Esports player earnings – how to calculate it.
While it’s rare to get tangible information about esports player salaries and investments, there is one big element of their financial windfall that is clear to all to track: their combined winnings. With so many games and tournaments, it can be difficult to figure out just how much the greatest competitors end up earning across the years, so we’ve done the research for you.
By checking the biggest tournament results and tracking the databases of the winners and participants, you can put together a pretty good idea of who won the most across the years. Certain games are definitely more profitable than others, and winning the boom years has definitely yielded more than being one of the pioneers. Here’s what you need to know.
Which esports games have awarded the most prize money across the years?
Dota 2 has offered up the largest prize pools in esports history, courtesy of The International’s crowdfunded prize pools, and it makes sense that its totals also dwarf the competition, with over $335 million awarded in total across the years since the MOBA’s release back in July 2013.
The OG Dota 2 team players top the charts in terms of esports winning. For anyone with a good understanding of the competitive gaming scene, this should come as no surprise. Dota 2 esports’ flagship tournament has offered the largest prize pools in the world for many years, making millionaires out of its winners overnight. What do you know, being the only team to ever win it back-to-back makes you and your mates the richest players on the planet, at least as far as total winnings are concerned.
So, your global top five are, per esportsearnings.com:
- Johan “N0tail” Sundstein – $7,184,163
- Jesse “JerAx” Vainikka – $6,486,948
- Anathan “ana” Pham – $6.024,411
- Sébastian “Ceb” Debs – $5,870,342
- Topias “Topson” Taavitsainen – $5,701,022
Believe it or not, the rest of the global to twenty in terms of prize money earned is entirely populated by Dota 2 esports players, and the game’s dominance continues further down the list: just three of the top 40 made their mark in other games, and eleven of the top seventy. From then on, the variety of titles quickly increases, but it’s clear that Valve’s popular and complex MOBA was the game to play if you wanted to win the biggest bucks.
Second on the games list is Fortnite, albeit just barely. Developers-publishers Epic Games instantly offered up a $100 million pool in the first year of competitive play for the popular battle royale title, and its 2019 events, most notably the Fortnite World Cup, make up a significant portion of the game’s nice $169 million prize pool total. The winner of the 2019 World Cup, Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf, is the winningest non-Dota player in the world with $3,623,371 in earnings.
Third on the list is Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, the other flagship title of Valve. With CS2, the latest entry in the decades-old franchise, just around the corner, the numbers related to this game will have to be reevaluated, but for now, winnings from 1.6 and Source are so minuscule (and so few of the relevant players are still around) that there is no need for a franchise-level analysis here.
The CS:GO player with the highest earnings in the world is Peter “dupreeh” Rasmussen, the only five-time Major winner in the game’s history. Part of the legendary Astralis core that dominated the world from 2018 to 2020, dupreeh then went on to further glory on Team Vitality, putting him a leg above his former teammates with total winnings of $2,181,164.
That said, it’s no surprise that his teammates are close behind: Andreas “Xyp9x” Højsleth is the other player barely above the $2 million mark (with $2,001,285), legendary AWPer Nicolai “device” Reedtz at $1,977,531, Emil “Magisk” Reif at $1.874.123, and in-game leader Lukas “gla1ve” Rosssander at 1,869,042. The next two players are both legends of the game: GOAT AWPer Oleksander “s1mple” Kostyliev comes in sixth, with veteran in-game leader Finn “karrigan” Andersen in seventh. Unsurprisingly, their teammates past and present populate the rest of the top ten. CS:GO players, of course, have also greatly benefited from the sales of stickers with their signatures on them, which is always a special occasion for Majors.
Despite its prestige, League of Legends esports winnings “only” amount to $104 million, and only the legend that is Lee “Faker” Sang Hyeok made it in the top one hundred when it comes to total earnings, with a relatively meager $1.4 million in total prize money.
You would never guess number five, but it’s a sign of sea change in the gaming industry: it’s Arena of Valor, a rapidly growing mobile MOBA with a primarily Asian audience. With the 2022 Honor of Kings International Championship offering $10 million in total, and over $77 million distributed in prizes across the years since 2015, Arena of Valor esports has made ten millionaires, all hailing from China – from Luo “HuaHai” Siyuoan to Li “Pang” Daheng.
What is the average esports player salary?
It is difficult to find concrete data about up-to-date player contracts in esports, but we do have some reporting and statistics to consider. While the specific arrangements with orgs can greatly differ (they tend to offer a flat salary in exchange for a significant cut of streaming income and tournament winnings and the revenue generated by branded in-game items).
Recent reporting by Esports Insider suggests that the biggest League of Legends players earn approximately $410,000 annually in salary, with stars like Perkz signing a $6 million contract for three years in a major exception. In the Counter-Strike world, Robin “ropz” Kool’s annual earnings for 2022 amounted to a sum around €800,000, around 40% of which seems to add up to his prize pool parts.
Bet on esports with Bitsler – how to make use of this data.
When it comes to esports betting considerations, it goes without saying that players with massive prize money winnings are likely to be favorites going into an event, for they already have a proven track record and pedigree for you to consider. It’s definitely important to do further research – since they may very well be quite a few years past their prime – but recent large winnings and overall big numbers can be a sign of peak performance. This information can also help you with prop bets and player-specific wagers.
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