How Do Esports Tournaments Make Money?

Esports tournaments are a big business, with some events offering prize pools in excess of $10 million. So how do these events make money?


Esports tournaments are organized video game competitions, typically between professional players. These events are organized by game developers, third-party organizers, or in some cases, player-organized teams. Tournaments typically offer large cash prizes to the winning team or individual.

While some smaller tournaments are held online, many of the larger ones are live events that take place in front of a live audience. These events often attract thousands of spectators and can generate a lot of excitement and hype.

Due to the popularity of esports, there is a growing interest in how these tournaments make money. This is because the prize money for these events can be very substantial, sometimes reaching into the millions of dollars.

There are a few different ways that esports tournaments make money. The most common way is through sponsorships from companies who want to be associated with the tournament. Other ways include ticket sales, merchandise sales, and advertising revenues.

sponsorship from companies who want to be associated with the tournament

How do esports tournaments make money?

Esports tournaments make money through a variety of methods such as sponsorships, ticket sales, and advertising. Many of the biggest tournaments are sponsored by companies that see the value in promoting their brand to the huge esports audience. Ticket sales are another big source of revenue for tournaments, with some events selling out massive arenas. Finally, esports tournaments make money through advertising, with brands paying to have their products featured during the event.

Ticket sales

One of the ways that esports tournaments make money is through ticket sales. This is typically done through an online ticketing system, such as Eventbrite or Ticketmaster. The tickets will usually be sold in advance of the event, and the prices will vary depending on the tournament and the venue.

Some tournaments will also sell VIP tickets, which will give fans access to special events or areas at the tournament. For example, VIP ticket holders at the League of Legends World Championship could get access to a meet and greet with the players, or a special viewing area.

Ticket sales are usually one of the main sources of revenue for an esports tournament.

Corporate sponsorships

corporate sponsorships are the primary source of revenue for esports tournaments. These sponsorships can take many forms, but the most common is product placement. Product placement is when a company pays to have its products prominently featured in an event or broadcast. For example, a company might pay to have its logo displayed on the players’ uniforms or on banners around the arena.

In addition to product placement, companies also often sponsor entire teams or leagues. This type of sponsorship usually comes with a large monetary investment and can provide a significant revenue stream for tournament organizers.

Other sources of revenue for esports tournaments include ticket sales, merchandise sales, and broadcasting rights fees. Ticket sales are typically only a significant source of revenue for the biggest tournaments, while merchandise sales and broadcasting rights fees are more important for smaller events.


One of the most commonly used ways for esports tournaments to generate revenue is through advertising. Advertisements can be in the form of traditional commercials that are played during breaks in the action, or they can be integrated into the broadcast itself. For example, a company Logo may be placed on a virtual fence around the perimeter of the playing area, or a company’s product may be prominently displayed on players’ desks or in their “locker rooms.”

Sponsorships are another form of advertising that is commonly used to generate revenue for esports tournaments. A company may agree to sponsor an entire tournament, or they may choose to sponsor individual teams or players. In return for their sponsorship, the company’s name and/or logo will be prominently displayed throughout the tournament, on team jerseys, and in other places where it will receive a great deal of visibility.

Finally, some esports tournaments generate revenue by selling broadcast rights to their events. The tournament organizers will sell these rights to a television network or streaming service, which will then produce and air the event for viewers at home.


In addition to ticket sales, another way that esports tournaments make money is through merchandise. Tournament organizers will usually have their own line of branded merchandise that they sell at the event, and many teams also have their own merchandise that they sell. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of these items goes back to the tournament organizer, and the rest goes to the team or player whose name is on the merchandise.

Prize money

The prize pools for esports tournaments can vary greatly, depending on the game, the time of year, and the popularity of the event. For example, The International, a Dota 2 tournament hosted by Valve Corporation, had a prize pool of over $24 million in 2019 – making it the largest prize pool in esports history. Meanwhile, the first-ever Fortnite World Cup had a prize pool of $30 million.

While game developers are often the ones hosting and organizing esports tournaments, there are also third-party organizations that host events for multiple games. These include companies like ESL (formerly Electronic Sports League), Major League Gaming (MLG), and DreamHack.

Prize money for esports tournaments is typically generated through a combination of sponsorships, merchandise sales, and ticket sales. Some events may also have crowdfunding campaigns to help reach their prize pool goals. For example, The International 2019 raised over $34 million total – with $24 million coming from crowdfunding alone.


In conclusion, esports tournaments make money in a variety of ways. Some of the most common include sponsorships, ticket sales, advertising, and merchandise sales. In recent years, more and more tournaments are also incorporating crowdfunding and donations into their revenue streams. With the global esports industry expected to reach $1.8 billion by 2022, it’s safe to say that there is plenty of money to be made in competitive gaming.

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