Pro golfer Rory McElroy just cashed in big time, taking home $15 million for winning the season-long FedEx Cup prize at the Tour Championship this weekend. And for all that huge paycheck (It was his second FedEx Cup win, something only Tiger Woods previously had done), McElroy still didn’t have as lucrative a weekend as OG, the esports team that won Valve’s the International Dota 2 tournament for the second year in a row.
Yes, the OG team had to split the pot five ways, so each won $3.1 million. On the other hand, unlike McElroy, they didn’t have to win more than anyone else on the PGA Tour for an entire season, then hang on and win in the Tour Championship on the PGA season’s last weekend.
Team Liquid, which finished second at the International, won nearly $4.6 million.
For further comparison, Tiger Woods snapped up just over $2.1 million for winning the Masters Tournament, while Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep each received $2.9 million for winning Wimbledon singles crowns this year.
That’s not in any way to diminish what any of those golf and tennis stars achieved. It’s just a sign of the money flowing in right now to at least some corners of esports. Investors, media companies and brands are flocking to the business, hoping to connect with the young fans who frequently have little interest in traditional sports, or traditional advertising.
The Dota 2 overall pot was also huge, setting a record for the burgeoning industry of nearly $34.3 million, all crowd-funded. Try that with the NFL or PGA.
And there’s money in other esports tournaments too. China’s Invictus Games took home about $6.5 million at last year’s League of Legends world championships.
At the first Fortnite World Cup earlier this summer, 16-year-old Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf won the $3 million top prize, while Team Liquid players picked up a total of $2 million more in prize money.