With the global video gaming market worth around $175 billion in 2021, players’ esports earnings have been on the increase. Massive amounts are generated from different esports tournaments and top gamers get rewarded from sponsorship, merchandising, streaming services and so on. In this review, we take a look at the top player’s earnings from the popular esports games.
Best Esports Betting Sites
Which Players Have the Highest Esports Earnings From Each esport?
While esports earnings are generally lucrative, there are a few worth taking note of. In this section you will find out who the top players’ are and how much they earned, as well as the games they are competing in. We also attached an esports earnings 2021 list below.
|Rank||Esport||Total Esports Earnings||Number of Professional Players||Top Earning Tournament||Highest-Earning Player|
|1.||Dota 2||$276,373,909.52||4,068||The International||N0tail
|3.||Fortnite||$108,285,765.70||4,866||Fortnite World Cup||Bugha
|4.||League of Legends||$89,439,648.07||7,899||League of Legends World Championships||Faker
|6.||StarCraft II||$35,861,899.78||2,107||StarCraft II
|7.||Arena of Valor||$35,088,668.78||741||Honor of Kings World Champion Cup||Fly
|10.||Rainbow Six||$20,413,284.83||2,131||Six Invitational||Pengu
Johan ‘N0tail' Sundstein
N0tail, who comes from Denmark, is the captain of the OG Dota 2 team, and has shown his quality by winning The International 2018 and 2019 tournaments. This feat has made him and OG the first back-to-back winner of the competition. He has earned a whopping $7,176,371 till date making him the highest esports earnings Dota 2 player.
Peter ‘dupreeh' Rasmussen
Kyle ‘Bugha' Giersdorf
— Sentinels (@Sentinels) November 17, 2019
Bugha is an American esports Fortnite player who is currently in the Sentinels team. He rose to the limelight at seventeen after emerging as the winner of the 2019 Fortnite World Cup. As the highest esports earnings Fortnite player, he has pocketed $3,000,000 in prize money. Some other competitions he has taken part in include DreamHack Open and Ninja Battles, making his winnings approximately $3,151,650.
Lee, Sang ‘Faker' Hyeok
— T1 Faker (@faker) March 24, 2020
Winner of three League of Legends World Championships, Faker is the heart of T1 where he plays as a mid laner. Faker holds the record of being the sole gamer to win over 600 games in the League of Legends Champions Korea. In his award-filled career, the “unkillable demon king” has succeeded in earning $1,498,711. in total.
Bak, Jeong ‘Loki' Yeong
Joona ‘Serral' Sotala
— Joona Sotala (@ENCE_Serral) December 8, 2019
Serral is a StarCraft II player who has played in 3 different teams and is currently having a second spell at Ence Esports. Although the Finnish star appears to keep a low profile, his gaming career is admirable. In 2018, he set a record of being the only player to win every WCS Circuit Tournament within a single year. He has currently acquired total earnings of $955,759.31.
Peng, ‘Fly' Yunfei
Peng ‘Fly' Yunfei is a professional mobile esports player who has claimed more than five MVP aawards in championships finals throughout his career playing Honor of Kings but has he secured your vote?https://t.co/VVVNeaYaHE#Esportsawards pic.twitter.com/xHmFlfxt0B
— Esports Awards (@esportsawards) October 6, 2020
One of the top Chinese talents in the esport world is Peng, “Fly” Yunfei. Fly currently plays in the Wolves Arena of Valor team where he plays as the side lane. He had his major career win in August 2021 whereby the Wolves took home a $3,200,000 win. In Honor of Kings Professional League, Fly recorded about 1000 overall kills, and up till today's date he has won $1,001,597 in personal earnings.
Yoo, Myeong ‘smurf' Hwan
Another top South Korean player, smurf currently plays as the Tank for the Seoul Dynasty Overwatch esports team. He joined the Seoul Dynasty in 2021 and has earned a total of $586,063. These gains were accomplished whilst playing for San Francisco Shock (SF) where the team registered various wins. Two major ones being the Overwatch League Playoffs in 2019 and 2020 where SF won $1,100,000 and $1,500,000 respectively.
Thijs ‘Thijs' Molendijk
— PU! (@PowerUnlimited) October 5, 2015
Thijs has been a member of G2 esports since 2015 and is a Hearthstone player. His major career victory came in 2018 in the CN vs EU Championship where he defeated XiaoT and won $204,600.17. He has amassed $448,747.95 in form of total earnings.
