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It has already been a very busy year for esports competition, and 2019 is only half done. So far this year, the top 10 esports games—ranked by highest total prize pool from all events, as tracked by Esports Earnings—show some key changes in the esports landscape.
For example, newcomer Magic: The Gathering Arena made the list, along with Ubisoft’s growing Rainbow Six Siege , which has already topped its total prize pool for all of 2018. Meanwhile, Blizzard’s officially abandoned Heroes of the Storm is nowhere in sight following $6.52M USD in prizing during 2018.
The year’s final ranking could look a lot different with well-funded events such as the Fortnite World Cup and Dota 2‘s The International 2019 on the horizon. However, six months in, these are the 10 games that have awarded the most money in 2019, accounting for just over $50M in combined prizing to date.
- FIFA 19
First Half 2019 Prize Pool: $1.65M
EA Sports has been expanding the esports reach of its annual soccer simulation with FIFA 19 , thanks to various regional leagues and the eChampions League. So far in 2019, $1.65M has been awarded, with the largest share of that—$280K—coming from the eChampions League Finals. FIFA Ultimate Team Champions Cup events have also contributed a significant amount of that total, with a pair of $200K tournaments in the mix.
- Magic: The Gathering Arena
First Half 2019 Prize Pool: $1.83M
Wizards of the Coast and parent company Hasbro have made a big push with Magic: The Gathering esports in 2019, with a $10M initiative to boost the competitive scene of the collectible card game between both its digital and paper versions. Amazingly, the vast majority of that $1.83M esports sum has come from just two events: March’s $1M Mythic Invitational, and June’s $750K Mythic Championship 2019.
Wizards has also hosted a pair of $500K paper Magic Mythic Championship tournaments so far this year, and while they are part of the same circuit as the digital Arena matches, we have not included that prizing in our total above.
First Half 2019 Prize Pool: $2.26M
Even with a well-funded challenge from Magic: The Gathering Arena, Blizzard’s long-running card game is still chugging along in 2019. Hearthstone‘s $2.26M total so far this year is anchored by April’s $1M 2019 World Championship. That’s the largest event so far this year, but other significant events include the $493K Masters Tour 2019 Las Vegas and $250K Hearthstone Championship Tour Winter Championship.
- Rainbow Six Siege
First Half 2019 Prize Pool: $2.64M
Ubisoft’s tactical shooter has already surpassed its entire 2018 prize pool of $1.93M. In fact, the Six Invitational 2019—Rainbow Six Siege‘s de facto world championship—alone surpassed last year’s tally with $2M. That came in large part due to additional revenue generated by in-game purchases, which also benefits teams in the Rainbow Six Pro League. Will Rainbow Six Siege still sit in the Top 10 once the full year is over? It’s off to a good start after six months.
- PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS
First Half 2019 Prize Pool: $2.74M
PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS (PUBG) finished fifth last year with $7.58M in prizing, so 2019’s half-year tally appears to be lagging behind at a glance. Still, there’s quite a bit more money coming ahead for the battle royale shooter, most notably with November’s $2M Global Championship. The $2.74M awarded to date is led by January’s $500K PUBG Asia Invitational 2019 and April’s $400K FACEIT Global Summit: PUBG Classic.
Related Article: The 10 Biggest Esports of 2018 by Total Prize Pool
First Half 2019 Prize Pool: $3.35M
Overwatch League Season 2 is in full swing right now, but surprisingly, the majority of the game’s 2019 prizing to date comes from the second-tier Overwatch Contenders league. Season 3 of Overwatch Contenders 2018—which completed in January 2019—provided nearly $930K of the total, while Season 1 of Contenders 2019 added another $1.33M to the tally. The Overwatch League itself, meanwhile, has awarded $1M in prizing so far in 2019.
- League of Legends
First Half 2019 Prize Pool: $3.9M
It has been a busy first half of the year for League of Legends (LoL), with 68 total tournaments recorded by Esports Earnings to date. The Mid-Season Invitational 2019 provided the largest single-tournament prizing at $1M, with the spring split for various leagues collectively adding another big chunk: $520K for the LoL Pro League (LPL) in China, $264K for LoL Champions Korea (LCK), $227K for the LoL European Championship (LEC), and $200K for the North American LoL Championship Series (LCS).
- Dota 2
First Half 2019 Prize Pool: $8.37M
Dota 2 lands in third place with $8.37M so far in 2019, but that tally will surge with August’s de facto world championship, The International 2019. As of this writing, the event’s prize pool has raised $23.31M primarily through crowdfunding, and is on track to eclipse the $25.5M prize pool for The International 2018.
While nothing compares to The International, Dota 2 has had a few other big-money tournaments already in 2019. Both DreamLeague Season 11 and the MDL Disneyland Paris Major had a $2M prize pool, while The Chongqing Major 2019 and EPICENTER Major 2019 offered up $1M. Other notable events include the $890K WESG 2018 finals in March 2019 and the $600K StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor Season 2.
- Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
First Half 2019 Prize Pool: $8.6M
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive‘s largest annual tournament takes place early in the year, with the Intel Extreme Masters Katowice Major 2019 awarding $2M in total prizing. No other CS:GO tournament so far this year has hit seven figures, although the WESG 2018 finals in March came close at $995K. Other notable events so far this year have included the $766K ESL Pro League Season 9 and $750K Esports Championship Series (ECS) Season 7.
First Half 2019 Prize Pool: $14.7M
Nothing has come close to matching Fortnite‘s continued esports splash, however, with $14.7M awarded so far this year. The 10 weeks of Fortnite World Cup 2019 qualifiers collectively accounted for $12.08M of that, with the ESL Katowice Royale awarding $597K, the Fortnite World Cup Warmup awarding $500K, and the Fortnite Secret Skirmish Series dealing out $500K in prizing.
Epic Games will award a further $30M at the Fortnite World Cup from July 26-28, and another $3M for a Creative Competition at the event. Will that be enough to secure Fortnite‘s spot atop the list by the time 2019 is all said and done, or will Dota 2‘s growing International 2019 prize pool help it take the lead? We’ll be watching closely in the coming months.