In recent years, the significance of multi-million dollar prize pools in esports events has been a symbol of the industry's legitimacy. However, as the esports industry matures, prize pools are no longer the sole indicator of success, given the diverse revenue streams and financing options available to teams. Nevertheless, the size of a prize pool still serves as an initial gauge of a tournament's scale in 2023.
The esports landscape in 2023 witnessed a trend towards more conservative spending, leading to moderate increases in prize pools for various tournaments. Notably, the Gamers8 festival and the VALORANT Champions Tour (VCT) Champions set new records for prize pools.
Discussing the top esports events of 2023 by prize pools, Esports Insider delves into key tournaments across various games.
The VALORANT Champions 2023 concluded the VCT season with a substantial prize pool of $2.25 million, representing a significant increase from the previous year. The inclusion of the Champions Bundle, raising over $20 million for the teams, made the VCT Champions one of the most financially lucrative events of 2023.
The Call of Duty League (CDL) 2023 Playoffs featured a prize pool of $2.38 million, slightly lower than 2022 but still impressive. The CDL faced uncertainties due to Activision Blizzard's acquisition process and the shutdown of the Overwatch League, positioning it as the flagship esports series for the company.
Surprisingly, the Peacekeeper Elite League Spring 2023 in PUBG Mobile emerged with one of the highest prize pools, totaling $2.46 million. The league showcased China's dominance in esports, with the winner, Tianba, earning a substantial $754,000.
Following closely, the Honor of Kings King Pro League for Honor of Kings, a mobile game dominating China, had impressive prize pools of $2.59 million and $2.75 million for the Summer and Spring seasons, respectively.
Rainbow Six: Siege's Six Invitational 2023 boasted a $3 million prize pool, making it the FPS game with the highest esports prize pool in 2023. In comparison, Counter-Strike tournaments had lower prize pools, with the BLAST.tv Paris Major 2023 leading at $1.25 million.
The International 2023, known for its record-breaking prize pools, experienced a significant reduction to $3.3 million. Despite the decrease, it remains a prestigious tournament in Dota 2.
Fortnite made a triumphant return with the FNCS Global Championship 2023, featuring a $4 million prize pool and becoming the most-watched Fortnite event in four years.
The Honor of Kings International Championship 2023, combining Arena of Valor and Honor of Kings, reached a $10 million prize pool, maintaining its standing as one of the highest in the industry.
The Riyadh Masters 2023 Dota 2 tournament at the Gamers8 Festival in Saudi Arabia set a new standard with a $15 million prize pool, making it the largest in Dota 2 history apart from The International.
In summary, while the focus on prize pools has evolved, these tournaments in 2023 continue to showcase the financial prowess and significance of esports on a global scale.