With the rise in esports' popularity came equally-impressive esports prize pool figures, with many going into the millions. Having become as prominent as any other sports, with hundreds of teams competing in numerous tournaments across a wide range of games available, esports is here to stay.

Here, we dive deeper into esports prize pools and the highest-earning teams.

The Biggest Esports Prize Pools per Tournament

TournamentGamePrize Pool
The International 2021Dota 2$40,018,195
Riyadh Masters 2022*Dota 2$4,000,000
VALORANT Champions 2022VALORANT$1,000,000
PGL Major Stockholm 2021CSGO$2,000,000
Intel Extreme Masters Rio Major 2022*CSGO$1,250,000
BLAST.tv Paris Major 2023*CSGO$1,250,000
RLCS 2021-22 World ChampionshipRocket League$2,085,000
Gamers8 2022Rocket League$2,000,000
Peacekeeper Elite League Spring 2022PUBG Mobile$4,107,309
PUBG Mobile Global Championship 2022*PUBG Mobile$4,000,000
2018 World ChampionshipLeague of Legends$6,450,000
Mid-Season Invitational 2017League of Legends$1,690,000
ALGS: 2022 ChampionshipApex Legends$2,000,000
TwitchCon San Diego 2019Apex Legends$500,000
2018 & 2017 WCS Global FinalsStarcraft II$700,000
Six Invitational 2020 & 2021 & 2022Rainbow Six Siege$3,000,000
Gamers8 2022Rainbow Six Siege$1,200,000
Six Major Raleigh 2019Rainbow Six Siege$500,000
Overwatch League - 2019 PlayoffsOverwatch$3,500,000
Overwatch League 2022 - Midseason MadnessOverwatch$1,000,000
M4 World ChampionshipMobile Legends$800,000
PUBG Global Invitational.S 2021PUBG$7,056,789
PUBG Global Championship 2021PUBG$4,412,928
PUBG Nations Cup 2022 & 2019PUBG$500,000
PUBG Asia Invitational 2019PUBG$500,000
Icons Global Championship 2022Wild Rift$2,000,000
Horizon Cup 2021Wild Rift$500,000
Honor of Kings International Championship 2022Arena of Valor/Honor of Kings$10,000,000
Honor of Kings World Champion Cup 2021Arena of Valor/Honor of Kings$7,742,069
Arena of Valor International Championship 2021Arena of Valor/Honor of Kings$1,000,000
Call of Duty League - 2020 PlayoffsCall of Duty$4,600,000
Call of Duty World League Championship 2019Call of Duty$2,000,000
CWL Pro League Finals 2019Call of Duty$1,250,000
CWL Championship 2016Call of Duty$2,000,000
Brawl Stars World Finals 2020 & 2021Brawl Stars$1,000,000
Fortnite World Cup Finals SoloFortnite$15,287,500
FNCS: Chapter 3 Season 3 - Grand Finals EUFortnite$1,362,500
Gamers8 2022 - Battle RoyaleFortnite$1,000,000
Gamers8 2022 - Zero BuildFortnite$1,000,000
FIFAe World Cup 2022 & 2021FIFA$500,000
FIFA 22 Global Series - Team of the Season CupFIFA$500,000
EA Champions Cup Winter 2016FIFA$500,000
FIFAe Nations Cup 2022 & 2021FIFA$400,000
Clash Royale League 2019 World FinalsClash Royale$400,000
Clash Royale League 2022Clash Royale$1,010,000

*Upcoming tournaments

The Top 10 Highest Esports Prize Pools Overall

Now that we’ve seen the various different esports tournaments spread across numerous esports games, it’s time to take a look the top ten biggest overall esports prize pools:

Highest Esports Prize Pools Overall Graphic
Data Source: Statista

As you can see, Dota 2’s most famous esports tournament, The International, holds eight out of ten positions in the list, with Fortnite’s World Cup Finals 2019 taking the third spot and the Honor of Kings World Champion Cup 2021 taking the 10th spot.

There’s no arguing that Valve has cemented its style of creating large prize pools, so let’s find out how they’ve managed to achieve this.

Why Does Dota 2 Have Such a High Prize Pool?

Valve’s approach to prize pools involves them providing a portion of the prize pool before the tournament begins, and in most cases, this amount is around a few million. The rest of the prize pool is generated from battle pass sales.

In essence, the final prize pool is determined by the sum of Valve’s investment and a percentage of the total battle pass income for Valve. The most drastic and impressive example of how this system works can be seen in The International 10.

