When Epic Games announced $30 million in prize money for this July’s Fortnite World Cup, it seemed set to be the largest ever for an esports event. That increasingly looks like it might no longer end up being the case, thanks to Valve’s Dota 2.
The International 2019, the biggest Dota 2 tournament of the year, will take place in August. Already, its prize pool looks set to break last year’s record, and possibly even outpace Fortnite’s. In addition to the $1.6 million invested by Valve, a quarter of all the money spent by players on the game’s battle pass also gets added to the tournament’s prize pool. Last year that amount capped out at $25,532,17. This year, more than a month out from the event, the prize pool has already broken $23 million.
While those impressive numbers are the result of players spending money on battle pass levels and associated treasures (that’s Dota 2’s version of loot boxes), it doesn’t mean that Valve plays a completely passive role. On June 26, Valve announced the Battle Level Bundle sale, offering $120 worth of treasures and battle pass levels for $30. Not surprisingly, the prize pool exploded following the announcement, growing by almost $4 million in the days since. It’s the largest prize pool in esports for so many years running, and the creator of Dota 2 and its fan base seem intent on retaining that title for their preferred esport.
As of today, 12 teams have locked in their spots for The International. Many still have work to do ahead of that event, including those competing in this weekend’s $1 million Epicenter Major in Moscow, Russia. There are several matches still to go in the tournament’s lower bracket, starting on Saturday at 5:00 a.m. ET with TNC Predator vs. PSG.LGD. On Sunday, Vici Gaming, currently ranked third in the world on points, will be awaiting whoever makes it through in the grand finals at 9:00 a.m. All of the matches will be streamed live on the Epicenter Twitch channel.
Back on this continent, some of the best fighting game players from around the world will be throwing down in Daytona Beach, Florida at CEO 2019. Featuring all of the big games, including Street Fighter V, Tekken 7, Dragon Ball FighterZ, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, the event is also famous for featuring tournaments in lots of other competitive series, including BlazBlue, Guilty Gear, and Dance Dance Revolution. You can find a full list of match times and streams on CEO Gaming’s website, with most of the action streaming on CEO’s Twitch channel.
Finally, Friday Fortnite has its third official tournament of the season going on right now. Featuring Ninja, Myth, and others, play began in the bracket at 4:00 p.m. ET with matches expected to continue well into the evening. You can watch the $20,000 tournament in its entirety on the UMG Events Twitch channel.