A comprehensive guide on how much esports players make in today’s market.
Salaries by Game
Unlike traditional sports, where athletes are typically paid a salary by their team or league, professional gamers in the esports industry are often paid by sponsors. In some cases, players are also given a portion of the winnings from the tournaments they compete in. Salaries can vary widely, depending on the game, the player’s experience and success, and the region they compete in.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
CS:GO is one of the most popular esports games in the world, with a dedicated following of fans and professional players. Given its popularity, it’s no surprise that CS:GO players can command high salaries.
The average salary for a CS:GO player in 2018 was $60,000, with the top earners making over $1 million. The highest-paid CS:GO player in 2018 was Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev, who made over $1.2 million from tournament winnings and sponsorship deals.
While salaries vary widely among CS:GO players, the top earners in the game tend to be well-established professionals with extensive experience and a proven track record of success. So if you’re looking to get into professional CS:GO, be prepared to put in the hard work required to reach the top levels of the game.
Dota 2 is a free-to-play multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) video game developed and published by Valve Corporation. The game is the standalone sequel to Defense of the Ancients (DotA), which was a community-created mod for Blizzard Entertainment’s Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and its expansion pack, The Frozen Throne. Dota 2 is played in matches between two teams that consist of five players, with both teams occupying their own separate base on the map. Each of the ten players independently controls a powerful character, known as a “hero”, who all have unique abilities and different styles of play. During a match, players collect experience points and items for their heroes to successfully battle the opposing team’s heroes in player versus player combat. A team wins by being the first to destroy a large structure located in the opposing team’s base, called the “Ancient”.
In professional Dota 2 tournaments, teams are only allowed one substitute player; hence, most teams only carry four main members with one substitute. An average salary for a professional Dota 2 player can range from $2,000 – $5,000 per month. For bigger tournaments with larger prize pools, players can earn significantly more money, with some even earning over $1 million dollars.
League of Legends
League of Legends is a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena game published by Riot games. It is one of the most popular games in the world, with millions of players worldwide. The game is free-to-play, but players can purchase in-game items to help them progress.
The game is played competitively, with teams of professional players competing for prize money in tournaments. The biggest tournament of the year is the World Championship, which has a prize pool of over $2 million.
The average League of Legends pro player earns $26,000 per year, while the top earners make over $200,000. The vast majority of players earn less than $10,000 per year.
Salaries by Team
On an average, professional esports players make anywhere between $2,000 to $5,000 per month. Some of the top tier teams like Cloud9 offer their players with a minimum salary of $3,000. In addition to the salary, the players also get a share of the tournament winnings.
In 2018, the average salary for a Cloud9 esports player was $92,500. The highest-paid player on the team was Snute, who earned $100,000.
EG is one of the oldest and most well-known esports organizations still in operation today. The company was founded in 1999 and has since fielded teams in a variety of games, most notably Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, and League of Legends.
In terms of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, EG currently has the world’s best CS:GO team according to HLTV.org. The team includes notable players such as Tarik “tarik” Celik, Vincent “Brehze” Cayonte, Cvetelin “CeRq” Dimitrov, Ethan “Ethan” Arnold, and Peter “stanislaw” Jarguz.
As for salaries, it is difficult to ascertain how much each individual on EG’s CS:GO team earns because the organization does not release this information publicly. However, we can use prize money earnings as a proxy for salary to get a rough idea. According to esportsearnings.com, the members of EG’s CS:GO team have earned a combined $4,428,749.40 from tournament winnings alone. This equates to an average salary of just over $880,000 per player.
Fnatic is a professional esports organization headquartered in London, United Kingdom. Founded 23 July 2004, the team has players from around the world, across a variety of games, such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, Heroes of the Storm, and League of Legends. In 2015, Fnatic partnered with Razer Inc. and secured investment from Peter Lim. Fnatic is considered to be one of the most successful esports teams of all time, having won numerous tournaments in various games over its history.
As of May 2016, salaries for competitive video game players employed by Fnatic range from $2,000 to $6,000 per month before taxes. Players are also reimbursed for travel expenses if they choose to live outside of the organization’s gaming house in Anaheim, California.
Salaries by Tournament
Professional gamers can make a pretty penny playing in esports tournaments. In fact, some of the best players in the world can earn millions of dollars in prize money, sponsorships, and stream ad revenue. So, how much do esports players make? Keep reading to find out.
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 in 2011, and was held annually until 2013. Since 2014, the tournament has been held in Seattle, United States.
The prize pool for TI9 — the 2019 edition of the event — is currently over $34 million USD, making it the largest prize pool in esports history. Over the course of the tournament’s history, players have earned over $200 million USD in prize money.
In 2018, the average salary for a professional Dota 2 player was around $60k USD per year. However, salaries can vary widely depending on a player’s skill level, role within their team, and performance at tournaments. The highest-paid players can earn millions of dollars per year from tournament winnings and sponsorship deals.
League of Legends World Championship
The League of Legends World Championship is the annual professional League of Legends world championship tournament hosted by Riot Games and is the culmination of each season. Players compete in the tournament to be crowned as the World Champion and earn a share of the $2 million prize pool.
In 2019, the prize pool was increased to $2.5 million, with $1 million being awarded to the winning team. The total prize money awarded over the course of the tournament was $6.45 million. The tournament is widely regarded as one of the largest and most prestigious events in esports.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Major Championships
The following table lists the salaries for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Major Championship tournament players from 2013 to 2018. These numbers are before taxes and exclude any other forms of income, such as sponsorships or streaming revenues.
Year | Tournament | Average Salary (USD)
2013 | EMS One Katowice | $41,666
2014 | ESL One Cologne | $62,083
2015 | Cluj-Napoca | $60,714
2016 | Columbus | $79,167
2017 | Atlanta | $101,250
2018 | London | $110,833
The answer to how much do esports players make is: it depends.
Like any other profession, earnings in esports vary widely from player to player. The factors that affect how much an esports player can make include their results, popularity, team, and game.
The best way to earn a lot of money as an esports player is to be part of a popular and successful team, playing a popular game. Players who are able to achieve both of these things can potentially earn millions of dollars per year.