Every year Valve hosts a major Dota 2 competition called The International (TI) that sees some of the best professionals gather to compete for the title of best gamers in the world.

The competition has been running for six years and each year the prize pool climbs to staggering heights. Last year’s competition had a prize pool of around $18.4 million (that’s about R286 million at today’s exchange rate) and the way it is collected is rather interesting.

The TI5 prize pool (yellow) compared to the TI4 prize pool (purple)
The TI5 prize pool (yellow) compared to the TI4 prize pool (purple). Via Dota 2 Prize Pool Tracker.

We’ll get to that in a second, but this year’s prize pool is already sitting at $3.3 million (R51 million) from less than a day’s sale. With this year’s tournament scheduled for August, it could be well on track to go beyond the $18 million. But anything could happen…

Which brings us to the point of how the prize pool is determined.

You see, Valve asks the community to contribute to the prize pool by purchasing a Battle Pass, a virtual ticket which gives buyers the chance to earn unique cosmetic items in-game and watch the competition within the Dota 2 client among other perks.

The Battle Pass (Level 1) costs R144 but you can fork over R390 for a level 50 Battle Pass which opens up a host of other cosmetic items and rewards. Players can also purchase extra levels which increases their Level 1 Battle Pass: five levels for R36, 11 levels for R72 and 24 levels for R144.

The International 6 Battle Pass
The International 6 Battle Pass

The crux of all of this is that Valve takes 25% of these funds and adds it to the prize pool, while it takes 75% for itself.

At the moment the prize pool is sitting at $2.7 million (R42 million) of whicht $1.6 million Valve itself threw into the pot. Taking that into account, community purchases only total around $1.1 million.

The current prize pool after less than 24 hours online.
The current prize pool after less than 24 hours online. Image via Dota 2 Prize Pool Tracker.

To dive further down into the numbers, actually $4.4 million worth of Battle Passes have been sold so far (remember only 25% goes towards the prize pool), so if Valve takes 75% for itself as “profit”, it has made a cool $3 341 952 (R51 million), over twice its initial investment.

Of course, a portion of that money is used to host the physical event which is quite a horse and pony show.

Don’t believe me, take a look at the opening ceremony at last year’s event.

This year’s annual TI competition is being held in Seattle’s KeyArena from 8th to 13th August, so if the Dota 2 community keeps adding to that prize pool at the current rate, we could see a prize pool close to what we saw last year – if not more.

[Source – Dota 2 Prize Pool Tracker] [Image – Dota2]