Esports – The Biggest Prize Pools Of The Year
Gamers now have the ability to become multimillionaires overnight thanks to the sharp increase in prize pools at the world’s leading esports tournaments. Interest in the competitive gaming scene is at an all-time high, sponsorship deals are soaring, cryptocurrency has opened up a whole new world of investment and tournament organisers are able to offer huge prize pools. These are the top five so far this year:
The International 2019
Prize money for the world’s most prestigious Dota 2 tournament is raised via a compendium model introduced by developer Valve back in 2013. Prize pools have steadily increased over the past six years and it jumped from $25.5 million in 2018 all the way up to $34.3 million this year. That makes The International 2019 the most lucrative esports event of all time and it significantly bolstered the bank balances of a number of leading gamers.
The grand final pitted 2018 champion Team OG up against 2017 winner Team Liquid in Shanghai on Sunday, August 25. Fans inside the stadium were treated to a thrilling best-of-five contest and millions more fans around the world streamed the action live. Liquid clinched the opening game, but then OG – the favourite in the esports betting – rattled off three consecutive victories to seize the title for the second year in a row.
N0tail, JerAx, ana, Ceb and Topson became the first team in history to win The International twice, and it made them the five highest earning esports stars of all time, as they shared a first prize of more than $15 million. Liquid captain KuroKy was previously in first place, but he now slips down to sixth. The OG players each took home $3.1 million, which is more than the winner of Wimbledon, The Masters and Indy 500 this year.
Fortnite World Cup
Fortnite developer Epic Games knows that cracking the esports scene holds the key to enjoying long-term success in the capricious gaming sector. It hopes to see Fortnite rival the likes of League of Legends and Dota 2 in the longevity stakes, so it pumped a cool $100 million into prize pools at Fortnite tournaments this year. It peaked at last month’s Fortnite World Cup in New York City, which saw $30 million shared between the competitors.
A 16-year-old from Pennsylvania won the solo tournament and walked off with the top prize of $3 million. Bugha was on fire throughout the tournament, winning the first game and consistently placing highly from there on it to maintain a healthy lead over his rivals. He impressed with his build speed, aggression and bold strategy, and deservedly won the event. Runner-up psalm, third placed EpikWhale and fourth placed Kreo all earned more than $1 million.
European duo Aquav2 and Nyhrox won the duo event and shared the top prize of $3 million between them, while second placed Rojo and Wolfiez – a 15-year-old boy from Essex in England – shared $2.25 million. The event generated a great deal of publicity around the world and it has surely inspired many more teenagers to dedicate themselves to intense Fortnite sessions on a daily basis in order to earn life-changing sums of their own in future.
Honor of Kings World Champion Cup 2019
The world’s best Arena of Valor players converged upon Shenzen, China, to battle for glory in the Honor of Kings World Champion Cup this summer. The prize money stood at $2.16 million, making it the third most lucrative esports event of the year so far. Chinese team eStar Pro took home the $1.9 million top prize, while runner-up Rogue Warriors received a comparatively paltry $72,000.
Arena of Valor was initially released for smartphones in Taiwan in late 2016 and it was rolled out into other markets the following year. Tencent, which owns League of Legends developer Riot Games, asked Riot to adapt LoL as a mobile title, but Riot said the gameplay could not be replicated on a smartphone. Tencent decided to create its own game and Arena of Valor was born.
It has shot up in popularity over the past year and it has spawned a thriving competitive scene. There have been just 43 tournaments, but they have already given out $11.4 million. The King Pro League Fall 2018 carried $1.74 million in prize money, King Pro League Spring 2019 reached $1.3 million and last year’s Honor of Kings World Champion Cup had $1 million up for grabs.
Call of Duty World League Championship
Los Angeles hosted the most important Call of Duty event of the year earlier this month. There was $2 million on offer and eUnited took the top prize of $800,000 after beating 100Thieves in the final. 100T shot to prominence last year when rapper Drake and entertainment mogul Scooter Braun invested in the franchise. They have since enjoyed plenty of success, but they were no match for aBeZuy, Arcitys, Clayster, Prestinni and Simp in the CWL Championship Grand Final.
CS:GO has established itself as the leading first-person shooter in the esports arena, but Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 has emerged as a credible rival, and the 16 leading gamers have earned six-figure prize winnings over the past year. A total of $6 million will be given out for the 2019 season, and fans can still look forward to further big events in the year ahead.
Rainbow Six Siege is another title that is rapidly growing in stature within the world of esports. The tactical shooter game received a worldwide launch in December 2015 and it was met with glowing reviews. A nascent competitive scene emerged in 2017 and prize pools have been climbing steadily north since then. It peaked at this year’s Six Invitational, held in Montreal back in February 2019.
European powerhouse G2 Esports went on a tear at the tournament and ended up vanquishing Team Empire in the grand final. That saw them seize the $800,000 top prize and cement their status as the greatest team in the game’s history. G2 is a cut above the competition right now and it could go on to enjoy a long period of dominance over this increasingly popular game.