The International (TI) is an annual Dota 2 eSports tournament hosted by Valve Corporation, the game’s developer. The first tournament took place in Cologne, Germany at Gamescom in 2011 and was held shortly after the public reveal of Dota 2, with a total prize pot of $1.6 million. The second International took place in 2012 at the Benaroya Hall in Seattle, and retained the same $1.6 million prize structure. For the third International in 2013, again at Benaroya Hall, Valve introduced an interactive, digital “compendium” which fans could purchase to follow the event and contribute to the prize pool; which reached a $2.8 million prize pool with $1.2 million added from compendium purchases.
The fourth International, this time held at the larger Seattle venue KeyArena in 2014, continued the practice of compendium sales and ultimately broke records for having one of the largest prize pool in eSports history, with a total of $10.9 million. The fifth International took place in 2015, with the prize pool totaling over $18 million, making it the largest eSports prize pool for a single tournament until being surpassed by the sixth International the following year, with a prize pool of over $20 million.