Niclas ‘Pengu' Mouritzen
— Pengu (@Pengu) October 21, 2021
G2 esports is one of the best Rainbow Six teams in the world, and up until recently, Pengu played the roles of Flex and In-game leader before he retired in 2021. Over the course of his esports gaming career, his highest recorded team win was $800,000 at the Six Invitational 2019 where G2 placed 1st. In total he has won about $376,073 in total esports earnings.
Top Esports Earning Games and Tournaments
Having explored the players with the highest esports earnings, let’s check out the top esports earning games and tournaments. If you enjoy esports betting, this will be beneficial to you, as you will know which games and tournaments are the best to wager on:
Dota 2 – The International
Be sure to follow us on all of our channels for the latest news and updates from The International 2021 #TI10
— DOTA 2 (@DOTA2) October 9, 2021
One of the top esports earnings Dota 2 tournaments is The International. The competition started in 2011 and is held yearly. The International consists of eighteen teams from different countries that compete with each other. From the Dota Pro Circuit, there are 12, while the teams that are successful in the regional playoffs make up the other 6.
The International 2021 tournament had a $40,018,195 prize pool, with the winner; Team Spirit, taking home $18,000,000.
CS:GO – Majors
🏆PGL Major Stockholm 2021 broke all viewership records in CS:GO history
— PGL (@pglesports) November 9, 2021
Majors refers to the professional CS:GO tournaments which are held annually. These tournaments began at DreamHack Winter in 2013 and are sponsored by Valve. Two Majors are held in a year at several locations with 24 teams competing. The stages of the competition start with the New Challengers Stage followed by the New Legends Stage and then the New Champions Stage where the 8 remaining teams battle to emerge the Major Champion.
The PGL Major Stockholm 2021 had a prize pool of $2,000,000. It was won by the Natus Vincere team who went home with a $1,000,000 cash prize.
Fortnite – Fortnite World Cup
— Fortnite Competitive (@FNCompetitive) November 11, 2021
Making the top three of our highest esports earning games is Fortnite. The World Cup has one of the highest prize pools in any esports competition. The inaugural tournament was held in 2019 with over $30 million awarded between its “Solo” and “Duo” events. Nyhrox + aqua won the Duo while the highest esports earnings Fortnite player Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf won the “Solo”.
With recent events globally, Epic announced that there will be no tournaments in 2021. Nonetheless, fans can look forward to other competitions like the Fortnite Champion Series (FNCS) and Fortnite Fall Skirmish Series. The just concluded Chapter 2 Season 8 FNCS was a huge success with a prize pool of $3,000,000 split among winners across the following regions:
- Europe – $1,351,200
- North America East – $635,100
- Brazil – $428,175,
- North America West – $222,300
- Asia – $150,600
- Middle East – $122,250
- Oceania – $90,450.
League of Legends – League of Legends World Championships
IT ALL COMES DOWN TO THIS:
Game 5 starts NOW!
— LoL Esports (@lolesports) November 6, 2021
League of Legends World Championships started back in 2011. The tournament features 24 teams from across the globe. The 2021 League of Legends World Championship took place in Reykjavik, Iceland, between October 5th to November 6th. This last tournament featured 22 teams, but due to travel restrictions, two teams from Vietnam could not join. The structure of the tournament was as follows:
- A 10 team Play-in round
- A 16 team Group stage
- An 8 team Single-elimination bracket
The prize pool of this tournament was $2,225,000. The winner was EDward Gaming, who collected $489,500 in esports winnings.
PUBG – PUBG Mobile Global Championship
Your Global Champions Nova Esports of the PUBG MOBILE GLOBAL CHAMPIONSHIP 2020 Finals Season Zero!
Standing proud with their 1st place $700,000 prize and trophy! 🏆 pic.twitter.com/95QhbIuXvU
— Iskandar Ali (@yapompiow) January 27, 2021
PUBG Mobile Global Championship features a total of 16 teams. This is quite different from the PC Championship that features 32. The Mobile Championship takes the following format:
- A League Competition which has 20 teams for each Division. The best 16 teams advance to the League finals.
