TI 9 prize pool breaks the $30 million barrier

For the first time in the history of Dota 2 and esports as a whole, we have a tournament whose prize pool has reached the same heights we see in the case of important events from well-established traditional sports such as tennis. The only difference is that esports has been around for less than 20 years while tennis has been around for centuries. That pretty much sums up the level of interest that Millenials have in everything connected to competitive gaming.

The International 2019, huge prize pool

© Valve Corporation

The prize pool by the numbers

Dota 2 has a community of roughly 10 million active players. A prize pool of over $30 million gets translated into around $3 per person, on average. I say around $3 because $1.6 million comes from Valve’s pocket. However, given that the final prize pool will likely exceed $31.6 million, let’s assume that this figure is correct. Except, it’s not really $3 per person. It’s $12. Because only 25% of the Battle Pass sales go to the TI prize pool.

The fact that Valve has managed to convince their Dota 2 community to contribute so much to the prize pool of just one event is a testament to how amazing everyone is: the in-game content creators, their marketing team and probably most of all, the fans themselves, who clearly love the game and the community that they’re a part of.

Prize pool evolution over the nine TI editions

The International has gathered a lot of attention at each of its nine editions. And that has had something to do with the prize pool. In order to compete against Riot Games, who had the first mover’s advantage into the MOBA market due to releasing their game, League of Legends, a few years before Valve released theirs, Gabe Newell and his team decided to compensate for this by offering a prize pool of $1.6 million at the first edition of The International.

This went on for another year and after that, in order to bring things to a new level, Valve came up with a brilliant way of increasing the prize pool with the help of their passionate community. And as soon as that happened, the prizes went from $1.6 million to $2.8, then $10.9, $18.4 and so on, growing by an inch (or 10) with each edition, until we’ve reached this point. At the time of this writing, with several weeks still to go, the prize pool for The International 2019 is $30.6 million.

Want to know what will happen next, check out our Dota 2 TI9 predictions page for more of the action.