The largest esports prize pools in 2020

This was a huge year in terms of prizes, even with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Image via Riot Games

COVID-19 obviously hit esports events hard with many tournaments being canceled or moved to an online format. Several prize pools, however, were still large considering the global pandemic that the world is dealing with.

Many years ago, the prize pools in esports were much smaller. Victors enjoyed compensation prizes in the form of a mousepad, keyboard, or headset. With time, however, the prize pools kept growing while various scenes started to become established.

Now, there are plenty of million-dollar tournaments happening all over the world in various games of completely different genres. Winning these tournaments has become the ultimate goal for players all over the world.

Here are the top five esports prize pools from events that took place in 2020.

5) League of Legends World Championship 2020 – $2.34 million

The 2020 League of Legends World Championship had a $2.34 million prize pool with the first-place team receiving 25-percent ($0.585 million). The world title this year went to the Korean first seed, DAMWON Gaming, who won the event at the end of October. The event was held offline in a venue in Shanghai with teams spending two weeks in quarantine before the tournament started.

4) Peacekeeper Elite League 2020 season three – $2.62 million

Season three of the 2020 Peacekeeper Elite (Chinese rebranded version of PUBG Mobile) League had a $2.62 million prize pool. The first-place team, Four Angry Men, received around 20-percent ($0.444 million) of the pot. The event was held offline in a venue in Shanghai this fall.

3) Rainbow Six Invitational 2020 – $3 million

The annual Rainbow Six professional tournament held by Ubisoft had a prize pool of exactly $3 million this year. Featuring the top 16 teams from around the world, the prize pool was split between the top-four squads with the victor receiving 33.3 percent ($1 million). The tournament was won by the U.S.-based team, Spacestation Gaming, in February. The event was held offline in a venue in Montreal.

2) Overwatch League 2020 Grand Finals – $3.05 million

The 2020 Overwatch League Grand Finals, which was held in October and featured the top-four teams in the league, had a $3.05 million prize pool. The San Francisco Shock won their second-straight championship to earn $1.5 million from the prize pool. All of the teams competing in the Grand Finals traveled to South Korea, but the event was still technically played online.

1) Call of Duty League Championship 2020 – $4.6 million

The annual Call of Duty World Championship had a $4.6 million prize pool spread among 10 of the league’s 12 franchises. The Dallas Empire won CoD Champs 2020. Their first-place finish earned them $1.5 million, or 32.61 percent of the total prize pool. This event, much like most of the Call of Duty League’s inaugural season, was held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Honorable mention: The International 10 – $40 million

One of the biggest tournaments in esports each year, Dota 2’s The International, wasn’t held in 2020 due to the coronavirus. TI is usually the culmination of Dota 2’s competitive year. The crowdfunded prize pool reaches a large number on a yearly basis, breaking record after record.

The prize pool for the tournament that was originally scheduled to be held in August this year reached over $40 million. Every player can contribute to the prize pool by purchasing The Compendium, an in-game battle pass. The prize pool for TI easily overshadows other esports tournaments each year. But TI10 has yet to be played.