Dota 2 is famous for many things and one of them is its prize pools. A Dota 2 Major offers $1 million, a Minor offers $300,000, and smaller tournaments can offer anywhere between $10,000 and $100,000. But once per year, the best teams in the world really get to fill up their coffers by taking part in The International. The history of its prize pool is amazing and so far, the amount has only gone up with every edition.
A Brief History of The International and Its Prize Pools
The first edition of The International took place in 2011 and its prize pool was staggering for those times. It still is even for today’s standards, but back then nobody had ever seen something of this grandeur: $1.6 million and $1 million for the winner. With this tournament, which was won by Natus Vincere, Valve made history and Dota 2 started to become a lot more famous.
Ultimately, Riot Games still won the lion’s share of the market because they acted several years before Valve in creating their version of DotA. But thanks to TI1, Dota 2 went on to attract a player base of around 10 million. At the moment, the game is played by an average of 432,000 players at any given time.
Over the years, the prize pool of The International got bigger and bigger. Only the second edition was identical to the first in this department. Starting with the third, the introduction of the Battle Pass changed everything. Valve still uses this method of enhancing people’s experience by providing extra content for them at a reasonable price. And this allows the community to contribute to the prize pool of The International, because 25% of the money goes to it. As you might imagine, a community of 10 million people will easily create a massive prize each year. And the better the Battle Passes got, the more people got involved. Here’s the spectacular evolution of the prize pools:
- TI1: $1.6 million
- TI2: $1.6 million
- TI3: $2.8 million
- TI4: $10.9 million
- TI5: $18.4 million
- TI6: $20.7 million
- TI7: $24.7 million
- TI8: $25.5 million
- TI9: $34.3 million
The way in which these prizes are distributed allows even the weakest teams to enjoy decent rewards. Take for instance the case of The International 2019. The 17th and 18th place teams got $85,000 each, while the $13th – 16th place teams got $515,000 each. So all you had to do as a team in order to earn half a million dollars was to not finish last in your group. And keep in mind, we’re talking about two groups of 9 teams each.
The International 2020 Prize Pool
The current prize pool of The International 2020 is $34.2 million. But with the competition being delayed until 2021, you can imagine that it’s going to get much bigger. I expect a $40+ million prize by the time The International 2021 takes place.