Which esports have the top prize money payouts?
|1||Dota 2||$41.2 million|
|2||Counter-Strike: Global Offensive||$22.7 million|
|4||League of Legends||$14.1 million|
|5||PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG)||$6.7 million|
|7||Heroes of the Storm||$6.5 million|
|9||StarCraft II||$2.4 million|
|10||Call of Duty: WWII||$4.1 million|
Money, money, money! Video games have been around for decades, and gamers have been competitive over different game goals ever since the days of Atari and arcade cabinets. Even though the esports industry has been around for decades, the prizes for winning used to be very small or nonexistent. Gone are the days of beating everyone just to be the best. The respect it brings has only risen, and the competition for top esports games has grown by millions of players in recent years.
The growing public interest in watching, streaming, recording, playing, and winning has led to advertisers, developers, and markets where professional gamers are finally starting to out-earn several professional sports athletes at the top of their industry. Let’s take a look at the top of the top, and how rich pro gamers have gotten in recent years.
Top Esports Tournament Payouts of All Time
Please note that some of these tournaments were funded through its community of players buying in-game content that had a percentage of its proceeds going to boosting the prize pool totals. That means that for some of these numbers, quadruple the amount was raised, with the majority of money going to the developers. Keep that in mind when comparing these totals with statistics listed later in this article.
So far, as of May 2019, these are the single tournaments that have had the largest prize pools for its professional esports players.
- The International 2018 (Dota 2): $25.53 million
- The International 2017 (Dota 2): $24.69 million
- The International 2016 (Dota 2): $20.77 million
- The International 2015 (Dota 2): $18.43 million
- The International 2014 (Dota 2): $10.93 million
- League of Legends 2018 World Championship: $6.45 million
- League of Legends 2016 World Championship: $5.07 million
- League of Legends 2017 World Championship: $4.95 million
- Fortnite Fall Skirmish Series – Club Standings: $4.00 million
- Dota 2 Asia Championship 2015: $3.06 million
2018 Traditional Sports versus 2018 Esports
Let’s put the above numbers into perspective by comparing them to how much professional athletes can earn from single sports tournaments, with the top Dota 2 and League of Legends payouts mixed into the results. All of the following are numbers from 2018 tournaments:
- World Series (Baseball) $66 million
- US Open (Tennis) $53 million
- FedEx Cup (Golf) $35 million
- Dubai World Cup Night (Horse Racing) $27.25 million
- Dota 2 The International (eSport) $25.5 million
- US Open (Golf) $12 million
- The Masters (Golf) $11 million
- Super Bowl (Football) $9.2 million
- Stanley Cup (Hockey) $7 million
- League of Legends World Finals (esport) $6.45 million
A decade ago, esports was only a full-time career choice for a small handful of top gamers in niche markets around the globe. These days it’s still one in a million that makes it, but with so many millions playing, we now have thousands of professional full-time esports athletes sharing their livestreams all year while they practice for their big days. It’s such a thrill to be able to not just watch the pro games on a screen, but also jump into the game and control the cameras yourself, like you’re actually in the game jumping onto the playing field!
Total 2018 Esports Prize Pools by Game
Let’s now look at the bigger picture. How much total money was being paid out from esports across all tournaments from the ten top games last year.
- Dota 2 ($41.26 million)
- Counter-Strike: Global Offensive ($22.74 million)
- Fortnite ($19.96 million)
- League of Legends ($14.12 million)
- PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) ($6.73 million)
- Overwatch ($6.7 million)
- Heroes of the Storm ($6.52 million)
- Hearthstone ($4.95 million)
- StarCraft II ($4.5 million)
- Call of Duty: WWII ($4.17 million)
Plenty of new games that have blown up and gone mainstream, as well as many old games that refuse to exit and be retired from the esports scene.
Total Esports Prize Pools Over All Years by Game
Lastly, the big kahuna. The whole picture. Here’s how much money has been awarded to gamers from the top ten esports across all years combined.
- Dota 2 ($178.07 million, paid to 2929 players, over 1088 tournaments)
- Counter-Strike: Global Offensive ($74.65 million, paid to 11536 players, over 4023 tournaments)
- League of Legends ($66.23 million, paid to 6242 players, over 2247 tournaments)
- StarCraft II ($30.11 million, paid to 1901 players, over 5324 tournaments)
- Fortnite ($26.61 million, paid to 2320 players, over 291 tournaments)
- Heroes of the Storm ($17.92 million, paid to 1178 players, over 446 tournaments)
- Hearthstone ($16.90 million, paid to 2132 players, over 828 tournaments)
- Overwatch ($13.66 million, paid to 3017 players, over 645 tournaments)
- Counter-Strike ($13.24 million, paid to 3938 players, over 943 tournaments)
- PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds ($10.52 million, paid to 1580 players, over 131 tournaments)
Please note that Fortnite is going all out next year; Epic Games has promised to put up a whopping $100 million in prizes across all of their 2019 tournaments! Wow, what a time to be alive! In a few more years I’m sure we’ll start to see pro gamer tournaments televised regularly in stores and restaurants.
Game Programs to Consider