Rise of eSports

The Rise of eSports: How much money can they earn?

  • Today’s top eSports players earn more money than professional athletes in sports such as golf, badminton, cycling, marathon or martial arts.
  • eSports tournament prizes have increased $151,097,817 since 1998.
  • Between 2017-2018 there was a 31% increase in earnings for professional players. If this trend continues, total winnings will likely exceed $195,000,000 in 2019.
  • Kuroky’ is the eSports player who has won the most money in tournaments, exceeding $4,000,000.
  • Dota 2 (Defense of the Ancients 2) is the eSports game that offers the most money to the winners of its tournaments.
  • Since 1998, about $535,350,000 in prize money has been distributed to 54,650 players in 26,400 competitions.

A check for $100,000,000 for Floyd Mayweather. Another $30,000,000 for Connor McGregor. The sum of the two makes it one of the biggest economic prizes ever given at a sporting event. It happened in 2017, when the battle between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Connor McGregor took place in Las Vegas.

Some boxing matches are among the 52 sporting events that offer the most money to their winners. But times are changing and the electronic sports (or eSports) boom is unstoppable.

How much money is earned in professional video games compared to traditional sports?

The earnings of eSports

One of the most prestigious championships within the eSports is The International Dota 2. The last two editions of 2017 and 2018 rank 13th and 14th on our list of 50 sports tournaments with the most individual wins. The International 2018 Dota 2 had a total prize of $25,532,200 and the winning team, Team OG, won $11,234,158. This is divided among the five members of the club, so it would be $2,247.00 for each of them.

Fortnite Fall Skirmish Series 2018 is ranked 20th on the list, making it very clear that it is one of the videogames of the moment. Fortnite reached the public in 2017 and in a short time has positioned itself as one of the most important of the eSports. The total sum of the prizes was $4,000,000, of which $1,500,000 was for the winning team.

Increasing awards at eSports tournaments helps grow the industry’s popularity. More and more elite professional video game players are becoming global stars driven by their economic gains.

Even some of today’s top players earn more money than professional athletes in sports such as golf, badminton, cycling, marathon or martial arts.

The increasing popularity of eSports

If we dive a little into the prizes offered in the eSports, we immediately notice their remarkable growth. The number of team and tournament sponsors, the number of players and the number of professional video games are increasing. In 1998 there were only 9 eSports tournaments or events, while in 2018 there were 3404. This represents an increase of 37722% over a period of 20 years.

The total money offered in prizes at the 1998 eSports competitions was $131,700. In 2018 it has risen to an incredible $151,229,517, which has clearly helped to professionalize the sector in recent years.

More money for the tournament winner

The eSports industry has grown significantly in the last 6 or 7 years, coinciding with the increase in economic awards. Since 2009 they have not stopped rising and growth has been even faster since 2012/2013. The reason is possibly in the fact that in those years were published Dota 2, Counter Strike: Global Offensive and League of Legends, three of the games that generate more money in eSports competitions.

To learn more about the voice of the experts we spoke with Mark ‘Aeroz’ Ochoa of the Arctic Gaming team. On the growth of the eSports industry in 2018, he believes that “more than during 2018 have been in the last 4 years.

I think the growth has been exponential especially since the emergence of brands not related to eSports, getting involved in this sector and giving it more sustainability, and has gone hand in hand with the emergence of streaming platforms and social networks that have greatly accentuated its spread and growth.

In 2011 a total of 1638 tournaments were held with 3702 active professional players. During 2012 there was a significant increase to 1956 tournaments and 4695 players. The launch of such important and popular video games as Dota 2, League of Legends and Counter Strike: Global Offensive contributed to the increase in championships, players and economic prizes.

Between 2015 and 2016 came another major boom with a 32% increase in total prizes. From $66,661,946 in 2015 to $97,610,186 in 2016. A third of all that money comes from The International 2015, DAC 2015 and The Frankfurt Major2015, tournaments focused on the video game Dota 2.

Although the biggest increase in earnings was between 2017 and 2018. In 2017 there was a total of $114,717,337 in prizes, while 2018 rose 24% to $151,229,517. The main reason is that The Dota International2018 and 2018 LoL World Championship tournaments offered record numbers of prizes at $25,532,177 and $6,450,000 respectively.

Another factor to consider is the success and popularity of Fortnite. It opened in July 2017, but already has 161 tournaments with a total amount of $20,074,787 in prizes. In fact, it ranks as the fifth game in the history of eSports that offers the most money to its winners. An incredible fact considering the long history of the rest of video games.

For Fran ‘NeNe’ Godoy of Arctic Gaming, Fortnite is without a doubt the most outstanding game of 2018. “It has been the most innovative and has brought together all kinds of people from various video games and other platforms in a single game,” he explains.

The decrease in the number of tournaments

Until 2015 the number of eSports championships was growing every year and reached a total of 5090 competitions.

The eSports in 2019

The eSports industry has grown significantly since 1998, although the most notable boom has been over the last 5 years. Now there are more professionals who have found their vocation and their work in the world of video games. There are more eSports players than ever before and the number is not expected to stop, but rather to continue growing.

The increase in earnings and economic prizes in tournaments have been some of the factors that have helped multiply the number of players. So, the forecast for 2019 is that it will again increase both the earnings in competitions and the professional players of eSports.

One of the explanations for the decline in eSports tournaments is that the big events are becoming more prestigious and with bigger prizes, which ends up eclipsing and even making smaller competitions disappear. In addition, players often prefer to participate in tournaments of higher level to win the money that allows them to race within the eSports.

Dota2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and League of Legends are the main engines of the industry and its economic awards are growing year after year. They have established themselves as the kings of prize pools. However, other games are rising like foam, as is the case of Fortnite, which is already among the 5 video games that generates more money for professional participants.

Between 2017-2018 there was a 31% increase in profits for professional players. If this trend continues, there will likely be more than $195,000,000 in total winnings in 2019.

We’ve asked David ‘Peke’ Lopez of Arctic Gaming about the growth of awards at eSports events and, in his own words, “I think an increase in fanbase, sponsorship and internet metrics is naturally increasing the awards.

If an event is followed by more and more people, then more sponsors will enter and more will be the prize of the competitions. It’s natural because of the great growth this sector is experiencing.