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Arial view of a Dota 2 tournament that makes up one of the tournaments in the Top 5 eSports Tournaments Prize Pools

Esports popularity is growing rapidly and as a result of that, there is more money involved in this industry every year. The industry is expected to grow exponentially in the following years and with that, it’s market revenue too. According to a source’s estimates, global eSports market revenue will reach astonishing 1.65 billion U.S. dollars by the year 2020, with nearly 80% of eSports industry revenues coming from sponsorships and advertising and the rest is from eSports tournaments prize pools, ticket sales, betting, and merchandise.

esports revenue, eSports tournaments, ticket sales, prize pools, betting, merchandise sales, usa

eSports Revenue in USD

Esports Tournaments Prize pools 1998 to 2018

With the growth of market revenue, eSports tournaments prize pools are growing too. The best way to jusify that claim is by showing you the list of total prize pools awarded in eSports industry in the last 10 years:

  • 1998 –  $131,700.00
  • 1999  – $275,153.84
  • 2000  – $677,189.19
  • 2001  – $858,123.17
  • 2002  – $892,982.82
  • 2003  – $1,615,548.50
  • 2004  – $2,421,340.89
  • 2005  – $3,946,569.10
  • 2006  – $5,100,429.46
  • 2007  – $6,933,044.02
  • 2008  – $7,084,198.09
  • 2009  – $3,793,922.33
  • 2010  – $5,912,327.04
  • 2011  – $10,181,427.83
  • 2012 –  $13,868,863.92
  • 2013 –  $22,056,058.98
  • 2014 –  $37,181,432.41
  • 2015 –  $66,462,533.11
  • 2016 –  $97,082,512.94
  • 2017 –  $113,341,544.78
  • 2018 –  $44,231,084.59 so far (without The International)

In only 10 years, total prize pools rose by 100000% which made eSports the fastest growing industry so far in terms of the prize pool. Over 70% of all the money distributed in this industry is divided by only 5 games: Dota 2, CS:GO, League of Legends, Starcraft 2 and Heroes of the Storm. We can’t know what future will bring us, but one thing is for sure, this industry will grow as well as the money involved in it. There are some more games worth mentioning, Fifa, Hearthstone, Call of duty franchise and two new games, PUBG and Fortnite which would most definitely leave their mark in this field.

Skins gambling is a big part of this industry, after the last Steam’s update CS:GO and Dota2 gambling became impossible and most of the gambling sites turned to PUBG. On the other side, Fortnite announced $100M prize pool for competitive gaming in the next year.

Related: Top 5 eSports Games 2018


The Top 5 esports tournaments prize pools are:

5. Heroes of the Storm

Prize Money Awarded: $13,521,769.67 From 408 eSports Tournaments.

Heroes of the Storm (HotS) is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) developed by Blizzard Entertainment.

This game was released in 2015 which made it the youngest game on this list.

The biggest tournament in this game so far was  2017 Heroes of the Storm Global Championship Grand Finals. The tournament was hosted in Anaheim, USA with the total prize pool of $1,000,000 and a viewership of 3,559,574 online views. The prize pool was spread across 16 teams, and the champions MVP Black took $500,000 for the first place.

Heroes of the Storm Global Championship Grand Finals, esports tournaments, prize money

Heroes of the Storm Global Championship Grand Finals 2017

4. Starcraft 2

Prize Money Awarded: $26,689,912.49 From 4846 eSports Tournaments.

StarCraft II (SC2) is a military science fiction real-time strategy game developed and released by Blizzard Entertainment for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X.


This game was released in 2010 and it is slowly fading away. The game is still in top 5 but players are not satisfied with the way game is advancing. European and American population abandoned it and it is only a matter of time when would some new game replace it in Asia too.

The biggest tournament in this game so far was 2017 StarCraft II World Championship Series Global Finals. The tournament was hosted in Anaheim, USA with the total prize pool of $700,000 and a viewership of 2,493,322 online views. The prize pool was spread across 16 teams, and the champions  Jin Air Green Wing took $280,000 for the first place.

StarCraft II World Championship Series Global Finals 2017, StarCraft II tournament, esports tournaments, prize money

StarCraft II World Championship Series Global Finals 2017

3. League of Legends

Prize Money Awarded: $53,473,739.24 From 2074 eSports Tournaments


League of Legends (LoL) is an action real-time strategy game developed and published by Riot Games, inspired by the popular Defense of the Ancients: All-Stars custom map for WarCraft III.

This game was released in 2009 and it is also losing on its popularity and the prize pools are getting lower.

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The biggest tournament of this game so far was: League of Legends 2016 World Championship.  For the first time, the LoL World Championship was partly crowdfunded and it did not get any better in 2017 either. The initial prize pool of  $2,130,000 was increased by the purchase of in-game skins which made the total prize pool of $5,070,000. The tournament was hosted in 4 different cities, San Francisco (Group Stage); Chicago (Quarterfinals); New York (Semifinals) and Los Angeles (Final) with a total viewership of 7,099,493 online views, The prize pool was spread across 16 teams, and the champions SK Telecom T1 took 40% of it, approximately $2,000,000.

