How Much Money Can eSports Teams, Players and Organizers Really Make?

17 April 2018By: adrian

Competitive gaming is one of the fastest rising sports in the world right now. It has overtaken many top sports in terms of viewership and money generated and while it is still a long way off sports like football and soccer, it’s catching up fast. To show you just how far this industry has come after being relatively unheard of a few years ago, let’s see what you can expect to earn as a player, team and organizer.

Players and Teams

Most eSports involve teams, as opposed to single players. This is true for battle arena games, first-person shooters and even card games like Hearthstone. Everything is team based and that seems to be the way the industry prefers it. As a result, the amount of money a player earns will depend on the player’s share and the team’s success.

But if you discount the prize money, which can be well into 6 figures for single tournaments, they still earn a lot of money from just being in the team. They train and practice like other sports teams and they also do promotional events online and offline. They get paid by their sponsors to do this, earning a salary in exchange for wearing the brand and promoting it every now and then. They may also sign over a percentage of their tournament earnings.

The best gamers can earn a salary of around $30,000 to $60,000 a year before the prize pools are factored in, rumors have it that the salaries can reach even higher ends than that. And it is not unheard of for the very best teams, the elite of the elite, to pick up more than $1 million a year for their troubles.

The biggest event at Dreamhack pays out half a million dollars to the winning team and there are many events, many games and many opportunities throughout the year.


In the early days, the organizers put on big events just to promote their games and keep the players happy. The prize pools were small because they didn’t want to charge big entry fees and they didn’t have the means to draw in money from other sources.

These days they have more than enough money and reason to create huge prize pools. Events like Dreamhack can earn tens of millions of dollars, only a fraction of which they give away in prize pools to the players themselves.

They make a lot of money from advertising and from TV rights and there are also streams and other revenue sources to take into consideration. Dreamhack is like the World Cup for eSports so it’s always going to be the most profitable, but there are other tournaments that can be highly profitable as well.

Most of these are created by the game’s developers and serve as a platform to promote the game. They are also the ones paying the teams and putting money in the prize pool.

Other People Profiting from eSports

One of the biggest industries that is profiting from eSports right now is the gambling industry, which we know all too well on this site. The likes of Pinnacle have been here since the beginning and have earned huge amounts by letting customers bet on matches and tournaments, but now companies like Betfair and Bet365 are also jumping onboard.

Of course, gambling is not a certain earner, even for the ones making the odds, but it tends to earn in the long-run and when you have an industry that generates so many bets from so many players, you have a lot of potential for profit.

The sponsors are also seeing opportunities. The industry is in its infancy and that means that it is a very cheap option for advertising. It’s a win-win for big brands because whenever an industry is new, it means the people involved with it are less predisposed to ignoring marketing tricks and sponsored content. And because it’s new, the organizers, teams and players are selling themselves and their events for less than they would in other sports.