Dota 2 is once again making eSports history with its new prize pool for this year’s tournament. Coming it at an insane $20 million, it offers $100,000 even to last place! The prize pool more money than most sports athletes get!

The International 2016 Main Event kicked off today for the upper bracket quarterfinals and will last until Saturday, Aug. 13. 18 teams from around the world will compete to win the biggest prize pool in eSports history.

Image courtesy of Valve/Dota 2
Image courtesy of Valve/Dota 2

All the previous Dota 2 champions are coming, except for Invictus Gaming, winners of TI2. Evil Geniuses is once more taking part with the same old lineup.

Since this year’s prize pool surpassed last year’s $18M one, all Battle Pass owners will receive three ‘Trust of the Benefactor’ rewards. The news is that the prize pool will also get a bit higher each year!

No doubt the ever increasing prize pools of The International will attract more and more people to eSports. It’s things like this combined with eSports’ mainstream sponsors that get the word out. Before we know it we’ll get eSports played at the Olympics or at local stadiums! It’s fairly safe to say that professional video games are growing at a rate that would surpass any traditional sport.

Statistics show that while NFL is still the most popular spectator sport in the US, League of Legends and Dota 2 have surpassed the viewer counts of the NBA Finals, World Series, or BCS National Championship game. In January of 2014,  League of Legends creator Riot Games announced that the game has 67 million monthly users worldwide. “For comparison, an estimated 24 million play basketball in the United States, and less than 9 million people play football.”

To really put things into perspective, Valve announced that over 20 million unique viewers streamed The 2014 International Dota 2 Championships and at peak, “concurrent viewers were over 2 million.” To put this in perspective, the 2014 Super Bowl “had 115.5 million viewers, though only a hair over 500,000 streamed the event online.