The International, known as the annual tournament for Valve’s famous MOBA game Dota 2, has recently set a new record for largest prize pool in competitive esports history.
It currently surpassed the $34.4 million mark, and there’s still time for the prize to grow.
While many players are awaiting for any news regarding the 10th edition of The International (TI), it remains unclear if the tournament will push through by the end of the year or by 2021 due to coronavirus concerns.
The International holds a current prize pool of $34,467,857, eclipsing the $34.3 million awarded to TI9 players for last year’s tournament.
Prize pool funds
The International’s prize pool is funded by sales of Dota 2 battle passes. A quarter of all the sales made go directly to the TI prize pool, and with many players buying battle passes— the prize will only get bigger.
Valve contributes $1.6 million to the total prize fund, but it’s the game’s active player base that builds most of the purse.
Dota 2 players can purchase the Dota 2 battle pass, which costs $9.99, or upgraded versions that cost $29.45 or $44.99 to further the community contribution for The International.
The contributions provide enormous paychecks for the winning Dota 2 teams, making their members some of the richest esports athletes in the world.
In 2019, OG took home the bacon, winning $15,620,181 and the famed Aegis of Champions by defeating Team Liquid 3-1 in the finals.
The champions took 45.5 percent of last year’s prize pool. Meanwhile, Team Liquid earned $4.46 million (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 prizes.
This year’s record-breaking prize pool is largely affected by COVID-19. The annual tournament is originally scheduled every August, but Valve had to postpone the events because of the pandemic.
When will the next TI take place?
Though the tournament was initially scheduled for August 18-23, Valve scrapped the dates due to the pandemic.
The official Dota 2 Twitter account confirmed that the recent increase in unpredictability of the coronavirus hinders Valve from announcing new dates for the tournament.
“In following how the pandemic has been developing globally, the recent increase in the unpredictability of COVID-19 means we can’t yet commit to new dates for TI10 and the DPC. We share your eagerness in returning to these events, and will announce updates as soon as we can.”
As a result, the prize money for teams that compete at TI10 will only increase from the delay.
From the Steam stats page, Dota 2 ranks as the platform’s second most popular game by player count. It garners about 300k to 500k current players daily as of late.
It’s likely that the next The International might not be played in 2020, but it would beg the question: what would Valve do with the current prize pot?
Either it would be rolled over for next year’s prize pot, or it would be donated to charity or humanitarian efforts.
Valve plans to make the current battle passes available to players until at least Sept. 19.