The Biggest Esports Prize Pools of All Time

esports prize pool dota tournament

The first-ever esports prize was awarded in 1997 when Dennis Fong won a red Ferrari 328 for his exploits in Quake. Since then, the prize money for the elite esports players has increased so enormously that it is now possible for the most successful players to retire after winning.

Valve, the creators of Dota 2 and CS:GO, is currently one of the most successful corporations when it comes to producing large prize pools. Its flagship Dota 2 tournament, The International, has seen enormous growth over the last ten years of competition.

In fact, The International would most likely dominate the following list of the top ten biggest prize pools, so instead, we’ve focused on the top ten tournaments with the biggest prize pools.
esports prize pool dota tournament

Top 10 Biggest Prize Pools


The International 10 – $40 million

For the tenth year in a row, Valve’s annual Dota 2 world championship has shattered the record for esports prize pools. While the tournament offered a total prize pool of $1.6 million in 2011 and 2012, it has been the most successful example of crowdfunded prize pools in esports history.


2019 Fortnite World Cup Finals – $30.4 million

The prize pool for Epic’s first Fortnite World Cup Finals was one of the largest in esports history.

There were two major events at the inaugural competition. In the solo finals, Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf took home $3 million, while David “aqua” W and Emil “Nyhrox” Bergquist Pedersen split $3 million after winning the doubles finals.


2021 Honor of Kings World Champion Cup – $7.7 million

The Honor of Kings World Champion Cup, held in Beijing, featured 12 of the best Honor of Kings teams competing for the world’s top spot. After some back-and-forth action in the group stage, QG Happy emerged victorious in the grand finals, defeating Gank Gaming.


PUBG Global Invitational.S 2021- $7.1 million

The first event in the  2021 PUBG season produced one of the largest prize pools and biggest wins in esports. Susquehanna Soniqs won $1,296,189 at the PUBG Global Invitational.S 2021, which was held partially online and partly offline in Incheon, South Korea.


The 2018 League of Legends World Championship – $6.4 million

For the first time in 2017, Riot Games allowed League of Legends supporters to raise the overall prize pool of the event by purchasing in-game items. The prize pool was boosted to $6.4 million total a year later, making it the highest reward pool in the game’s history.


2020 Call of Duty League Championship – $4.6 million

Due to the COVID-19 epidemic, the Call of Duty League’s debut season was mostly held online and the tournament playoffs produced one of the biggest pools in esports. The Dallas Empire decimated Atlanta FaZe in the grand finals after a tight victory in the winner’s bracket, and took home $1.5 million for winning CDL Champs 2020.


PUBG Global Championship 2021 – $4.4 million

At the PUBG Global Championship 2021, NewHappy brought home $1,378,264 in prize money. Throughout the season, the Chinese squad had a run of back-to-back victories, winning event after tournament. The World Championship was the icing on the cake.


Fortnite Fall Skirmish Series – Clubs Standings – $4 million

Fortnite’s popularity has skyrocketed in recent years. Epic announced $100 million in esports tournament prize pools in its first year of competitive play, coinciding with the success of the popular battle royale. Of that figure, the Fall Skirmish Series – Club Standings accounted for the bulk.


Overwatch League 2019 – Playoffs – $3.5 million

The Overwatch league’s overall prize pool increased to $3.5 million during the second playoffs. The San Francisco Shock defeated the Vancouver Titans to win the championship at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.


The Dota 2 Asia Championship – $3 million

The 2015 Dota 2 Asia Championship, which served as a warm-up for the ultimate Dota 2 Major circuit, had a prize pool of $3,057,000, just $57,000 more than the Valve Majors. The event, which took place in Shanghai, China, saw Evil Geniuses’ newly assembled squad win the title in one of the most one-sided grand finals in Dota 2 history. Vici Gaming was defeated 3-0.


Game Titles with the Biggest Prize Pools

While there are many esports titles out there, some have proved to be more popular than others and naturally attract the biggest prize pools. Here are three of the biggest:


csgoThe Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Major Championships, commonly known as Majors, was first introduced in 2013 and took place in Sweden, with a prize pool of $250,000. Six teams received a direct invitation, six teams earned an invite based on earlier competition results, and four teams qualified directly. Since that opening event, the CS:GO Major circuit has grown a great deal and now offers an impressive $1,000,000 prize pool with 24 teams around the world competing.


pubgThe prize pool for PEL Season 3 is $440,000, with the champion taking home $146.5,000. The PEL Season 3 Grand Final will have a prize pool of $730,000. Every week, PEL will award a total of $580K to the top eight important esports organizations, totaling $146.5K. Tencent is hosting the competition in collaboration with VSPN, a Chinese tournament organizer, and OPPO, a Chinese smartphone manufacturer.

Dota 2

DOTA 2 esportsStill the biggest esports competition in the world, Dota 2 has continued to set records. After hitting a record total of $34,330,068 in 2020, The International 10 tournament recorded an incredible $40 million in 2021, the highest reward pool in esports history.


Author: Mike Diaz