Team Spirit Wins Dota 2's The International, Claiming $18 Million Prize

The biggest prize pool in gaming history was up for grabs on Sunday.

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Dota 2's The International tournament wrapped up on Sunday, with Team Spirit winning the event and claiming its share of the $40 million prize pool--the biggest ever in esports history. Team Spirit's first-place prize was $18.2 million

The International took place at the National Arena in Bucharest, Romania. Valve had planned to allow fans, but it was ultimately unable to due to COVID concerns.

The massive prize pool for The International was funded by Valve along with a community effort through sales of the Compendium and Battlepass. Team Spirit, based in Moscow, is the first eastern European team to win The International since Natus Vincere won the inaugural The International in 2011, according to GamesBeat.

The $40 million prize pool for The International is not only the biggest-ever for a competitive gaming event, but also ranks highly compared to what might be considered traditional sports. For example, this weekend's CJ Cup PGA Tour event has a $9.75 million prize pool, with $1.755 million going to the winner. It's not a perfect comparison, as golf events feature a single winner, while Dota 2's prize money is split between five players (in both cases, there are likely many other fees as well).

Valve canceled fan attendance for The International due to concerns about COVID.

"We wanted nothing more than to welcome fans live to the event, but we can no longer do so in a way that allows us to prioritize the health and well-being of both audience members and participants," the company said. Everyone who bought a ticket received a refund automatically.

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