The International 2018 is the eighth annual Dota 2 championship tournament. With a total prize pool currently over $24.8 million, The International has set the record for largest single tournament prize pool in esports history for the fifth consecutive year. The best-of-five grand finals features a prize pool is currently over $14.8 million , $10.9 million going to the first-place team and $3.9 million to the runner up.
>>Only $10M prize pools in esports history
Starting today, 16 teams face off in a tournament format over six days at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver. Based off the group stage results, teams will be placed in either the Upper Bracket or the Lower Bracket. Teams that lose in the Upper Bracket will then be placed within the Lower Bracket. If a team loses in the Lower Bracket, it is eliminated. The winner of each bracket will face off in the grand finals on Saturday, August 25.
The International has a long history of setting the bar for tournament prize pools in esports. The International 2018 will be the fifth esports tournament with a prize pool of at least $10 million, each of the other four tournaments were previous tournaments at The International (2014-2017). When comparing it to other esports events, The International 2018 has a bigger prize pool than the LoL 2017 World Championship ($4.9M), Overwatch League Season 1 ($3.0M), CWL Championship 2017 ($1.5M) and the WESG 2017 CS:GO tournament ($1.5M) combined.
The top esports tournament also compares to more conventional sporting events. The 2018 U.S. Open announced a record $53 million prize pool for the tennis tournament later this month. When broken down by event, both the Men's and Women's singles tournaments have a total prize pool of approximately $20 million. The singles champion and runner up will receive $3.8 million and $1.85 million respectively.
The recently finished 2018 PGA Championship offered a total prize pool of $11 million with nearly $2 million going to winner Brooks Koepka ($1.98M). Earlier this year, the 2018 Daytona 500 announced a record $19 million dollar prize pool with $1.5 million going to the first-place driver Austin Dillon.
Perhaps what is most impressive about The International 2018 prize pool is that nearly all of it is crowdfunded by the Dota 2 community. This is done through the purchase of a yearly in-game Battle Pass by every-day players that offers event-exclusive features and rewards. A quarter of each Battle Pass purchased goes directly into The International's prize pool. Of this year's $24.8 million prize pool, approximately $23.2 million were raised through Battle Pass sales.
Team Liquid, who received $10.8 million after winning The International 2017, have a chance to become the first team to win back-to-back championships. In fact, no team has ever won multiple championships since the event's conception in 2011. Evil Geniuses (2015 winner), Newbee (2014 winner) and Invictus Gaming (2012 winner) are all previous winners of the tournament and all have a chance to win The International 2018, though Evil Geniuses and Team Liquid are heavily favored at the moment.