The initial prize pool was $1,600,000, but with 25% of the battle pass sales going into the prize pool, we ended up with a total of more than $40 million. This means that $38.5 million was ‘donated’ by fans of the game, the teams, and the esports countries that these teams represent.

Dota 2 is the only esports game that features such a prize pool system; it has enabled the Dota 2 esports players and teams to provide us with some of the fiercest, most chaotic matches known to esports.

This also makes Dota 2 one of the most popular games to bet on as well, but it’s not always easy, especially if you’re a beginner. We recommend learning about common esports terms first before diving deeper into the world of Dota 2 esports betting.

Highest-Earning Teams

Due to the sheer number of games that esports organisations have teams participating in, it’s evident that some of them have managed to accumulate huge swathes of money from prize pool earnings. Here are the top 20 highest-earning teams in esports:

Esports TeamTotal Earned# of Entered Tournaments
Team Liquid$42,095,0422339
OG$37,361,505142
Evil Geniuses$26,445,664946
Team Spirit$21,511,255177
Team Secret$19,537,491351
Natus Vincere$18,844,548633
Fnatic$18,756,9451052
Virtus.pro$18,385,456591
PSG Esports$18,344,951117
Vici Gaming$15,731,970308
Invictus Gaming$14,826,331589
Newbee$14,228,223234
FaZe Clan$13,985,354564
LGD Gaming$13,380,506181
T1$12,818,294445
Cloud9$12,376,908908
G2 Esports$10,796,881602
OpTic Gaming$10,577,894375
Team SoloMid$9,981,374846
Astralis$9,768,698149

Which Game Has Given Out the Most in Esports Prize Pools?

This title belongs to Dota 2; the chances of any other game overtaking it are virtually zero, simply because The International consistently has massive prize pools, comparable to the total yearly prize pool of some other games.

In total, Dota 2’s prize pools equal almost $310 million, given across 1,695 tournaments (but realistically, the majority of the total prize pool is because of The International).

Are High Prize Pools Good for Esports?

High prize pools are inherently good for esports – the more money teams and players can win, the better they’ll compete. This leads to some genuinely marvelous instances of gameplay and team performances.

However, the downside of large prize pools is that they enter the realm of absurdity. The biggest danger lies in the event failing to fulfill its expectations while the organisers have spent millions upon millions of dollars to make it work.

Luckily, such occasions are rare in esports, as due to intense gameplay and interest from sponsors, most tournament organisers can sustain the process of creating high prize pools, which is definitely a good sign for the future of esports.

Summary

In the end, it’s safe to say that esports is still going strong and there are no signs of slowing down. Where old games begin to shut down, new ones pop up and expand the esports ecosystem even more.

We’re likely to keep seeing large prize pools in esports, but judging by the current trends, it seems that mobile esports gaming will overtake traditional PC/console esports tournaments as far as prize pools are concerned. Still, we’ll need to wait a bit longer before seeing whether or not this will turn out to be fact.


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FAQ

Esports Prize Pools FAQs

Very big! In fact, the largest esports prize pool ever recorded equals around $40 million. The tournament in question was The International 10, held in 2021.

This depends on the tournament organisers and how they’ve envisioned the prize pool split. The split also depends on the tournament format; certain formats require different prize pool splits to make it fair for all teams. In most cases, however, the winner receives 35%-45% of the total prize pool amount.

Out of the top 50 players that have earned the most competing in esports tournaments, 46 of them play Dota 2. However, the player that has earned the most in esports is Johan Sundstein, (otherwise known as N0tail), having won more than $7 million playing Dota 2 throughout his  career of over 11 years!

Certain forms of esports events such as qualifiers, regional playoffs, and ‘for fun’ events do not have prize pools. Instead, their primary purpose is to provide a ‘jumping board’ of sorts to help players qualify for the main events. However, what they lack in prize pools, they gain in competitiveness because teams must go through these events and usually come out on top if they want to advance to the main part of the tournament.

While esports is a huge part of the gaming world, it seems that certain games are experiencing slight reductions in prize pool amounts. The reasons for this can range from the game reducing in popularity to the organisers spreading their total prize pool amounts over more tournaments.

On the other hand, it seems that mobile esports gaming is on the rise and we’ve already begun seeing prize pools upwards of $5 million, especially in the Asian market.

Through our in-depth guides and reviews, we are focused on providing the best insights into esports betting.

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