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Money Smart Athlete Blog

Financial Opportunities for eSport Athletes

Jun 12, 2019 | Special Themes

By Niovie Constantinou, Contributor

The eSport industry has grown vastly in the past decade, and what was once considered a hobby has now become a serious career path that can actually pay very generously. Video games are no longer simply designed to be played, as they become ever more visually pleasing for the audiences; they are designed to appeal to and drive large fan audiences towards them. In fact, many of the top eSport athletes are considered celebrities to Millennial and Generation Y fans. The increased demand for watching games is demonstrated by the 36 million viewers of the 2016 League of Legends tournament at the famous Bird Nest stadium in China, exceeding the NBA Finals’ viewers by five million!

In turn, this has resulted in annual increases in prize pools, an important source of income for eSport athletes. For example, in 2018 when there were more than 2,300 tournaments, the combined prize pools have reached $106 million: an average player got around $7,000 while the average tournament prize pool was $46,000. In the 2017 Dota2 world championship, Team Liquid who took away the first place prize won $10,862,683!

ESport athletes also receive salaries from their teams, which on average range from $1,000 to $5,000 per month, while the highest paid League of Legends players can earn up to $15,000 per month apart from the money they earn from prizes. In the Overwatch League 28 match season, teams must pay each player a minimum of $12,500. Of course, players in winning and well-sponsored teams often receive considerably more than this.

Sponsorships are essential for eSport teams as it is estimated that around 95% of their income comes directly from sponsorship deals; many profitable companies, such as Coca-Cola, Red Bull and Adidas have sponsored eSport teams and some eSport teams have partnered with tech giants like Intel for gaming equipment. Team Fnatic has even created their own line called Fnatic GEAR and sell their products on their website, a lucrative move, as it is popular among fans to support their favorite teams by buying their merchandise.

Many eSport athletes also use online streaming as a way to increase their income. An athlete who streams with 2,000 subscribers on Twitch platform, the leading game streaming service, can earn an extra $5,000 a month. Streamers can also monetize their streams with ads and take donations from viewers. Tyler Blevins, also known as Ninja, confirmed by Forbes to be the “biggest gamer in the world”, earns $500,000 a month through streaming Fortnite on Twitch, creating Youtube videos about it and having a partnership with Red Bull; his stream peaked at 500,000 viewers when he was playing with rapper Drake, with some fans donating money just to be noticed on the featured pop-up messages.

ESports are no longer solely popular with just gamers, and they have enormous popularity among sports leagues and media giants. In fact, higher education eSports programs are already launching in the US, and there are even talks of introducing eSsports in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. It is evident that this phenomenon is growing socially and economically and so the various streams of income may potentially multiply and expand.

If you are pursuing an eSport career and wish to learn more about the available revenue generation opportunities within eSports, you may contact us at and we will be more than happy to discuss the financial opportunities available to eSport athletes.

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