Fortnite World Cup Sees US Teenager Win $3 Million Prize

Published: Jul 29, 2019 - Last Updated: Sep 1, 2022

Sunday night saw an American teenager picking up a $3 million prize as he won the Fortnite World Cup Solo Finals in New York. The Pennsylvania-based Kyle Giersdorf managed to beat over 100 other players on the battle royale game. He became the champion of the first-ever Fortnite World Cup.

The esports tournament saw the largest-ever prize pool in the history of competitive gaming: $30 million. Over 40 million gamers took part in the 10-week qualifiers, including representatives from more than 30 different nations in the finals.

The Bugha win

Playing under the name “Bugha,” Giersdorf clearly eclipsed the efforts of his rivals. Netting 26 points more than his nearest rival, the US teenager almost made a victory lap of his final game and booked his place at the top of the Fortnite World Cup leaderboard.

fortnite world cup 2019 champion
Kyle ‘Bugha’ Giersdorf celebrates winning the final of the Solo competition at the 2019 Fortnite World Cup in New York. Photograph: Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images

After winning the first battle royale, Bugha never gave up his lead. Through strong challenges from Counter Logic Gaming’s “Psalm,” Bugha kept his cool and eased through the six-round finals.

There were also notable results for many top UK gamers. Jaden Ashman from London picked up nearly £1 million in prizes by getting second place in the duos competition, whilst the 14-year-old Kyle Jackson received $375,000 in winnings.

The Fortnite World Cup marked a big moment for the Epic Games title. The battle royale game was only released in 2017, but it quickly became a breakthrough hit with well over 125 million players signing up in less than a year.

The title spearheaded the hugely popular battle royale phenomenon, with other games like Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds and Apex Legends also proving immensely successful. The arrival of the Fortnite World Cup showed this game could become a massive hit in the burgeoning esports scene.

What’s on the horizon?

Although esports has been traditionally ruled by first-person shooters like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and battle arena titles such as League of Legends, the arrival of the Fortnite World Cup may shake up the competitive gaming realm.

Bugha Kyle Gierdorf World Cup Solo
Photo Credits: Epic Games

Epic Games has already reached an astonishing $15 billion valuation since releasing Fortnite. Competitive gaming events have the power to add years to the shelf-life of such games.

While the $30 million prize pool of the Fortnite World Cup was record-breaker, it looks to already have been surpassed by this year’s The International 9 tournament. This legendary Dota 2 competition features a crowd-funded prize pool that has just passed the $30.8 million mark. That funding drive will continue until the contest kicks off on Aug. 25.

But such is the success of the inaugural Fortnite World Cup that we can expect bigger and better things from this fledgling esports tournament when it returns next year.

ESB Staff

Since: August 10, 2015

At we are a group of independent journalists with one big passion: Esports. We've been following the industry and have contributed to its growth since 2015.

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