6 Biggest Prize Pools in Esports Tournament History


Only a decade ago, it was pretty hard to carve out a lucrative career as a professional esports player. Cut to the 2020s, and it’s all changed. Today, S-Tier esports teams compete for staggering amounts of money. Most major tournaments offer seven-figure prize pools as standard, with even runners-up walking away with life-changing sums of cash. While sponsorship deals and merchandising revenue go a long way in keeping an esports team afloat, nothing beats the cold, hard cash that comes with a victory. Below, we look at some of the biggest esports prize tools of all time.

6. League of Legends World Championship 2019 ($2.3 million)

League of Legends tournaments might have been around for more than a decade, but it’s taken a while for Riot Games to start offering a decent prize pool. Take the first-ever tournament in 2011 as an example. Back then, the combined prize pool was $100,000. While this figure is hardly something to scoff at, it falls short of the substantial sums up for grabs today.

In 2019, the League of Legends World Championship announced it would be offering a whopping $2,340,000 in prize money. Where did this capital come from? Sponsorship from brand partners like Louis Vuitton, AXE, and RedBull was largely responsible.

5. Six Invitational 2020 ($3 million)

Rainbow Six Siege is hardly the most popular esports game around, pulling in a fairly modest 65,000 players daily. This is understandable. After all, it faces stiff competition from other first-person shooters like Call of Duty and Counter-Strike. However, this hasn’t stopped ESL and Ubisoft from going all out in terms of prize money. The first Six Invitational gave competing teams the chance to battle it out for a share of a $3 million prize pool.

4. Call of Duty League Championship 2020 ($4.6 million)

Activision’s Call of Duty franchise has been going strong since 2003 and shows no sign of slowing time. The main series alone includes 22 titles. As well as being one of the most established first-person shooter franchises out there, Call of Duty is also a frontrunner in terms of professional esports.


The first Call of Duty league Championship got underway in 2008 and remains a firm fixture of the annual esports calendar. While the first event only offered $15,000 in prize money, later tournaments would surge past the million mark. In 2020, participating teams fought it out to secure a share of the $4.6 million that was up for grabs.

3. PUBG Global Invitational.S 2021 ($7 million)

PUBG is one of the newer kids on the block, but it doesn’t disappoint in terms of prize money. PUBG tournaments are a little more fragmented than other esports, with events split between first-person pairings, solo play, and team-based matches. In 2021, the PUBG Global Invitational.S whipped competing teams into a frenzy when it was announced $7 million was on the table. Soniqs, an American esports roster, walked away victorious, pocketing the entire $7 million.

2. Fortnite World Cup Finals 2019 ($15.2 million)

Fortnite shares a lot of similarities with PUBG. They’re both battle royale games, and they were released within weeks of each other. When it comes to tournaments, the setup is also largely identical.


Competitors take part in different divisions, with separate prize pools allocated to solo players and pairings. In 2019, a total of $15,287,500 was there for the taking. At the time, this amount broke all records, making it the largest-ever prize pool a solo player could win.

1. The International 2021 ($40 million)

Have a look at the latest esports tournament schedule at https://www.1337pro.com/en/lol/tournament-schedule. Notice how Dota 2 dominates the calendar? It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to learn that Dota 2 also delivers when it comes to eye-watering prize pools. Even the first-ever Dota 2 tournament in 2011 didn’t disappoint, securing $1.6 million in prize money for participants. However, this figure was dwarfed in 2021 when organizers of The Invitational announced a combined prize pool of $40 million.

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