What are the biggest prizes in the competitive scene

Over the past 20 years, eSports players have witnessed absurd payouts. While the overall size of a prize pool does not determine the prestige of an event, it is clearly one of the main factors that players use to decide whether to participate and also determines the popularity of a game. Therefore, we have separated the biggest eSports prizes here.

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The first eSports prize was awarded in 1997, when Dennis “Thresh” Fong won Quake developer John Carmac's red Ferrari 328. In 2006, Johan “Toxjq” Quick won a Rolex from the WSVG Quake 4 championship. While they were notable in their day, today's prizes are so large that players can often retire upon winning them.

A big part of this boom in prize money is due to the popularity of crowdfunding. Developers have started offering exclusive in-game items to their vast player bases to increase the overall prize size.

The International 10 – $40 million

Image: Red Bull/Disclosure

Valve's annual Dota 2 World Championship broke the record for the biggest prize pool in eSports for 10 consecutive years. Although it offered a total of US$1.6 million in 2011 and 2012, since 2013, the event has been the most successful example of crowdfunded prize pools in the history of eSports. In 2021, Team Spirit took the lion's share of a massive $40 million prize pool.

The 2019 Fortnite World Cup Finals – $30.4 million

Image: Epic/Disclosure

Epic's first Fortnite World Cup World Finals featured one of the biggest prize pools in eSports history. The inaugural tournament was divided into two main events. Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf won $3 million in the solo finals, while David “aqua” W and Emil “Nyhrox” Bergquist Pedersen split $3 million after winning the tag team finals.

Riyadh Masters 2023 – $15 million

Image: Riyadh Masters/Disclosure

Held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the event saw 2012 T1 Champions Team Spirit take home the championship in a series that ended up being one-sided. Despite a terrible start to the year, they defeated Team Liquid 3-1 in the final, while the tournament brought in $15 million in prizes.

The 2022 Honor of Kings International Championship – $10 million

Image: Reproduction

The Honor of Kings International Championship, hosted in Shenzhen, saw 16 of the best Honor of Kings teams battle it out for a prize pool of US$10 million. The majority of players in the tournament were Chinese, although several other competitors came from Thailand, Myanmar, Korea and Japan, to fight for one of the biggest prizes in eSports

PUBG Global Invitational.S 2021 – $7.1 million

Image: iMDB/Reproduction

The first event of the 2021 PUBG season boasted one of the biggest prize pools in eSports history. Hosted partly online and partly offline in Incheon, South Korea, the 2021 PUBG Global Invitational.S saw Susquehanna Soniqs walk away with an impressive $1,296,189 in prize winnings.

These astronomical numbers not only reflect the growth and popularity of eSports, but also solidify its position as a premier entertainment industry capable of competing with traditional sports in terms of reach and global recognition.

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