitors in the world.

After a succesful 2022 iteration, Riyadh Masters 2023 threw up a whopping $15,000,000 for the top Dota 2 teams in the world.

What’s more? This tournament was perfectly scheduled ahead of The International, treating the Dota community to another multi-million prize pool esports event and acting as great practice for the best 20 teams in the world.

In the coming years, we’re expecting future iterations of Riyadh Masters to feature on the the biggest prize pools in esports history.

4. Honor of Kings International Championship 2023 ($10 million)

honor of kings bettingThe Biggest Prize Pools in Esports History
Image Credits: Garena

The HoK International Championship 2023 celebrating many landmarks for one of the top mobile esports in the world.

Firstly, the tournament was the official revival of the unity of the two version of the competitive title – Honor of Kings and Arena of Valor – combining two sister esports scenes.

Featuring a new format and only the very best 16 teams on the face of the planet, the month-long tournament ended the year with a bang.

After years of growth, Honor of Kings has achieved an unquestionable international presence in the esports industry, offering up one of the biggest prize pools in esports history.

5. PUBG Global Invitational.S 2021 ($7 million)

best-prize-pool-esports-pubg
Image Credits: BlueHole

Although PUBG exploded initially when it was released, it was quickly overshadowed by Overwatch, and at some point, the game developers even decided to drop a lawsuit against Fortnite’s creators Epic Games. It was a tough period for PUBG and they were bleeding numbers, desperately trying to recover.

However, some years have passed and the game is now in great shape. A couple of months ago, PUBG had one of their biggest esports tournaments – PUBG Global Invitational.S 2021.

This tournament featured a massive $7m prize pool, which indicates that the game is financially very well off. Susquehanna Soniqs, a North American team, won the event and claimed the first prize of $1.296.189.

6. LoL 2016 World Championship ($5.7 million)

lol worlds-highest-esports-prize-pool
Image Credits: Riot Games

LoL Worlds betting is the biggest esports event in all of League of Legends. This is the time when the top 24 teams from League of Legends gather to decide who is truly the best of the best. Not only is this LoL event incredibly fun and fans adore it, the prizes are not bad either.

LoL esports achieved its peak during the LoL 2016 World Championship when Riot Games had their biggest prize pool ever and it peaked at $5.07 million.

Celebrating the peak of their careers, SK Telecom T1 walked away as champions of the 2016 iteration of the event, taking home the $2,028,000 stake of the prize pool and dominating the competition like years past.

Since 2016, Riot Games’ priority has drifted away from raising the prize pool instead, now offering a standard prize every season and focus on improving competition throughout the regular season building up to this epic conclusion.

7. Call of Duty League – 2020 Finals ($4.6 million)

highest-prize-pools-in-esports-cod-playoffs
Image Credits: Activision Blizzard

Call of Duty is one of the most successful first-person shooter games. Published by Activision, the game was released across multiple platforms that also include consoles and mobile. The Call of Duty League – 2020 Playoffs was an esports tournament for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and it was played on PS4.

As evident by the prize pool of $4.6 million USD, this tournament outdid both PC and mobile esports events, setting a new standard for esports events for consoles.

Notably, this iteration of the tournament pushed the new franchise model which many esports began to consider in.

8. Peacekeeper Elite League Summer 2022 ($4.13 million)

Esports Tournaments FormatsThe Biggest Prize Pools in Esports History
Image Credits: PUBG Mobile

Another mobile title finds itself on our list – PUBG Mobile.

With so many events to pick from, the recent Peacekeeper Elite League Summer 2022 tournament currently stands with the tallest prize pool.

For those unaware, the Peacekeeper Elite League is dedicated to the Chinese scene, hosted offline at the Shenzhen Bay Sports and Center Stadium for two months.

Overall, it’s surprising to see a regional tournament featured on this list dominated by post-season events – laying claim to the impact PUBG Mobile has on the esports industry right now.

9. Overwatch League 2019 Playoffs ($3.5 million )

overwatch-league-2021
Image Credits: Activision Blizzard

Now a piece of esports history, the Overwatch League manages to land a spot on the list of the biggest prize pools in esports history.

Back in 2019, at the height of one of the most successful franchised leagues (at one point), the Overwatch League 2019 Playoffs offered a whopping $3,500,000 of prize pool for the competing franchises.

Indeed, it was a tournament which gave many Overwatch fans for the future of the esports, which back then looked brighter than ever.

