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Esports Wiki

Esports Salaries: How Much Do Pro Players Earn?

I know the feeling of gaming enthusiasts who are still living with their parents. What is my point here? Our parents think that we have no future in offline and online gaming. They were right, but that was so many years ago. During the 80’s, arcade machines were a big hit. The sounds and graphics of each one were in a classic pixel style, and our parents were enjoying it. However, it seems that the longer they play, they would become addicted to it. It is what most of our parents are concerned about playing them too much rather than focusing on studies.

During those times, the purpose of gaming was just for fun. However, it gets worse when you are addicted to playing every single day. As a result, you are skipping classes or not studying your lessons at home getting failed grades later. You might experience encountering bad relationships with your parents and others.

In those early times, no one would believe that esports can have a bright future and bring solid profit to the gamers. It all started in the early 2000’s when Counter-Strike, Starcraft, Warcraft and Battle Realms have become popular. Various computer shops around the world were conducting various local tournaments for the each of them. It goes on for so many years until now. However, those competitions were just for fun, and you might only get a little compensation for participating. Tournaments were not regular as well, so you could not make a living by just participating in these events near you.

When Warcraft 3: Frozen Throne launched the first ever Defense of the Ancients map, it’s where the momentum began. I remember when playing DOTA for the first time, the version was still 5.84c. Defense of the Ancients is the first and inaugural MOBA (Massive Online Battle Arena) in the entire world. As updated versions go by, internet cafes have started hosting DOTA tournaments. Afterward, some of them who were not recognized worldwide yet had a vision of making it bigger. They wanted to compete with the elites worldwide. As a result, Esports was born, and the rest is history.

To cut a long story short, Esports is now a billion dollar industry. Players who are participating in the events are getting tons of sponsors and exposure. ESPN is now covering Esports tournaments on their website as well. Guys are earning big money just for playing with their respective teams. There are several ways for them to make money by just being a video gamer. For now, I would like to talk about how much do pro players earn aside from participating in tournaments alone.

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DOTA 2 (Defense of the Ancients 2)

So far, this game is the most famous in the entire world. After creating the first ever Defense of the Ancients map, it was a time for them to level up by plunging into global action. Since a lot of the guys played DOTA on local area connection and a third-party platform (Garena), they have decided to make Defense of the Ancients even better.

Right now, the Evil Geniuses Esports team from North America is the all-time highest income earner in DOTA 2 with more than 13 million dollars in hand. Every time they win the tournament, they divide the prize money between squad participants. However, not all of them may get the same amount. If you are the team’s top dog, expect that you will earn more than the entire roster.

Djardel Jicko Mampusti (a.k.a. DJ) from the Philippines is the country’s top earner with a total amount of $477,521.51 in this game. As for their salaries, it varies from time to time. It depends on how much money they receive from their sponsors. To keep earning salaries in their respective DOTA 2 team, they need to maintain being on the top of the ladder to make their supporters proud. Aside from that, some players are having their Twitch accounts where subscribers are paying them $4.99 per month.

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League of Legends (LoL)

Inspired by Defense of the Ancients, Riot created LoL. At first, League of Legends was not so popular. However, DOTA 2 didn’t exist yet during their launch. More players were still addicted to playing the classic DOTA LAN on Warcraft 3: Frozen Throne. As years go by, League of Legends was growing fast. They have grown into the most popular MOBA for a few years until DOTA 2 made its mark.

However, League of Legends remained to be one of the most exciting and unique MOBAs that we’ve ever seen today. In their 2014 handbook, there is a rule that squad owners should compensate each player with a minimum amount of $12,500 for a 28-match tourney ($450 per match). However, some crews are paying their players higher than the minimum.

Team Ember, a League of Legends pro squad, based in North America, was the first crew to reveal the exact salaries of the each player in their roster. Greyson Gilmer (a.k.a. Goldenglue) earns $92k. Colin Earnest (a.k.a. Solo) was the second top income earner of the team with around $86k. The rest of the players (Benjamin DeMunck, GleebGlarbu, and Contractz) are earning $75k, $72.5k and $70k, respectively. Not only that, these guys are treated as employees instead of contractors and the team is giving them health insurance as well.

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Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO)

The first Counter-Strike in the early 2000’s was fun and awesome. Now that they’ve upgraded to Global Offensive, it allows players to compete worldwide. Experts now consider CS: GO as one of the biggest Esports in the world. Even though that Crossfire, Special Force, and other ones are highly addictive, there’s no way they could surpass the biggest FPS game of all time.

As for the salaries of each player in Counter Strike: Global Offensive tourney, it also varies from the others. If you are a Tier 1 team in North America or Europe that isn’t placed at the top of the ladder, the average minimum salary that you are going to have is around $4,000 to $6,000 a month. For top level teams in the tourney, they will receive an average of $7,000 to $10,000 every month. As for the number one squad in the CS: GO, they will earn around $17,000 a month.

Back In 2015, Team Solomid was named as the highest paid CS: GO pro team of all-time. They made around $3,000 per month on top of the tournament earnings. Nowadays those numbers could be easily multiplied by 3 or 5 times for the each tier 1 crew member.

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Even though that Smite isn’t as big as other three esports that I’ve discussed earlier, you should not underestimate this one for good. What sets SMITE apart from the other MOBAs is that you are playing in a third person view instead of the traditional isometric one. It’s where you can experience real intense action for yourself.

For me, this one is still a rookie in terms if online tourneys. Although they are making a name for themselves, they are still far from being on the top Esports world. Last Smite World Championship tournament had a prize pool of almost $3 million. However, it seems that they decreased the prize pool to less than $1 million now.

As of today, Smite’s top income earner of all time is Andrew Woodward (a.k.a. Andinster) with a total amount of $316,006.65 after opting out from Cloud 9 in Team Luminosity. As for the salary of the each top squad player, such as Dignitas, Obey Alliance, and the others, it also varies. As of today, I don’t see any of them disclosing salaries in public.

So far, Smite is growing pretty well and top teams from around the world are enjoying this game. It intrigues them to push Smite to become one of the top MOBAs in the world. Not only that, a lot of players consider Smite as a threat and a contender to any existing Massive Online Battle Arena in the next few years. Pro gamers might not earn so much yet, but their vision is strong enough.


I hope you enjoy reading my article. Now that you know how much do Esports players earn, why don’t you try making a name for yourself? After all, there’s no harm in trying in forming your own professional team in any of these favorite games I’ve mentioned.

Good luck!

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