2016 was another record year for eSports. As prize pools for tournaments keep growing by the millions, so do the fortunes earned by the teams and organizations involved. This year saw new games break into the scene such as Overwatch. Valve again had the biggest prize pool in eSports history for the Dota 2 tournament “The International” – a whopping $20,770,460. Almost all of it, $19,170,460 to be exact, was added by the community through crowdfunding.
As expected with humongous prize pools, Dota 2 teams lead the charts for the Top 10 eSports by the end of 2016, based on their earnings. The list below shows the total prize pool money earned by the top 10 teams or organizations by the end of 2016.
- Counter Logic Gaming – $1,605,750 on 95 Tournaments
Most of CLG’s money comes from Halo. After placing 1st in multiple tournaments, including the Halo World Championship of 2016, the team earned $1,107,000 from 6 Tournaments.
Their CS:GO team earned a total of $160,500 this year, a little more than what they won during 2015 ($126,989).
- Team EnVyUs – $1,812,573 in 81 Tournaments
The American organization had an excellent year with the Call of Duty franchise, earning a total of $921,330 from 11 tournaments. This is even more impressive considering that by the end of 2015, the team only earned 1/36th of that amount – just $25,052 in prize money.
Their CS:GO team had a somewhat difficult year. By the end of 2015, EnVy was placing first in several tournaments and earned $512,511. But this year their all-French roster won $454,547. While the difference in earnings doesn’t seem too big, the reason they even brought home as much as they did is mainly due to the increase in prize pool money for CS:GO tournaments, not that they won more tournaments. The team only placed first three times, and their performance in the Majors was not ideal.
- MVP – $2,537,357 in 128 Tournaments
The organization known for being the “Korean Overlords” on the Dota 2 scene (being the only Korean organization involved in this game), have different teams wearing their logo such as MVP-Phoenix and MVP HOT6 for Dota 2 (along with multiple LoL and HOTS teams).
Their Dota 2 squad contributed to most of the organization’s prize pool money earned in 2016. MVP Phoenix placed 5-6th in the Manila Major and The International 2016, earning more than $1.1 million combined between those two tournaments. Their two Dota 2 teams combined earned more than $1.7 million, and their Heroes of the Storm teams won more than $500,000. The rest of the money came from their wins in League of Legends and StarCraft II.
- SK Telecom T1 – $2,737,898 in 31 Tournaments
SK Telecom is best known for their League of Legends squad. While StarCraft II has contributed to the organization’s prize pool earnings, it’s their LoL teams that bring the bread to the table.
Their League of Legends team won multiple tournaments, including the 2016 World Championship. In total, the LoL team won a total of $2,459,412.00 from nine Tournaments during 2016.
- Team OG – $2,915,144 in 14 Tournaments
Team OG is strictly a Dota 2 organization. The team won two Majors in 2016, along with several big Dota 2 tournaments.
The two Majors made up $2.1 million of their total earnings, and impressively the team has won three of the five Dota 2 majors that have ever been hosted: The Frankfurt Major in 2015, the Manila Major in 2016 and the Boston Major in 2016.
- Team Liquid – $2,997,661 in 298 Tournaments
Team Liquid is a worldwide professional eSports organization, with rosters competing in games such as Dota 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, League of Legends, StarCraft II, and many other well-known gaming titles.
Their Dota 2 team contributed $1,796,096, placing 2nd in two Majors and 7th-8th in The International 6. Their CS:GO team had a good year with a total of $447,133 from 24 tournaments, more than triple their 2015 earnings when the team only won $146,906.
Their fighting games scene contributed $251,423 from 14 Tournaments.
- Fnatic – $3,089,721 in 60 Tournaments
The eSports organization has players and teams competing in almost every gaming title that has a professional scene.
2016 was a slow year for their Counter-Strike team compared to 2015 when the team won a total of $862,913. This year only saw a winning a total of $682,331.60.
Their Dota 2 squad overall had a good year (if we ignore their recent performance), winning a total of $1,954,094. Close to $1.5 million of that was from ending 4th at The International 2016.
Their LoL roster won $35,000, then $40,0000 from SMITE, and $233,000 from HOTS.
- Evil Geniuses – $3,503,996 in 65 Tournaments
By the end of 2015, Evil Geniuses was the top organization, claiming The International 5, DAC 2015, and several other tournaments for a total of $8,952,675.
This year was slower for them than last year, but still impressive and lucrative – earning them the third place spot on this list. Their new Dota 2 Squad won a total of $3,293,813.
- Digital Chaos – $3,790,173 in 12 Tournaments
Digital Chaos was formed near the end of 2015 and started slow, but 2016 turned into their lucky year.
The team placed second in The International 2016 and this earned them a total of 3,427,126 in prize pool money. The team placed 3rd-4th in The Boston Major 2016, and closed their year with 3rd-4th place in the China Top 2016.
- Wings Gaming – $9,589,559 in 16 Tournaments
How can a team win it all, you might ask? The Chinese team was formed in 2014 after the end of The International 2014, but it wasn’t until 2016 that teams started to take them seriously.
They went on to win ESL One Manila 2016, followed by The Summit 5, and topped it off with a first place win at The International 2016.
Their Dota 2 team is one of the most feared teams on the scene, and their aggressive style of play and deep hero pool are topics of constant discussion by the Dota 2 fans and analysts.
Their win at The International 2016 granted them a total of $9,139,002 in prize pool money, and places their team as the #2 in lifetime history of eSports, with a total of $9,636,911 (Evil Geniuses that has earned a total of 15,352,198.29 since its inception).
There will be fewer Dota 2 majors during 2016, but with the constant growth of CS:GO and the new release of Overwatch, we’re excited to see which eSports teams and organizations win big in 2017.