Over the years, The International has become synonymous with setting new prize pool records for esports. The 2017 tournament held the record for the largest prize pool ever — $24,787,916 in US dollars.
As expected, that record has now been smashed by The International 2018. It sits currently at $24,952,195 but could rise further in the coming days.
There were early signs The International 2018 would set a new benchmark for esports tournament prize money. After just 24 hours of crowdfunding, the prize pool had already rocketed from the $1.6 million Valve seed fund, up to an unprecedented $5.6 million.
Indeed, every year since Valve introduced crowdfunding as part of the prize pool for The International back in 2013, the total prize pool has increased massively as fans first bought the Compendium (from 2013 to 2016) and from 2017 onwards the new Battle Pass. Twenty-five percent of the proceeds from every sale are added directly to the prize pool.
Esports tournament prize pool records
The eight richest prizes in esports tournament history are listed below:
- The International 2018 –$24,952,195*
- The Interantional 2017 – $24,787,916
- The International 2016 – $20,770,640
- The International 2015 – $18,429,613
- The International 2014 – $10,931,103
- League of Legends Worlds 2016 – $5,070,000
- League of Legends Worlds 2017 – $4,946,969
- DAC 2015 – $3,057,521
*As mentioned, the 2018 figure is likely to keep increasing.
So which teams stand a chance of landing the lion’s share of this year’s The International prize pool? That number could touch $11 million if the pool keeps growing. Let’s take a look at how the Group Stages unfolded at this year’s The International.
The International 2018 – Group Stage review
The 18 teams that qualified for The International 2018 began their challenge for the richest prize in esports in the Group Stage. Here, two groups of nine faced each team in their group once in a two-leg match across four days last week.
Group A began well for Evil Geniuses. After two days, they had an impressive 9-1 record in Group A and were well ahead of the teams chasing them for the second spot. However, by Day Three, Team Liquid joined them at the top of the table at 11-3. Both teams won their games on the final day to finish at the top of the table and 13-3.
The top two were joined in the Upper Bracket by PSG.LGD. They drew all five opening games before embarking on a winning streak of the last three games to finish with an 11-5 record. OG then claimed the last Upper Bracket spot with a 9-7 record. VGJ.Thunder, Mineski, and Winstrike Team entered the Lower Bracket.
Tiebreakers proved important in Group B. VGJ.Storm began the tournament impressively, winning both their opening matches and ultimately finishing atop the group at 12-4. Virtus.pro joined them in second with a 10-6 record
The real drama came in deciding which two of the three 8-8 teams — OpTic Gaming, Newbee, and Team Secret — would be in the Upper Bracket and which team would descend to the Lower. The tiebreaker between the teams proved decisive. Newbee lost first to OpTic Gaming and then to Team Secret to send them into the Lower Bracket. Both the others claimed the final two Upper Bracket places.
TNC Predator, Team Serenity, and Vici Gaming (all 7-9) joined Newbee on the low road. paiN Gaming were eliminated with a 5-11 record.
To begin this week’s Upper Bracket Main Event:
- Team Liquid vs. OpTic Gaming
- Virtus.pro vs. PSG.LGD
- VGJ.Storm vs. OG
- Evil Geniuses vs. Team Secret.
Aug. 21 also marks the four best-of-one Lower Bracket games:
- Fnatic vs. Team Serenity
- TNC Predator vs. Mineski
- Newbee vs. Winstrike Team
- VGJ.Thunder vs. Vici Gaming
The four winners of these games will take on the four losers of the Upper Bracket Round 1 in the Lower Bracket Round 2. Those contests are best-of-three.
The Main Event then progresses until one team from each bracket qualifies for the Grand Final, set for Saturday, Aug. 25 at 22:00 GMT.
The International 2018 – new odds
Betway has revised the odds for the tournament following the group phase.
Now, Team Liquid are the slight favourites to defend their title at 11/4. They are closely followed by Evil Geniuses and Virtus.pro, both 4/1 shots. Then, PSG LGD are 5/1, and VGJ.Storm saw their odds slashed down to 6/1 following a strong showing in the groups.