- A League final which is competed in by the 16 teams. The best 6 from the West Division (Europe, Middle East, Africa and Americas) and the best 9 from the East Division (Asia, Oceania) advance to the Grand finals.
- Grand finals. Here, the 15 teams from East and West as well as a Grands Final invitee compete to win.
The 2021 tournament is scheduled from November 30, 2021 to January 23rd, 2022. It has a prize pool of $4,530,000.
StarCraft II – DH SC 2 Masters
We wrapped up Winter and crowned 👑 Maru our Winter Champion. Thank you to all who watched and cheered this season! 🙌
— ESL StarCraft 2 (@ESLSC2) November 19, 2021
The Dreamhack StarCraft 2 (DH SC 2) Masters 2021 Winter is the third online global event of the ESL Pro Tour for the year with the following structure:
- A group stage of four groups with four players each. The top 2 in each group advance to Playoffs.
- Playoffs: The top 8 players from the group stage compete here.
The tournament is played across servers in the Americas, Europe and South Korea. At the just concluded DreamHack SC2 Masters Winter, the prize pool was $50,000. Maru from Team NV was awarded $12,500 as prize for taking 1st place.
StarCraft II had other top tournaments like the World Championship Series, one of the biggest yearly events but it ceased in 2019. The biggest prize pool of this game was in the 2017 StarCraft II World Championship Series Global Finals which was $700,000. The competition was won by Rogue who took the 1st prize of $280,000. The entire esports prize money awarded from StarCraft II from 6219 tournaments is $35,861,899.78.
Arena of Valor – Honor of Kings World Champion Cup
The format of the tournament included:
- A group stage in which there are 2 groups of 12 teams and the top 4 teams in each group move to the knockout stage
- A knockout stage
- Quarter Finals
- A Grand Final
In 2021, the prize pool of the tournament was $7,680,730. QG Happy, the winners of the tournament took home a whopping amount worth $3,251,669.00.
Overwatch – Overwatch League
The #OWL2021 season might be over, but the memory will live on in these incredible tournament sprays 🎨
For those who earned it, the Countdown Cup spray will be patched in at a later date. Thanks for watching! pic.twitter.com/3iwNpzZnUB
— Overwatch League (@overwatchleague) October 13, 2021
In seventh on our list of esports with prize money is Overwatch. The Overwatch League had its inaugural season in 2018. In this tournament, a total of 20 teams compete. These teams are in 2 conferences and further grouped into divisions. The format is just like a standard league where each team is scheduled to play the other, with the aim of getting a place in the playoffs.
- A regular season
Esports earnings Overwatch had a prize pool at the value of $4,250,000 in 2021. The winners of the prize money were Shanghai Dragons.
Hearthstone – Hearthstone World Championship
The end of the Masters Tour Undercity marks the end to @PlayHearthstone Grandmasters Promotion for 2022 and 15 NEW PLAYERS are set to join the league 👏
Who are the new blood and how will they shake up @HSesports 2022?
— Esports (@esports) November 24, 2021
One of the top Hearthstone tournaments is the Grandmasters Finale, and in 2020 it came with the largest tournament prize pool of $500,000, with first place winning $200,000. The championship gathers two players each from China, Asia-Pacific, Europe and Americas.
- A group stage with both groups having four players. The best two players from each group advance to the Playoffs
Rainbow Six Siege – Six Invitational
— Rainbow Six Esports (@R6esports) November 16, 2021
Six Invitational is the Rainbow Six Siege Major tournament. The competition comprises 20 teams. It is structured as follows:
- Group stage (with two groups of 10 teams)
- Playoffs (the best 4 from each group proceed to play in the upper segment of the Playoffs.)
The Six Invitational has a prize pool of $3,000,000 of which the 1st position wins $1,000,000.
How Do Esports Players Make Money?
For players from esports earning countries, making money is possible through several means. While one may think the prize money is where the gamers solely gain from, this is not the case. For example sponsorships is a major income source, as well as other streams of income for esports gamers that are provided below:
Sponsorships come in various forms, the most common being jersey sponsorships. It is the reason each team’s jersey has a brand they publicize. For instance, very recently, Team Gullit named Samsung as its official sponsor. Hence, their shirts have the Samsung Logo. Players then get their profit from these sponsorships in their salaries.
