2021 saw a significant drop in esports live crowds compared to previous years, but big prize pools were still up for grabs. Arenas were still empty for the bigger part of the year, as top esports players went head-to-head against each other for a share of the millions of dollars put on the line across various tournaments. Here are the highest-grossing esports prize pools in 2021.
The International 10 (Dota 2) – $40.02 million
Dota 2 is among the biggest esports franchises that punters at Betway can wager on. This esports franchise topped 2021 with its $40 million prize pool at The International for the second straight year, after hitting $34.3 million in 2019.
The International 10 was originally scheduled for 18th to 23rd August 2020 in Stockholm’s Avicii Arena, but Valve delayed the event to host it from 5th to 15th August 2021. However, Valve had to change the venue due to hosting issues and the tournament was further delayed to take place at Romania’s Arena Nationala from 7th to 17th October.
PUBG Global Invitational.S – $7.1 million
Like Dota 2’s TI, PUBG’s Global Invitational.S was postponed, making a comeback in a record-breaking style in 2021. The tournament featured another great esports title at Betway online betting, with its prize pool surpassing the $7 million mark. This growth in the prize pool was because the PUBG Corporation put 30% of the tournament’s item revenue on the prize pool.
PUBG Mobile Pro League – $14 million
Popularly known as the PMPL, PUBG Mobile Pro League is an annual mobile esports tournament that takes place across five regions. That includes South Asia, South East Asia, Europe, the Americas, and Middle East & Africa.
In 2021, the PMPL recorded a major prize pool of over $14 million, making it the highest amount in the history of mobile esports. 40 teams qualified for this mobile tournament, with some of the top teams including Team Secret, Genesis Dogma, Bigetron RA, and others.
The Overwatch League Playoff – $3.2 million
The 2021 Overwatch League Playoffs were originally scheduled to take place at Arlington’s Esports Stadium in Texas. However, organizers had to change the plans and teams had to travel to Hawaii and compete against Eastern squads.
Despite the less-than-ideal situation, the Overwatch League Playoffs tournament had a hefty prize pool of $3.2 million. That was the second-largest prize pool in Overwatch League, but it fell a few hundred dollars from 2019’s record.
The Six Invitational – $3 million
The 2021 iteration of The Six Invitational is effectively seen as the global championship for the franchise Rainbow Six Siege, which saw great dominance from Brazil. Brazilian teams claimed the first, second, and third spots, taking home the major part of its $3 million prize pool.
The Six Invitations took a lesson from Dota 2’s The International, selling the Road to the tournament Battle Pass and 30% of those sales went to the prize pool. This prize pool could have gone higher, but Ubisoft set a $3 million cap and the exceeding amount was distributed to support the franchise’s esports scene.