There’s big money to be made in esports.
Whether you’re a professional gamer vying for the prize money, or a fan trying to cash in with esports betting, the esports industry is a very rich one.
In the last few years, esports has grown exponentially. The largest tournaments see prize pools reaching dozens of millions of dollars. While the Covid-19 crisis has had to see many of this year’s esports events halted, we can expect them to continue next year, and it’s likely prize pools will grow even bigger. Below, we outline the five esports competitions with the biggest prize pools so far.
5. Overwatch League
2019’s Season 2 playoffs for Overwatch League saw an impressive prize pool of $3.5 million. That sounds like a lot of money – but it’s only a tenth of what the largest prize pool so far has been. Still, it’s an amount that means Overwatch is an esports game to be taken seriously. Of that prize pool, the winning team, San Francisco Shock, walked away with $1.1 million.
The rest of the money was split between the eight top teams, with the lowest prize on offer still being a rather nifty $200,000.
4. PUBG Global Championship
One of the first battle royale games to take the world by storm, it’s no surprise that PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds offers up an impressive prize pool when it comes to its esport scene. In 2019, that prize pool totalled $4.08 million, and was split between the top 32 teams.
The winning team, Gen.G, took half of the prize pool, pocketing $2.02 million. The runner up, FaZe Clan, took $620,000, and those in the lower positions walked away with $8,000.
3. LoL World Championship
The League of Legends World Championship prize pool is funded in a unique way. While Riot Games coughs up a sum of money to make the prize pool, it’s also topped up by players of the game by making in-game purchases. This meant the overall prize pool for the 2018 Lol World Championship was $6.4 million.
Of that prize pool, over a third of it – $2.4 million – went to the winning team, Invictus Gaming. The rest was shared between the 24 top teams. The team in second place, Fnatic, walked away with a cool $870,750, and the bottom rung teams pocketed $32,250.
2. Fortnite World Cup Finals
Fortnite is fairly new to the esports scene, but with Epic Games behind it, it’s also one of the most lucrative. The 2019 Fortnite World Cup Finals had two separate budgets, one for solo players, and one for duo, both prize pools being over $15 million each.
In 2019, the largest cut of the solo prize pool went to winner Bugha, who walked away with an impressive $3 million. The rest of the prize pool was shared between the top 128 players, with those towards the bottom still bagging $50,000 each. Not a bad day’s work.
The duos prize pool is a similar story. The winners of the 2019 Fortnite World Cup duo finals was Cooler Esport, bagging $3 million between them. Here, 64 qualifying teams shared the full prize pool, with those in positions 33-64 getting $100,000.
1. Dota 2 – The International
The Dota 2 Championships, also known as The International, is perhaps the most esteemed esports event there is. So it’s no surprise that it’s also the event with the largest budget. Each year, its prize pool has increasive, with 2019’s prize pool offering up a whopping $34 million dollars. That’s an insane amount of money! No single team walked away with that total though; the prize pool was split between the top 18 teams.
In 2019, Team OG came first, winning $15.6 million. Second place went to Team Liquid, who bagged a still-impressive $4.5 million. The prize money trickled down, with the teams in 17th and 18th places walking away with just shy of $86,000. Still, that’s a sum not to be sniffed at.