10. Six Invitational 2023 ($3 million)

Rainbow six siege invitational
Image Credits; Ubisoft

The Six Invitational is Rainbow Six Siege’s gift to the esports industry.

Offering a signature trophy, yearly excitement and a unique viewership experience, The Six Invitational is always a highlight on the esports calendar each year.

Back in 2023, beyond the storylines and thrill surrounding the tournament, a prize pool of $3 million dialled everything up a notch. Moreover, the 2023 iteration was a massive success and ended the season crowning G2 Esports as champions of the R6S World.

In addition, such prize pools push the narrative of R6S being a top esport.

Esports World Cup – $60,000,000

Beyond individual tournaments, esports festivals have also garnered popularity over the past decade where more than one esport features at one venue.

In 2024, the announcement of the Esports World Cup has over 17 tournaments competing under one roof across two months of competition in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Overall, the prize is being split accordingly:

Biggest CS2 Prize Pool

cs2 betting
Image Credits: Valve

As one of the most impactful esports titles of all time, let’s look at the top CS2 prize pools:

#RankTournamentYearPrize Pool Money in USD
1PGL Major Copenhagen2024$1,250,000
2Perfect World Shanghai Major2024$1,250,000
3BLAST.tv Paris Major 2023$1,250,000
4BLAST Premier World Final 2024$1,000,000
5IEM Cologne 2024$1,000,000

Compared to other esports scenes, the top 5 largest esports prize pools for CS offer quite some variety considering the nature of the esports calendar.

Indeed, the list includes a number of Majors, the climax of CS competition featuring the best prize pools, most teams and biggest stages in all of esports.

Notably, the most recent PGL Major Copenhagen will stand forever as the first-ever CS2 Major tournament.

Dota 2 Biggest Prize Pool

The International BettingThe Biggest Prize Pools in Esports History
Image Credits; Valve

Meanwhile, for Dota 2, the top 5 biggest prize pools are as follows:

#RankTournamentPrize Pool Money in USD
1The International 10$40,018,195
2The International 2019$34,308,060
3The International 2018$25,532,177
4The International 2017$24,787,916
5The International 2022$18,930,775

As you can tell, this list is simply a list of the iterations of The International over the history of the tournament.

Reaching the peak in 2021, after carrying the prize pool forward from the cancelled 2020 iteration of the tournament, the tournament prize pool has regressed followed reduced crowd funding.

While it was never possible to maintain the ridiculous prize pools, TI will always stand to prove what the esports industry is capable of.

League of Legends Biggest Prize Pool

lol worlds winners t1 win 2023 lol worlds
Image Credits: Riot Games

In addition, here are the League of Legends biggest prize pools:

#RankTournamentPrize Pool Money in USD
12016 World Championship$5,070,000
22017 World Championship$4,946,969
32018 World Championship$2,250,000
42019 World Championship$2,225,000
52020 World Championship$2,225,000

Despite its incredible popularity, Riot Games never went overboard with the prize pool for Worlds. Since 2016, the event has slowly reduced its prize pool in this post-season event, preferring to spread the prize across the regional and seasonal competition.

This approach focuses on sustainability and is understandable – check out the LoL Worlds Prize Pool distribution.

VALORANT Biggest Prize Pool

The Top Valorant Tournaments in 2024The Biggest Prize Pools in Esports History
Image Credits: Riot Games

As one of the youngest esports in the esports scene, here’s a look at VALORANT’S biggest prize pools:

#RankTournamentYearPrize Pool Money in USD
1VALORANT Champions2023$2,250,000
2VALORANT Champions2021$1,000,000
3VALORANT Champions2022$1,000,000
4VCT Masters Tokyo2023$1,000,000
5VCT Stage 3 Masters Berlin2021$700,000

Although only a handful of years have passed since the first VALORANT Champions event, the event has already become a staple to the esports industry.

Despite its youth, 2023 saw a bump in prize pools across the board, with VALORANT Champions 2023 pushing $2,250,000 as a new record for the esport.

However, it’s very likely Riot Games will consider a similar approach to VALORANT as they did for LoL – though time will tell.

Gabriel Sciberras
Gabriel Sciberras

Since: February 7, 2023

Gabriel is a content writer and editor at EsportsBets, covering every related esports scene and topic under the sun, apart from plenty of experience in the realm of technology and gaming. When he's not covering international news, he's focused on the local Maltese scene.

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