2016, League of Legends tournament, LoL tournament, esports tournaments, prize money

League of Legends World Championship 2016

2. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive 

 Prize Money Awarded: $55,823,283.60 ( approximately $69M including older versions of Counter-Strike)  From 3282 ( 4189 including older versions of Counter-Stike) eSports Tournaments.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) is a tactical first-person shooter developed by Valve Corporation and Hidden Path Entertainment, who also maintained Counter-Strike: Source after its release. This version of the game was released in 2012 but this game is a way older with great eSport history and it was one of the first eSport games.

History:

In August of 1999, a group of amateur game designers known as CS team used the software technology of a popular computer game called Half-life to create a free downloadable multiplayer shooting game. The first day about 50 people downloaded it, and then it grows exponentially. At the very beginning, Counter-Strike was only a mod for a game called half life but when they realized people love it and it is getting more popular they made first beta (beta- a piece of software that is still being developed) version of the game. In just over a year, the CS Team released seventeen beta versions of Counter-Strike. After CS gained tremendous popularity enormous giant of the gaming industry VALVe software purchased CS and released the first official version of the game for retail in November 2000.


By the end of 2004  VALVE released Counter Strike Condition Zero and Counter-Strike Source. A few years later, in 2012 Counter-Strike Global Offensive was released and it was a complete success and six years later it is still one of the most popular games.

In August 2013 the Arms Deal update came. Skins were introduced to the game and that was the first indicator of CS:GO betting. After that many sites offered players to gamble their skins and today skins betting industry is worth millions of USD.

The biggest tournament of this game so far was: World Electronic Sports Games 2017 (WESG) with a prize pool of $1,500,000 and 2,366,807 views. The tournament was hosted Haikou, China. The prize pool was spread across top 16 teams out of 32 and the champions, Fnatic took $800,000 for the first place.

World Electronic Sports Games 2017, WESG, esports tournaments, prize money

World Electronic Sports Games 2017 (WESG)

Fun facts:

-The most watched eSports tournament ever was CS:GO Intel Extreme Masters Katowice (2017) with over 46 million views and a peak of 1,897,741 concurrent viewers during the finals.

– For the first time ever Intel is organizing The Intel Grand Slam and it will award $1,000,000 to the first team that wins 4 premier events organised by ESL and/or DreamHack Masters out of 10 events total. When a team wins an event, every ESL or DreamHack event after that will count towards the 9 possible events a team has left to achieve their 3 remaining victories. This prize is given directly to the players.

1. Defence of The Ancients 2 ( Dota 2)

Prize Money Awarded: $143,768,443.22 From 931 eSports Tournaments

Dota 2 is a multiplayer online battle arena game developed by Valve Corporation. It’s a stand-alone sequel to the WarCraft III custom map Defense of the Ancients: All-Stars.

This version of the game was released in 2013 but the initial version (Dota) was released in 2003. The first version of this game was not so popular as eSport game and only 94 eSports tournaments were held with a total prize pool of  $857,420.65. 


The biggest tournament of this game is The International.

The International is the concluding tournament of the Dota Pro Circuit and the biggest tournament in Dota 2 and in the eSports world too for the last 4 years straight.

  • 1. The International 2017 $24,687,919.00
  • 2. The International 2016 $20,770,640.00
  • 3. The International 2015 $18,429,613.05
  • 4. The International 2014 $10,931,103.00

The initial prize pool of the tournament is $1,600,000 USD. The total prize pool also sees an additional 25% of all Battle Pass sales added to it. These sales include Battle Pass purchases at multiple levels as well as points and purchases used to level up the Battle Pass in game.
The current total prize pool is already $14,132,412 USD.

Held in Seattle, the prize prize pool for last year’s The International was spread amongst 18 teams. The champions Team Liquid took 44% of the prize, approximately $10,862,683.

Fun fact:

Thanks to The International Dota 2 is the most paid eSports game. Out of 50 players that became millionaires from eSports competitive prizes, 49 of them are from Dota.

The International Dota 2, Dota 2, esports tournaments, prize money

The International Dota 2

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Alber Nucci
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$44,231,084.59 without ti? What if, if TI8 prize pool sums into it? Over $50M whaaaaaaaaaaaattttttttttttt theeeeee hell!!

Adelaide Delluci
Member

And yet my mom says that you will gain nothing by just playing. I hope that she can read this article.

Remi Fujisawa
Member

It all started when dota 2 introduced Conpendium in TI3 the 25% of the total sales will be added to the TI3 prize pool and after that the eSports prize pool has began to bloom and expand.


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