Today, more than 580 million people worldwide watch eSports events, an impressive figure which remains the number one reason for brands investing millions in the market. The surge of eSports advertising and sponsorships has been one of the biggest drivers behind an impressive tournament prize pool growth.
According to data presented by SafeBettingSites.com, top eSports games have paid more than $700 million in prize money over the last five years.
Dota 2 hit Over $217M in Five-Year Prize Money, Fortnite Follows with $151M
The eSports industry has come a long way since the first official video game competition in 1972, which awarded the grand prize of one year’s subscription to Rolling Stone magazine to the highest-scoring player of Spacewar. Some of the most incredible payouts have been made over the past few years.
Statista data show the cumulative prize money of Arena of Valor, Counter-Strike, Dota 2, Fortnite, League of Legends, Overwatch, PUBG, and PUBG Mobile, as the highest-paid eSports games amounted to $122.1 million in 2018. A year later, this figure swelled almost 60% to $194.1 million.
However, 2020 brought a major setback, with the total prize money of top eSports games falling to only $80.6 million that year. A year later, all major eSports tournaments returned to where they’d been before the pandemic, with the combined prize money rising to $161.8 million. Although this figure dropped to $143 million last year, the combined five-year tournament prize money of the eight games still hit a massive $701.6 million.
Statistics show that Dota 2 and Fortnite tournaments made more than half of that value. Dota 2 five-year prize money hit a massive $217.7 million, more than any other game in the eSports market. Fortnite ranked second with $151.8 in combined tournament prize pools between 2018 and 2022. Counter-Strike, Arena of Valor, and League of Legends followed, with $118.7 million, $79.4 million, and $61.6 million, respectively.
Total Prize Money Down by 12% in 2022, PUBG and Dota 2 saw the Biggest YoY Drop
Although the best esports players and teams earned hundreds of millions of dollars over the past five years, 2022 saw a significant decline in total prize money. Statista data showed the combined prize pools of the top eight eSports games hit $143 million last year, or 12% less than in 2021.
PUBG and Dota 2 saw the biggest year-over-year prize money drop of all top eSports games. Last year, the total value of all PUBG tournament prize pools amounted to $8.47 million, or 48% less than in 2021, when the game paid more than $16 million.
The International 2022 saw the lowest prize pool in six years of $18.9 million, down from $40 million a year before that. Statistics show the total Dota 2 prize money hit $32.9 million last year, or 31% less than in 2021. Counter-Strike saw a 23% annual prize money drop, almost the same as Fortnite.
On the other hand, Arena of Valor’s top players earned over $31.1 million last year, or 75% more than in 2021. PUBG tournament prize pool also increased by a massive 48% year-over-year and hit $8.5 million.