The International 2016 will, again, offer a record prize pool to its participants not only for the tournament, but across all esports events. The pool, whose funding is backed by the sale of virtual items leading into the Dota 2 world championship, is now more than $18.6 million.
The total purse of last year's tournament was $18,429,613, with the winners, Evil Geniuses, claiming $6 million of that. The International now has the top 3 highest prize pools in esports history. All of them have come since Valve began supplementing the original $1.6 million purse with proceeds from the sale of The Compendium and, this year, something called the Battle Pass.
The Compendium is a digital program for the tournament, still included with the Battle Pass. The Pass itself features a slew of virtual items, new challenge quest lines and additional cosmetic items available by leveling up the pass for more money.
Twenty-five percent of sales go to The International 2016's prize pool, with Valve contributing $1.6 million itself. This means somewhere around $68 million worth of virtual goods has been sold since May 16. Sales will continue through Aug. 13, meaning the tournament purse will continue to increase after today.
The International 2016 will be held in Seattle's Key Arena from Aug, 2-13. The 18-team field includes Evil Geniuses as well as 2015 third-place finishers LGD Gaming.