The world of esports is growing at a tremendous pace, with the top stars now earning a fortune.
In fact, many of the best esports players on the planet are now even making more money than professional athletes who are at the top of their respective sports.
This is because esports tournament prize pools have exploded in the last couple of years, with new records set for how much cash can be won at an esports event.
As an example, the first ever Fortnite World Cup was held in New York City in 2019 and the winner – Kyle Giersdorf, who plays games under the name Bugha – won the $3 million top prize.
Landing that cashpot was even more impressive given the American was just 16 years old at the time. He had only been playing Fortnite for two years!
It is clear there is a lot of money to be made at the top of esports – but exactly how much?
Large earnings on offer at the top
The 2020 esports calendar has been affected by the coronavirus crisis, but some players have already been able to bring in large amounts of money through playing games.
Paulo Damo da Rosa has scooped $300,000 from esports so far this year with a handful of other elite players, such as Troy Jaroslawski, breaking through the $200,000 mark.
Players including Marcio Carvalho have made more than $100,000 in 2020 to date, with these figures likely to rise fast once esports events return following the pandemic’s global impact.
Overall, the top esports stars are millionaires, just as the best professional athletes are. The richest esports player is thought to be Johan Sundstein, a Dota 2 specialist who plays games under the name N0tail. He is closing in on making $7 million out of his esports career.
Some players have even retired from competitive gaming, having amassed a fortune through esports. Earlier this year, Dota 2 expert Jesse Vainikka quit the game despite helping his team, OG, to win top esports event The International for the second year in a row.
Bugha became an instant millionaire by claiming the inaugural Fortnite World Cup – which was entered by 40 million people – and these eye-catching figures are becoming more common.
Sponsorships and salaries help to boost income
Top esports players will likely have joined an esports team – and they may receive a salary as a result. At the best esports teams, this is likely to be worth thousands of dollars every month.
Jay “Sinatraa” Won, who recently announced he was retiring from competitive Overwatch to take up Valorant instead, was said to earn $150,000 a year with the San Francisco Shock. The 2019 Overwatch World Cup champion was one of the very best paid players in all of esports.
Furthermore, once players have made their name in the world of esports, they can also start to secure sponsorship deals. Some esports contracts are worth tens of thousands of dollars. According to a report by Newzoo, sponsorships are almost half of esports’ global revenues.
The best esports players have other ways of supplementing their income even more too. Most esports stars have a YouTube channel that might have hundreds of thousands of subscribers.
This can help to give them a solid regular income as a result of YouTube advertising revenue.
Streaming gameplay on a site like Twitch can be quite lucrative as well. The more followers an esports player can get on Twitch, the more money they can make through the platform.
Twitch users can pay to subscribe to a player, who then gets about half of that money. Someone with hundreds of thousands of followers on Twitch would therefore be banking a significant amount.