Selling merchandise is a big part of every esports organization's source of income. Everything from apparel, coffee mugs and keyrings, to partnerships with computer hardware manufacturers, are revenue generating strategies that earn esports players substantial amounts of money. One good example of this is 100 Thieves who raised $500,000 within 5 minutes in one of its merch sales.
By competing in tournaments, the players earn prize money. There is usually a prize pool and most tournaments reward the esports organisations that have taken part in their competitions. The team placed first gets a huge chunk of the prize pool while the rest gets shared amongst the other competitors. For instance in Dota 2, The International 2021 tournament had a $40,018,195 prize pool with the team placing first receiving $18,000,000.
Broadcasting and Streaming
Esports streaming platforms like Twitch and Youtube have provided other means of earning for esports players. These sites are used to stream gameplay of esports tournaments. Broadcasting is a perfect money making venture for an esports player with millions of subscribers as they tune in each time the host streams a game. This is due to the extra excitement they provide, it could be in the form of a hilarious commentary or giveaways during the stream.
Esports Earnings History and Future
The period during which gaming tournaments were limited to offline play or arcades are over. With the number of esports games, players and fans increasing, the industry is now valued at more than one billion dollars. The best thing about this is it’s only the start.
As already established, esports earnings are available not just to the players, but even to esports bettors via real money bets. So, if you’ve always wondered how you too can benefit from esports earnings, you should learn our latest esports betting tips from our academy. Moreover, make sure you take advantage of the esports bonuses provided for you there.
Best Esports Betting Sites
Profits in esports are not restricted to the players and teams. As a spectator, you too can win from any of these esports tournaments. You can do this when you properly predict the outcome of an event. To take full advantage, you need to know the sites that are secured, offer esports bonuses and where to get esports betting tips. We have provided the best sites which offer you variety of betting markets below:
1xBet tops our list for obvious reasons. The sportsbook boasts of several esports games such as DOTA 2, League of Legends, StarCraft 2, and even FIFA and Valorant amongst others. The site not only provides various games but allows you to easily bet on different markets even on the go. You should look up this recent in-depth review of 1xBet.
|Up to €100||
Apart from its very user-friendly interface, Bet365 is your best bet for esports with their cashout options. The customer support of the site is outstanding as it functions 24/7. Here, you get to wager on competitions of prominent esports like CS:GO, DOTA 2, CoD among many other esports markets. For bonus offers and more information on this operator, do check our full bet365 review.
|Up to £100 in bet credit||
The sportsbook boasts of several esports games such as DOTA 2, League of Legends, StarCraft 2, and even Warzone amongst others. The site not only provides various games but offers the most attractive betting odds. You should look up this recent in-depth review of Pinnacle.
Esports Earnings FAQs
How much money does the esports industry make?
The esports industry makes over $100,000,000 yearly. The esports earnings 2021 currently stand at $157,918,404.80 from a total of 3,316 tournaments. The amount is projected to increase when the current pandemic is curbed as the esports earnings 2020 were affected.
What is the highest paid esport?
The highest paid esports is DOTA 2. Currently, it has paid out the sum of $46,911,608.86 to 774 players over the course of 65 tournaments.
Who are the richest esports gamers of all time?
The players who are ranked as having earned highest from esports gaming include Dota 2 gamer “N0tail” ($7,176,371), Fortnite gamer, “Bugha” ($3,151,650) and CSGO gamer, “dupreeh” ($1,958,373).
How much money do esports players make?
In general, most professional players in the top tiers will make between $3,000-5,000 USD per month on average. Furthermore, through winning esports prize money, streaming and sponsorships, some streamers manage to make millions of dollars.
Is esports a good career?
Yes. Making a career out of esports is a step in the right direction in esports earning countries. This is evident in the attractive pay in which esports players recieve. Apart from esports players, there are other profitable esports careers such as the coaches, production, socials, media etc.
Our Final Verdict on Esports Earnings
Right from Rainbow Six Siege, to Overwatch, to PUBG, all the way to Dota 2 which has the highest prize pool, Esports earnings are very attractive. This is a factor that will keep more young players drawn to having careers in esports.
Another great thing about esport earnings is that they do not need to be enjoyed only by players directly involved in the esports gaming; individuals like you can also have a share in this booming industry via esports betting. We have provided the top sites for esports betting in this esports earning review. Simply register with either of them to get your share in this profit-filled industry.