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How Much Money is in eSports: Can you make a career out of it?

Jul 12, 2023

The world of eSports is growing fast. As of 2023, over 540 million people globally tune in to watch their favourite players compete in exciting video game battles. By 2025, this number is expected to rise to an incredible 640.8 million. This surge in interest doesn't only show how popular eSports has become. It also suggests that the industry can provide a rewarding career for those who enter it.

The rise in eSports viewers isn't the only thing growing. The prize money up for grabs in eSports tournaments is getting bigger and bigger. This shows that there's serious money to be made in this industry. But how does this work, and can anyone make a successful career out of eSports?

The Lucrative eSports Industry

The eSports industry's impressive monetary value doesn't go unnoticed. Numerous statistics and figures attest to this burgeoning digital field's astronomical financial scale. Sponsorships, advertising, merchandise sales, and prize money are the main arteries pumping financial life into the industry. Tournaments are milestones in the eSports journey, marking significant growth with substantial prize pools.

For instance, the top games awarding prize money include Dota 2, with over $319 million, Fortnite, with over $161 million; and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, with upwards of $154 million. These figures hint at the economic potential the eSports world has to offer.

Professional eSports Player Earnings

The eSports industry is no longer an arena for amateur gameplay. Professional eSports players now benefit from many income sources.


The most common and usually the most rewarding income source for players is the salary they receive from their respective eSports teams or organisations. These salaries can vary widely depending on numerous factors, such as the team's size, the player's skills, the specific game they compete in, and the level of competition in which the team participates.

For instance, in 2020, Hal Biagas, the former Executive Director of the LCS Players Association, revealed that the average salary for players in North America's premier League of Legends competition was around $410,000. The top players, such as Perkz, have signed contracts worth as much as $6 million over three years.

Individual Brand Partnerships

Regardless of team affiliation, eSports athletes have lucrative chances to forge individual sponsorship partnerships. One such successful alliance was between Finalmouse and Tyson 'TenZ' Ngo. This collaboration spawned a themed gaming mouse that sold out in a matter of hours due to its immense popularity, amassing a staggering $7.6 million in revenue.

Furthermore, the rising prominence of eSports in India is attracting notable brands to this thriving industry. For instance, PUMA has become the official kit supplier for all Revenant Esports teams and their content creators, marking a significant milestone in the expansion of eSports in India.

The Indian audience's interest in eSports is rising, reflected in the increasing viewership numbers. Enthusiasts are spectating and engaging with eSports events by placing wagers on various tournaments. The Best Indian Sports Betting Sites July 2023 provide odds for the latest eSports competitions, adding another layer of engagement for fans. This rising engagement is a testament to the expanding influence of eSports in India and its promising future.

Tournament Prize Winnings

Prize winnings from eSports tournaments make up another significant source of income for professional eSports players. Prize money is usually reserved for the top-performing teams or players in eSports competitions, with the amounts varying depending on the competition and the game title.

Dota 2 has some of the highest-earning players due to its large prize pools, which are often crowd-funded. Johan 'N0tail' Sundstein, a successful Dota 2 player, has earned a staggering $7.1 million in prize money alone, highlighting the earning potential from tournament winnings.

Content Creation and Brand Deals

Content creation is another means for players to earn money. Platforms like YouTube and Twitch offer opportunities for players to monetize their content, whether through ad revenue, sponsorship deals, or fan subscriptions.

Many prominent eSports players stream in their spare time, while others transition from professional play to full-time content creation, enhancing their earnings.

Merchandise Sales

Merchandise sales can also contribute to an eSports player's income. Players with large fanbases, like the renowned League of Legends player Rekkles, have personal websites selling branded merchandise, such as hoodies and t-shirts.

This income source might be more exclusive to players with significant fan followings, yet it represents another facet of the diverse earnings landscape in eSports.

Beyond the Players: Other Career Opportunities

The eSports industry offers many career options beyond professional gaming, all essential to the sector's growth.
These include roles like coaches, who guide and train eSports teams; analysts, who examine gameplay and strategies to optimise performance; streamers, who engage audiences by broadcasting their gameplay live on platforms such as Twitch or YouTube; casters or commentators, who enhance the spectator experience by narrating eSports matches in real-time; and content creators, who contribute to the community through gameplay videos, tutorials, articles, and more.

Each role presents unique growth and earning opportunities, emphasising that eSports is a thriving entertainment sector and a viable career domain.

Challenges and Considerations

Despite the allure of potential riches, careers in eSports come with their unique set of challenges. The industry is fiercely competitive, and achieving success demands unwavering dedication, continuous skill development, and sustained commitment.

Moreover, the financial rewards are often skewed towards the top players, underscoring the difficulty of reaching the upper rank of eSports.

Final Thoughts

The eSports industry is flourishing thanks to increasing popularity, lucrative sponsorship deals, and impressive prize pools. It offers many opportunities, from being a professional player to a content creator, coach, or analyst. While the road to success may be riddled with challenges, the potential rewards make eSports a compelling career choice for those willing to dedicate their time and effort to this emerging field.

Ayush Agarwal

Founder @Tournafest