Competitive gaming became so popular so fast that it was no longer enough for gamers to just compete in local online contests. The 435.7 million fans who viewed esports content in 2020 were clear proof that this then-novel industry needed a new, more mainstream stage. And so amidst the boom experienced by the gaming industry in the last decade, game developers established esports tournaments. These events saw professional gamers go head to head and compete over prize pools. The earliest bounties were nothing to write home about. But as the esports industry has grown, so has the popularity of gaming tournaments, the number of interested sponsors, and the size of the pots. Here is a closer look at the top esports competitions of today, ranked by prize pool.

The Land of Heroes — $45 million


Securing a Land of Heroes title holds the same level of prestige as claiming one of the five most prestegious WSOP bracelets. Both tournaments stand tall as paramount achievements, attracting the most exceptional poker players and vying for the ultimate title in their respective realms. With a $10,000 buy-in, the WSOP main event tests poker players’ abilities to the limit, while the Land of Heroes competition pushes its participants to showcase extraordinary feats, mirroring the intense spirit of the poker championship. Whether at the poker table or on the grand battlefield, these events celebrate the epitome of skill, strategy, and determination, crowning true champions.

Early this year, Gamers8 announced the 2024 edition of this much-anticipated esports tournament. The biggest news out of the announcement was that the prize pool had been bumped to $45 million – the largest esports prize pool to date and three times last year’s prize.

The Land of Heroes features five titles – at least it did last year – that include Rocket League, Dota 2, Fortnite, Rainbow Six Siege, Tekken, and PUGB Mobile. In addition to a bigger pool size, the 2024 event features more games and a longer list of players.

The International – $25 to $30 Million

Not very far below The Land of Heroes is the annual Dota 2 tournament, The International. Dota, which was inspired to some extent by World of Warcraft III, is widely considered the pioneer of the MOBA genre and one of the most popular esports games. Dota 2 was developed by Valve following the 2003 mod and its first competition was held in 2011. Back then, the pool was $1.6 million – sizable, but nowhere near what it is today. In 2021, The International recorded its highest prize pool at $40 million. The average reward is between $25 million and $30 million

Fortnite World Cup Finals – $15 Million


Developed by People Can Fly and Epic Games, Fortnite skyrocketed to fame almost overnight. But outside the movie premieres and music concerts, much of the hype behind the battle royale title is due to the Fortnite esports competitions. Fortnite tournaments are held independently across the year for different divisions, with separate pools for duo and solo players. But the crowning event, the Fortnite World Cup Finals, boasts one of the biggest rewards in the industry. In 2019, the winning solo player took home $15.3 million – the largest esports prize for a single player.

Honor of Kings World Champion Cup – $7 Million

Riot has become synonymous with LoL but they are also the brains behind the 2016 release Arena of Valor. Because of its similarities to League of Legends, especially in terms of characters and lore, AoV enjoys a wide fan base. Its popularity is bolstered by its gameplay, which is considered more accessible, and its faster pace. Unlike LoL, however, AoV did not have to wait years to hold its first tournament. The annual competition has a prize pool of about $7 million, and was at $7.7 million in 2021.

Call of Duty League Championship – $4.6 Million


Activision’s Call of Duty is widely touted as the most popular FPS title. First released in 2003, the WWII-inspired game has continually replaced the war and military theme for exciting storylines like aliens, zombies, sci-fi battlefields, and even the Cold War. The game held its first competition in 2008 with a $15,000 prize pool. Thanks to an increased fan base – over 250 million players for Modern Warfare – the tournament title is now worth $4.6 million.

Overwatch League – $4.2 Million

Overwatch held down the fort from 2016 until the recent release of its sequel, Overwatch 2. The first game was pay-to-play, which shut out many interested players. Fortunately, the developers had the good sense to make this latest release free-to-play. The trailer was played during the 2022 Overwatch League event, which has a $4.21 million prize pool. In 2017, when the league debuted, the pool was $72,000.

Six Invitational – $3 Million


Another popular FPS title, Rainbow Six Siege is known for its precise mechanics and gameplay. The game has grown steadily since 2015 and is now played by between 130,000 to 150,000 gamers every day. Thanks to the emphasis placed on team play in Six Siege, it is a prime game for competition. The developers have also been very diligent about improving weapons, maps, and gameplay. The Six Invitational debuted in 2017. Organized by Ubisoft and ESL, it featured a $3 million prize pool.

Halo World Championship – $2.5 Million

Combining smooth graphics and involved gameplay with military science fiction and lore, the Halo franchise has established itself as a landmark FPS title. The wildly successful games were launched in the early 200s and quickly became popular among professional gamers. One year after the debut, the Associates of Gaming Professionals organized and held the first Halo competition. The pot was a measly $4,420 – a number that quickly grew to $2.5 million by 2016.

LoL World Championship — $2.25 million to $3 million


Last but certainly not least is the LoL World Championship. Also referred to as Worlds, this annual competition brings together tip League of Legends players. It is organized by Riot Games and was successfully launched in 2011 following the success of the game – LoL currently has 117 million active players and 150 million registered gamers. In 2011, the competition offered a $100,000 prize pool. This amount reached an all-time high in 2019 with the $2.3 million pot. This year’s competition is expected to feature a pool worth between $2.25 million and $3 million.

Wrapping Up: The Importance of Prize Pools

Prize pools like this have been a major contributor to the success and growth enjoyed by esports. In addition to attracting teams, players, and audiences, they provide event sponsors with a new advertising channel. This sponsorship route has proven so lucrative that many players have received endorsement deals from major brands and an entire secondary economy has thrived alongside esports competitions. On their own, the prize pools are also big enough that many professional gamers not only make a living, but have garnered significant wealth from competitive gaming. The overall effect is that these rewards attract more investments, sponsorships, and participation, helping esports become more mainstream.