The 10th edition of The International (TI), the largest Dota 2 tournament of the year, will boast the largest prize pool in the history of esports, and there’s still time for the purse to grow.

The International 10 TI10
OG won The International 9 in 2019, becoming the first team to win back-to-back TI titles. (Image: China OUTSTR/Getty)

The International 10 set the record on Wednesday when the prize pool surpassed the $34,330,069 awarded to players at TI9 last year.

Community Contributions Lift TI10 to Record Purse

As of Thursday afternoon, the TI10 prize pool had grown to nearly $34.5 million. Developer Valve initially scheduled The International for Aug. 18-23, but that date was scrapped due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Valve has yet to announce a new date, and has said that TI10 might not happen until 2021.

That delay will only increase the money available for teams that compete at TI10. While Valve contributes $1.6 million to the prize fund, the game’s player base builds most of the purse.

Players purchase the Dota 2 battle pass, which costs $9.99, or upgraded versions that cost $29.45 or $44.99 in order to build the community contribution for The International. A quarter of all proceeds from battle passes go toward the prize pool.

Those contributions provide enormous paydays for the top Dota 2 teams, making their members some of the richest esports athletes in the world. Last year, OG took down The Invitiational, winning $15,620,181 – along with the Aegis of Champions – by defeating Team Liquid 3-1 in the final.

That amounts to 45.5 % of the prize pool. Team Liquid earned $4.46 million – or 13% – for their runner-up finish, while bronze medalist PSG.LGD ($3.09 million) and fourth-place finisher Team Secret ($2.06 million) also took home hefty paydays. Even the 17th and 18th-placed teams, who finished last in the group stage, received $85,825 for their efforts. Each of the top 16 teams banked a minimum of $514,951.

Dota 2 Prizes Dwarf Other Esports Awards

Valve plans to keep the current battle passes available to players until at least Sept. 19. That means that the community has nearly a month to continue building the prize pool, potentially shattering the previous record.

Few other esports come anywhere close to offering the prize money seen at The International. According to ESPN, The International has awarded the five largest prize pools in esports history, with each of the past five TI events topping the previous tournament to set a new record. The Fortnite World Cup Solos competition featured $15,287,500 in prize money to come in sixth on the list.

The first edition of The International Dota 2 Championships took place in Cologne in August 2011. At the time, Valve supplied the entirety of the $1.6 million prize pool, with Natus Vincere winning the $1 million top prize after winning the final 3-1 over EHOME.

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