The International features a series of tournaments before the event, known as the Dota Pro Circuit (DPC), with the top 12 ranking teams receiving direct invitations based on their final standings. Besides the directly invited DPC teams, an additional team from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), China, Europe, North America, South America, and Southeast Asia regions each earn an invite by winning regional playoffs, bringing the total number of participating teams up to 18.
Starting with The International 2013 onward, the tournament's prize pool began to be crowdfunded through a type of in-game battle pass called the "Compendium", which raises money from players buying them to get exclusive in-game virtual goods and other bonuses. 25% of all the revenue made from yearly Compendiums go directly to the prize pool. Each iteration of The International has surpassed the previous one's prize pool, with the most recent one, The International 2019, having one at over $34 million.