The Biggest Prize Pools in Esports History

Posted on August 16, 2021 - Last Updated on August 18, 2021

The world of esports has been growing over the past few decades, turning into the massive business that it is today. Much like traditional sports, esports has become a career for some, and many professional players have succeeded in earning millions from their passion for games.

This wouldn’t really be possible without all the biggest prize pools in esports tournaments, as those are the cream of the crop of the esports scene and pretty much every professional esports team competes all year round in hopes of landing into one such tournament. We’d like to take this opportunity to share a list of the top 10 tournaments with the highest prize pool in esports.

The Biggest Prize Pools in Esports

#RankTournamentYearGamePrize Pool Money in USD
1The International2019Dota 2$34,330,069.00
2The International2018Dota 2$25,532,177.00
3The International2017Dota 2$24,687,919.00
4The International2016Dota 2$20,770,460.00
5The International2015Dota 2$18,429,613.05
6Fortnite World Cup Finals - Solo
2019Fortnite$15,287,500.00
7Fortnite World Cup Finals - Duo
2019Fortnite$15,100,000.00
8The International2014Dota 2$10,931,103.00
9PUBG Global Invitational.S2021PUBG$7,068,071.00
10LoL World Championship2018LoL$6,450,000.00
11LoL World Championship2016LoL$5,070,000.00
12LoL World Championship2017LoL$4,946,969.00
13Honor of Kings World Champion Cup2020Arena of Valor$4,606,400.00
14Call of Duty League Championship 2020CoD$4,600,000.00
15PUBG Global Championship2019PUBG$4,080,000.00
16Fortnite Fall Skirmish Series 2018Fortnite$4,000,000.00
17Overwatch League - Season 2 Playoffs2019Overwatch$3,500,000.00
18Fortnite World Cup Finals - Creative2019Fortnite$3,250,000.00
19Dota 2 Asia Championships2015Dota 2$3,057,521.00
20Overwatch League - Playoffs - Grand Finals
2020Overwatch$3,050,000.00

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.

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

1. The International 2019 ( $34.3 million )

biggest-esports-prize-pool-ti9

The number one spot on our list of biggest prize pools in esports is most definitely Valve’s The International 2019.

Not only has Valve continued to deliver a superb show during each annual The International event, but they have managed to consistently up the total prize pool every year.

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.

The new TI10 has had a lot of delays and is finally scheduled to begin by the end of 2021. This time, it boasts an even higher prize pool of $40 million and continues Valve’s tradition of breaking all previous prize pool records.

Not only is The International 2019 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 The International 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. PUBG Global Invitational.S 2021 ( $7 million )

best-prize-pool-esports-pubg

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.

4. LoL 2018 World Championship ( $6.4 million )

lol worlds-highest-esports-prize-pool

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 2018 World Championship when Riot Games had their biggest prize pool ever and it peaked at $6.4 million.

Back in 2018, Invictus Gaming were the lucky champions and the team went home with roughly a third of the entire prize pool, or $2.418.750 to be more precise. The prize pool for this event kept increasing up to that point, but esports suffered greatly when the global pandemic came in, and that was reflected in the prize pools too. The new LoL Worlds 2021 will have a respectable $2.225.000, but the LoL 2018 World Championship will still remain as one of the highest pools in esports.

5. Call of Duty League – 2020 Playoffs ( $4.6 million )

highest-prize-pools-in-esports-cod-playoffs

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.

6. Overwatch League 2021 ( $4.2 million )

overwatch-league-2021

Despite Blizzard’s decline in recent years, the Overwatch League has managed to stay strong and retain some of the biggest prize pools in esports. The Overwatch League 2021 boasts an incredible $4.200.000 prize pool distributed across all the tournaments and Playoffs.

These numbers are quite impressive and one can imagine that they might go even higher once Overwatch 2 releases.

7. Six Invitational 2021 ( $3 million )

Rainbow six siege invitational

The Rainbow Six franchise has been rising in popularity and many newcomers and veterans to the first-person genre have decided to give the game a try. The game’s unique approach to destructible environments coupled with a heavy focus on team play has produced a gameplay that has captivated millions of players around the globe.

Rainbow Six Siege’s latest Six Invitational was a great success. This esports event was held in Paris and had a gigantic $3 million prize pool. Ninjas in Pyjamas beat Team Liquid to the punch and went home with a generous 1st place reward of $1.000.000.

8. World Electronic Sports Games 2017 ( $1.5 million )

biggest-prize-pools-in-esports

CS:GO is not even close to Dota 2 in terms of esports prize pools. Dota 2 is Valve’s golden goose, and when being compared to Dota 2, CS:GO’s prize pools might seem as insignificant. But that’s not really the case.

CS:GO is still one of the most popular first-person shooters and has set the bar for all other games in the genre. The 2017 WESG featured one of the biggest prize pools in esports – a total of $1.5 million USD. This was the highest prize pool we’ve seen for CS:GO, even though it wasn’t organized by Valve.

Valve still has plenty of CS:GO esports tournaments with prize pools ranging from $500.000 to $1 million. The PGL Major Stockholm 2021 event is scheduled in October of 2021, and this event will feature a $2 million prize pool, which will break all current CS:GO records.

9. Hearthstone World Championship ( $1 million )

Hearthstone World Championship

Here’s yet another Blizzard game, and it’s Hearthstone. Although the hype around the game has died down over the past few years, it’s still one of the most successful digital collectible card games and has a very active esports scene.

The 2019 Hearthstone World Championship had a $1 million prize pool, as well as two previous Hearthstone World Championships from 2016 and 2017. It deserves a mention on our list and finds itself at the number nine spot.

10. 2019 WCS Global Finals ( 700k )

2019 WCS Global Finals

The final spot belongs to the legendary real-time strategy StarCraft 2. Blizzard hosts annual StarCraft WCS Global events where fans get to enjoy some of the top tier pros from all around the world battle for that number one spot.

The last WCS Global Finals was held in 2019, and the top prize pool for this esports event was $700 thousand USD. It’s a very respectable number for a genre that’s no longer as popular as it once was. Battle Royale and Moba genres took over, leaving StarCraft as one of the last few RTS games alive today, but despite all of that it’s still one of the best esports games around.

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Denis Alihodzic

Freelance writer with a passion for gaming and esports. Loves a good old-school RPG, and enjoys spending time with his dogs.

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