The tournament uses a unique crowdfunding model to power its impressive prize pool. Sales of this year’s Compendium—an interactive program for the event that comes with cosmetic in-game items and other perks—have taken the prize pool from the initial $1.4 million to the record-breaking total. Perks include new in-game weather effects, an exclusive comic, new emoticons, and cursors.
Total sales of the Compendium likely eclipse $50 million, as 25 percent of the revenue from the sales go into the prize pool.
Last year’s International topped out at a relatively paltry $11 million. Of course, at the time this was the largest ever prize pool ever seen in esports by quite some margin, eclipsing Valve’s own previous record of $2.8 million for the 2013 edition. If the distribution works out the same as last year, each member of the winning team would take home around $1.38 million.
Chinese team Newbee won last year’s edition, defeating countrymen Vici Gaming.
This year’s event sold out in 10 minutes and will run Aug. 3 to 8 in Seattle.