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The International 2017 starts with $24 million prize pool

Dota 2 tournament prize money is 16% up over last year, fourth consecutive year of setting a new record for esports

The International Dota 2 Championships is now underway in Seattle, with teams competing for a record-setting $24 million in prize money.

Last year, The International prize pool reached $20.7 million, so this year's total represents a minimum 16% increase year-on-year. Although the tournament started yesterday, viewers can still purchase a Battle Pass to push the total higher, but previous years suggest it won't go much further than its current level of $24,014,551.

The International's first year, in 2011, had a prize-pool of $1 million, but that changed when Valve started to sell virtual items to boost the total. The last four years of The International, including this year, are the four largest prize-pools in esports history, and Dota 2 tournaments occupy nine of the top ten spots - per Esports Earnings.

League of Legends 2016 World Championship is the fifth largest, with just over $5 million up for grabs, but the amount of money available to players of Riot's game hasn't grown as quickly as Dota 2.

Earlier this year, Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok became the first professional LoL player to reach $1 million in career earnings. To put that in context, every member of the winning team at The International this year will come close to doubling that amount with a single tournament.

The International 2017 takes place this week at Seattle's Key Arena, finishing on August 12.

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