Among the esports games out there, Dota 2 is the biggest and most popular. Its annual professional circuit culminates in the concluding tournament called The International (TI), which not only offers prestige to the champion but also a lion’s share of a multimillion-dollar prize pool.
|The International 2022 (TI12)||$10,057,251 as of Sept. 9|
|The International 2021 (TI11)||$40,018,195|
|The International 2020 (TI10)||N/A|
|The International 2019 (TI9)||$34,330,068|
|The International 2018 (TI8)||$25,532,117|
|The International 2017 (TI7)||$24,787,916|
|The International 2016 (TI6)||$20,770,460|
|The International 2015 (TI5)||$18,429,613|
|The International 2014 (TI4)||$10,923,977|
|The International 2013 (TI3)||$2,874,380|
|The International 2012 (TI2)||$1,600,000|
|The International 2011 (TI1)||$1,600,000|
Since 2016, the tournament champion has received at least 44 percent of the prize pool. The remaining amount is distributed among other teams, with the first runner-up getting at least 13 percent. The two teams who finish last get a measly 0.25% of the prize pool.
For each year, DOTA 2 developer Valve offers a starting pool of $1,600,000, which is then increased through crowdfunding. Specifically, Dota 2 players buy battle passes to gain features exclusive to the tournament, and 25 percent of the sales are added to the pool.
The International 2022 (TI12)
As of September 9, the current prize pool has hit past $10 million. While it is a staggering amount, it is considerably lower than the 2021 pool. There’s still time though, as ongoing contributions from Dota 2 players may still help the current prize pool rival if not surpass the amounts of previous events.
However, this may possibly be the first time the annual tournament will fail to break its own prize pool record, a feat it has consistently done every year since Valve started feeding proceeds of battle pass sales into the prize pool.
The International 2021 (TI11)
The tenth iteration of The International currently holds the record of the largest prize pool of any esports, offering a total of $40,018,195. In comparison, Fortnite had its biggest cash prize back in World Cup Finals 2019 at $30.4 million, which was split between its solo and duo events. Arena of Valor is currently third with a $7.7 million payout during the 2021 Honor of Kings World Champion Cup.
The International 2020 (TI10)
The championship that was supposed to be slated for August 18-23, 2020 at Avicii Arena in Stockholm, Sweden was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The International 2019 (TI9)
The tournament surpassed the $30 million mark for the first time in 2019, with a total amount of $34,330,068. As of April 2019, Dota 2 tournaments had given away $177 million overall in prize money, with Counter-Strike: Global Offensive at a distant second at $73 million, based on data from Statista.
Philippine teams TNC Predator and Mineski participated in the tournament but only had a 9th-12th place finish.
The International 2018 (TI8)
TI8 only had a relatively modest increase in the prize pool from the preceding year, but the tournament reached the $25 million mark for the first time.
The International 2017 (TI7)
The prize pool once again reached an all-time high in 2017, with a total of $24,787,916. TI7 champion Team Liquid went home with $10,862,683.
The International 2016 (TI6)
The tournament went past the $20 million mark in 2016. Wings Gaming of China won that year and made it into the Guiness World Records for the largest single first prize in an esports tournament at $9,139,002. Official Filipino coverage of the tournament was handled by MineskiTV, represented by casters “Lon” and the late “Dunoo.” This is where the famous “Lakad Matatag” Pinoy gaming chant was born.
The International 2015 (TI5)
At TI5, the Dota 2 tournament once again broke its own record for the largest esports tournament prize pool. A total of $18,429,613 was offered, which was a whopping $7.5 million increase from the previous year. The total was also notable to be larger than the combined prize pool from all previous four The Internationals.
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The International 2014 (TI4)
The year 2014 saw a huge jump in the prize pool, specifically a 280-percent year-on-year increase. Better perks and stretch goals in the Compendium (i.e., what Dota 2 battle passes were previously called) helped the prize pool go past $10 million for the first time.
The International 2013 (TI3)
It was during the third iteration of The International when Valve started crowdfunding to help raise the base $1.6 million prize pool. Sales from Dota 2 battle passes at the time reached $5.1 million, a quarter of which then went toward the prize pool.
The International 2012 (TI2)
Like the first The International, the 2012 event had a $1.6 million total prize pool. In the finals, the Chinese team Invictus Gaming beat the annual tournament’s first ever champion Natus Vincere (NaVi) and took home a lion’s share of the prize money at $1 million.
The International 2011 (TI1)
The first The International was held at Gamescom to promote Dota 2, which was back then closed off to the public except for a lucky few that received closed beta invitations.
The 2011 event’s $1.6 million prize pool looks downright paltry when compared to prizes offered by today’s tournaments, but it was still the biggest of any esports tournament at the time. As Dota 2 fans all know, Natus Vincere won the tournament and took home $1 million from the prize pool.