Dota2’s premier event, “The International,” which was delayed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is set to offer a record-breaking $40 million prize pool. With this, TI10 will claim the title of the biggest prize pool in eSports history.

Dota2 Community Contributes More Than $38.4 Million for TI10 Prize Pool

Unlike most other eSports tournaments, The International’s prize pool is not provided by the organizers and Dota2 developer (Valve) in its entirety. In fact, Valve offers only $1.6 million and leaves the community to fund the remainder of TI’s prize pool with in-game purchases of Battle Passes.

As it was the case in all previous iterations of TI, its prize pool in most part consists of money received from crowdfunding. The purchase of a Battle Pass offers Dota2 players heaps of in-game rewards, including unique cosmetic items, especially in the form of hero skins.

This year’s Battle Pass has been billed as the biggest to date. It featured not one but three separate “Arcanas” (in-game skins) for Wraith King, Queen of Pain, and Windranger as three of the most popular heroes in Dota2, so it should not come off as a surprise to see TI10 Battle Pass sales go through the roof.

Battle Passes could be purchased in three separate tiers (Level 1, Level 50, and Level 100 bundle), each with added rewards. The first tier was sold on Dota2’s in-game market for $9.99, Tier 2 for $29.35, and Tier 3 for $44.99.

Out of all the Battle Pass purchases, Valve takes its cut (75%) and donates the rest to the TI prize pool. While the 25% cut seems relatively low, the in-game purchases have historically exceeded the expectations – and this year is no different.

According to TI prize pool tracker (dota2.prizetrac.kr), the community has contributed $38,418,195 to the TI10 prize pool. This equates to approximately $153,672,780 spent on Battle Passes, making the TI10 Battle Pass by far the most successful to date.

Postponement of TI10 Indirectly Helped Sale of Battle Passes

Despite the postponement of TI10 to 2021, Valve decided to release the Battle Pass regardless, which was something of a surprise. Since the Battle Pass usually ends in the immediate aftermath of TI, Valve’s decision sparked the debate of whether this year’s Battle Pass could end up being available for significantly longer; however, that was not the case – at least not at the extent expected.

The TI10 Battle Pass was released on May 25, 2020, and was initially planned to run until September 12, but it ended up getting two extensions. The first one was due to issues with the in-game coordinator, which resulted in players not being able to queue for games, and eventually led to a one-week extension (to September 19).

With the end of Battle Pass drawing near, many fans started to complain the Battle Pass was not out long enough for them to grab all the rewards, ushering in the second and final extension, which pushed the end date to Friday, October 9. Even if TI10 Battle Pass had ended on day 110 – like TI9 Battle Pass – it would still have hit $36.7 million, but it instead added $3.3 million to the prize pool in only 36 days.

TI10 Biggest Prize Pool in eSports History

Initially, TI10 was scheduled to take place in Stockholm, Sweden, from August 18-23. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic spoiled the plans, which led Valve to cancel the event and move it to 2021.

As of today, it’s still unknown when TI10 will take place, since Valve refrained from setting a permanent date before the pandemic is contained, at least to the degree that would allow teams from all over the globe to travel to the same venue.

Nevertheless, TI10 is set to become the best-paid esports event to date by taking the no.1 spot in the all-time leaderboard from TI9, effectively solidifying Dota2 as the best-paid eSports title in history. The current top-10 best-paid eSports events are as follows:

The International 2019 (Dota2) – $34,330,069
The International 2018 (Dota2) – $25,532,177
The International 2017 (Dota2) – $24,687,919
The International 2016 (Dota2) – $20,770,460
The International 2015 (Dota2) – $18,429,613
Fortnite World Cup Finals 2019 – Solo (Fortnite) – $15,287,500
Fortnite World Cup Finals 2019 – Duo (Fortnite) – $15,100,000
The International 2014 (Dota2) – $10,931,103
LoL 2018 World Championship (LoL) – $6,450,000

The TI champions receive approximately 44% of the total prize pool, effectively meaning the TI10 winners can expect to take home roughly $18 million. Meanwhile, the runners-up can expect to secure over $5 million in consolation prize.