Dota 2’s The International has once again trumped itself by having an even more enormous prize pool than last year. For the past 4 years, The International has broken its own prize pool record every single time and it’s not any different this year around.
The reason that The Internation is able to have such a gigantic prize pool is that the majority of that money comes through the players. Every year, Dota 2 players can purchase a Battle Pass which gives players access to a large variety of different features to enjoy during the summer period. However, purchasing a Battle Pass directly contributes to The International. It’s basically a crowdfunding campaign although people that contribute get something in return as well.
— Redeye (@PaulChaloner) August 20, 2018
After the crowdfunding period ended the final number stopped at a total of $24,787,916 for which professional players will be duking it out in TI7. Once again this is a landmark figure and the highest that esports has ever seen so far. It also shouldn’t be surprising that year after year The International ranks as the number 1 esports tournament with the highest prize pool. However, for quite a period of time, it looked like the prize pool had no way of beating out last year’s. It was constantly lagging behind by a few percent. It wasn’t until the last Battle Pass loot box was released that players finally gave in and bought the Battle Pass, causing quite a big surge for the prize pool.
Despite the crowdfunding period having ended, players can still contribute some more cash for the cause. This is not attached to any Battle Pass incentives so it’s very unlikely that we will the number rise by a massive amount beyond this point.
Other esports tournaments could definitely learn a thing or two from Dota’s The International. Although the quality of these tournaments is nowadays mostly the same across all games, Dota 2 is still the clear leader when it comes to prize pools. The Dota community has already they showed that they are more than willing to contribute to the tournament as long as there are incentives for them attached to it. If other esports like League of Legends or Overwatch want to increase their prize pools they might have to look into adopting a similar system.