Answering the question of how much esports players make can be complicated due to a variety of factors, such as play level, skill level and popularity of a game.
Professional esports gamers make money through sponsorships, prize pools, streaming and other methods. However, some games may offer greater financial rewards than others.
Understanding the salaries of professional esports players may seem complex, but once you understand how an esports organization functions, it becomes much clearer. Just as any sports organization pays its players for their efforts in winning matches and tournaments, so too should an esports organization do likewise.
Most of these teams depend on sponsors to cover the expenses associated with running their esports leagues and competing in tournaments. Sponsorship can take many forms, from product exclusivity to logos on uniforms, streams, and social media presence.
Sponsorships are the primary way esports teams make money. Companies will pay teams thousands of dollars to promote their products to a large audience.
Companies such as computer peripheral makers, gaming brands, lifestyle brands, websites, apps and online services often sponsor teams through affiliate deals where teams receive a percentage of sales through their team’s affiliate link or code.
In esports, many teams are in the process of signing or expanding their sponsorships. This can be a tremendous advantage to teams and their athletes since it gives them access to larger budgets for competition.
Team Liquid has earned over $37 million as an esports organization – the highest amount ever won by any esports company. This wealth has been spread among their numerous teams and allows them to pay their players a higher salary than other esports organizations.
Esports teams often participate in tournaments with huge prize pools of money, which can range from millions of dollars to tens of millions. Such rewards make them highly lucrative for winners and an effective way to promote a certain game.
Teams and players with the best financial resources benefit greatly from this source of income, as it provides them with additional funds to keep playing in tournaments. In 2017, the average prize pool for esports tournaments worldwide averaged $27,500 with 4166 events taking place worldwide.
Prize money is typically divided between 5-6 people, including the coach, manager and owner of the team. Some tournaments only have a few players with no prize money while others may boast hundreds of participants and millions in rewards.
Some esports teams release their player salaries to the public, which is an important step towards transparency and giving fans insight into how their favorite esports players are paid. For instance, League of Legends team Ember recently disclosed two athletes’ salaries: $25,000 annually while another three players earn $77,000.
The only disadvantage to this is that esports players aren’t guaranteed a steady source of earnings. It’s an undertaking and should not be undertaken lightly, but for gamers who wish to make a living from their passion it could certainly be an option.