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What Are the Average eSports Earnings for Top Competitors?

What are the Average eSports Earnings for Top Competitors?

Zach Cabading
Reading time: 5 minutes
Have you ever dreamed about playing video games for a living? Your parents may have tried to quash that dream when you were a kid, but now may be just the time to quit your day job and change your career path. Thanks to online viewing platforms like Twitch and the evolving competitiveness of PC games, eSports has become a totally viable way to win big and make a living.
Don’t believe us? Get this: Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf just won the $3 million top prize by winning the Fortnite World Cup. Let’s dive into the earnings by the top competitors in eSports.

What are the average eSports earnings?

There are two kinds of earnings in eSports: prize winnings and salaries. Prize winnings are what players earn for winning tournaments. There are a handful of professional eSports leagues in which players sign a contract with a team and earn a salary for their participation. These players may also win bonuses for winning league titles.
For 2019, the median eSports earnings are $673. This is based on 3,433 tournaments with 19,567 participants. It doesn’t seem like a big number, but the mean eSports earnings for 2019 is much larger: $8,885.75. The numbers reveal that the top players in eSports earn MUCH more than the rest [1].

What are the top eSports earnings in 2019?

So far in 2019, Jesse Vainikka (known by the player name JerAx) is the year’s highest-earning eSports player with total earnings for the year at $3,162,536.20.
  • The 10 highest-earning players in 2019 have each earned over $1 million
  • The 100th highest-earning player in 2019 has earned $199,766.94
Of the 500 highest-earning eSports players in 2019:
  • The top 100 earners made most of their winnings in large and medium-sized tournaments
  • The bottom 100 earners appear to be salaried players in eSports leagues: for example, number 500 earned $53,834.25 in 2019 while number 401 earned $61,510.42
There are virtually no players that break the top 100 by winning lots of small tournaments. The highest earners make their winnings on the big gaming competitions.

What are the highest eSports earnings of all time?

It’s tough to figure out what the top eSports earnings are. While eSports competitions have been ongoing since the 1980s, only recently have eSports earnings been tracked with meticulous analytics. There could be lots of professional gamers who have earned far more than the top-ranked players in modern eSports, but until those players come forward with the documentation, we can only rely on the stats that are available.
It’s also important to remember that some pro gamers could earn a substantial amount of income from sponsorships, and those aren’t currently being tracked alongside tournament winnings.
Johan Sundstein, known by the player name N0tail, has earned a collective $6,889,591.79 in eSports winnings. The top 10 highest-earners of all time have earned no less than $3.5 million each in winnings.

What’s the highest-earning eSports game?

If you’re looking for big winnings, play DOTA 2. Of the top 50 highest-earning players, 44 of them made most of their winnings on DOTA 2. The top 10 highest-earners all made most of their winnings on DOTA 2, as did 29 of the 30 highest-earning players. DOTA helped popularize eSports, so it’s no surprise it’s been one of the most lucrative eSports markets.
The only other games in which the top 50 earners made most of their money were Fortnite and Counter Strike: Global Offensive. 3 players made most of their winnings on Fortnite and 3 players made most of their winnings on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
Of the top 100 highest-earning gamers, 4 players made most of their winnings on League of Legends. One of the top 100 earners made most of their earnings on Shadowverse, an interesting anomaly on the list.

What are the eSports earnings for Fortnite?

Although it’s a relatively new title, Fortnite seems to be on its way to becoming the most lucrative eSports game in the world. By winning the most recent Fortnite World Cup, Kyle Giersdorf is already the 12th highest-earning eSports player of all time, and that was his only major tournament win.
As of 2019, there’s no Fortnite professional league, and so there aren’t any opportunities to earn a salary playing that game. But there’s a huge amount of prize money being given out at Fortnite tournaments thanks to its popularity.
In 495 Fortnite tournaments worldwide, nearly $83 million has been awarded in winnings.
  • Of the 25 highest-earning Fortnite players, the numbers 21-25 made no less than $415,000 each
  • Of the 500 highest-earning players, the bottom 300 made winnings that ranged from $61,900 to $18,225

What are the Overwatch eSports earnings?

Of the 500 highest-earning eSports players, none of them made their money on Overwatch. While Overwatch is tremendously popular, its eSports winnings are currently limited because of the professional Overwatch League.
Overwatch League is a great league for eSports players to participate in because all players earn a minimum $50,000 salary, plus a cut of the winnings for league titles. However, Overwatch League limits the number of players that are able to participate, so overall winnings remain low when compared to other eSports titles.

What are the League of Legends eSports earnings?

League of Legends winnings also tends to be lower due to the fact that there is a professional LoL league. However, winnings tend to be higher than with Overwatch because there’s a wider array of tournaments for players to participate in. Of 2,387 League of Legends tournaments, over $70.5 million has been awarded in prize money.
  • The top 10 players make between $540,411.20 and $1,228,281.90
  • Of the top 100 players, the bottom 10 make between $135,306.40 and $146,744.95
  • Of the top 500 players, the bottom 300 make between $23,060.05 and $68,189.02

What do I need to compete in eSports?

If you want to compete in eSports, the two most important things you need are a competitive drive and a powerhouse gaming rig. Your gaming rig should have top processors so you can get the best possible performance while you’re gaming - you can’t afford to suffer from lag or hardware crashes from overheated hardware. Most eSports tournaments are played on tower desktops, so try out the HP OMEN Obelisk if you’re looking for a gaming desktop that’s built to beat the competition.
[1] eSportsEarnings.com; History

About the Author

Zach Cabading is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Zach is a content creation specialist based in Southern California, and creates a variety of content for the tech industry.

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