As with other competitive sports, there is the potential for eSports teams and individual players to make money. Without that income, there would be no professional eSports players. Giving up your day job means you have to have enough revenue coming in from playing eSports. The most obvious manner is to win a competition, a multi-million dollar prize pool, but not every team can do that at the outset. Professional eSports players can now earn a decent living by using their gaming talents, and the income can cost from multiple sources.
Sponsorships are a big part of eSports. The immense exposure and relatively untapped opportunities mean companies are queuing up to sponsor the right team or player. There are partnership deals in place between individual players and manufacturers of related equipment ensuring the player utilize and publicize the use of their products, which could be mice, headphones or a computer brand. In recent years there have been high-profile eSports sponsorships deals with industry giants like Microsoft, Google, YouTube, Twitch, Sony, Doritos, Coca-Cola, and Red Bull all jumping aboard.
Compensation Salaries for Players
Players do receive financial compensation by way of salaries, with teams willing to reward them fairly for their efforts. Salaries vary from team to team, and exact details of amounts are sketchy. Championships such as the League of Legends LoL, each team is given a set amount of money to help provide player salaries and assist with operational expenses. A handbook issued a few years ago specified a salary of $12,500 per player for a 28 match season, which works out at $450 a game. Current salaries tend to be much higher, especially for the leading teams. It is not unheard of that players earn above $75,000, which rises to a further $25,000 in performance and signing bonuses. Salaries are also based on player reputation, skill and following on social media and Twitch.
The Holy Grail: Winning a Tournament
The prize for winning a major tournament or league can run into millions of dollars. Runners-up also get a share of the prize pool money, and these prize amounts increase from year to year. There are several significant competitions like Dreamhack, Canada and Dota 2, The International. Different regions from around the globe have their own leagues with high prizes for top placings. In CS:GO competitions, teams that qualify for the major are given a portion of the revenue from the sale of in-game stickers viewers purchase to support their favorite teams. As a team becomes more consistent, they move up the world rankings, increase their profile and boost their potential earnings.
Live Streaming on Twitch
Twitch is the premier live game streaming platform today, with YouTube hot on its heels. Players have their own Twitch account where they can steam their gaming sessions in real-time. The possibilities of engaging with their audience via live chat and a video stream of the player and the game itself are immense. Once players build up a following, they start to get recognized by teams and sponsors. Once viewership is built up, the possibilities of making money from streaming increase substantially.
It takes grueling practice seasons to build up gaming skills, so why shouldn’t players stream those sessions and make money at the same time? Twitch TV offers players multiple opportunities and fans the chance to watch their favorite players live in a nurtured online community. Many eSports players take to online streaming to supplement their income. With each subscriber paying a fee, half goes to the player. 2,000 subscribers could net a player $2,000 a month. Monetizing ads while streaming is another option and players can even raise money by taking donations from viewers to raise funds for their favorite charity.
Players’ Revenue Streams
In eSports, players have tremendous possibilities to earn money. As the industry grows, their fan base will become more valuable providing the player is a skilled gamer, can exert influence over buyers and continues to develop a reputation. As with all competitive sports, players come and go. Willingness to diversify and innovate will remain crucial to maintaining a diversified revenue stream.