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How Much Do Esports Players Make in a Year and How Do They Do It?

  • A gamer has already become a reasonable career choice
  • Streaming sites are what most players’ income depends on
  • The largest prize pool for esports tournament was over US$34 million
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Image source: © Xavier Caré via Wikimedia Commons

Once neglected as just a video game for kids, online gaming has been developed into esports in the last decade. More and more kids are seeking careers as a gamer, which is reasonable since the average salary of a professional gamer is around $60.000 a year. The highest-paid players get around $350.000 each year, not taking account of the huge sum of prize money. So how much do esports players make in a year?

There are several ways a professional gamer can make money. The sponsorship and the winner’s reward are just the tips of the iceberg. It may come as a surprise for people who don’t have a lot of information about the growing popularity of esports.

How do professional esports players earn money?

The most obvious, and probably the biggest source of the players’ income is the prize money. Regular games have a winning pool of around 100.000 to 200.000 dollars. The awards of big tournaments on the national or an international level can reach several million dollars, which is usually divided amongst the team members.

A team usually has five or six members, so divided among them, a player would still get over a million dollars for a championship. Last year, a Dota 2 international tournament had a prize pool of 34 million dollars which was the highest for any esports event. A European team OG has won the game with betting odds of +340. According to the online sportsbooks in the US, the range of the events is only going to grow due to the popularity of the games.

The growing popularity of esports

About ten years ago, the idea of earning your living by playing online video games was ridiculous. However, in the last decade esports, LoL or League of Legends, in particular, has become one of the matches that has the largest audience. The 2020 LoL championship audience is expected to be no less than 100 million.

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The audience at an esports event – Image source: Flickr

Before you ask “How much do esports players make in a year?”, you should know that you or people who are interested in esports like you are directly related to the income of the gamers.

As with any sport, the large sum of money comes from streaming the game. You don’t even have to be an international champion as long as you have a certain amount of viewers. Take Twitch– one of the most popular streaming sites for example. A month’s subscription to this site costs 4.99 dollars and the streamer gets half the earnings. So if a player has around 1000 subscribers, he will earn 2500 dollars a month. Also, he can monetize his streams or ask for donations from his subscribers. Therefore, how much esports players make in a year will depend largely on the size of an audience that year.

This income can add up pretty easily since the audience of the games is only growing. Around 99.6 million people have watched an LoL championship last year with 3.76 million watching the single final’s match. Also, a broad variety of industries invest in virtual entertainment, online gambling sites in the US offering countless wagers on esports. For example at Bovada, you can bet on most of the famous professional gamers.

A new marketing platform for the companies

As we’ve mentioned above, around almost 100 million people have watched last year’s championship games. The marketing managers in companies are not going to slip this huge amount of potential buyers. So, it’s common that they will pay a team or a player to wear their logo on their clothes or drink certain drinks during a game. In exchange for that, they would offer them money, take care of their travel costs, etc.

The regular salary that comes from the team is a base income of a player. It’s supposed to be fixed despite the team’s success during the matches. This way, gamers will have some sort of safety and stability while focusing on themselves.

How much do esports players make in a year?

From the sources mentioned above, a professional gamer has little stability when it comes to income. The salary is fixed, but otherwise, it’s possible that this money will be their only income. There are millions of players worldwide, with plenty of resources to prepare for the international championships.

However, the fans and people who are interested in the growth of online gaming know about this struggle. They are keen to support their favorite players or a team until they reach the big games. So in short, the average income professional gamer can make in a month is anything from 1000 to 5000 dollars.

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