How much do League of Legends pros make?

By LoL Smurfs

eSports

How much do League of Legends pros make?


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Less than a decade ago the idea of playing video games to earn a good salary would have been considered insane. Now, not only do the professional League of Legends players earn a salary, but it’s actually almost six figures.

The money in eSports is huge and this is proven by the size of the sponsors and the prize funds as big as $2,000,000. The amount a specific professional player earns will vary per person but here is our take on the question: How much does a professional League of Legends player make?

Different Income Streams for Pro-gamers

To find out roughly how much a professional League player makes we need to consider many things. Important factors are their region, their success, their income streams and their personality. We’ve looked around the internet at some credible sources and here are our findings.

How LoL Pros Earn their Money

Being a League of Legends professional player can be difficult because you have to manage many different sources of revenue. Thankfully your organization can often do this for you.

For League of Legends pros here are some of their primary methods for earning money:

  • Sponsorships
  • Streaming Advertisements, Subscribers and Sponsors
  • Website Partnerships such as LoL-smurfs and G2A
  • Their wage which is usually provided by the team
  • Prize money from Tournaments
  • Merchandise through the organization or their own shops

The problem is the revenue streams aren’t as simple as adding up the totals in the above list. Take prize money for example: If your in a 5 man team and you win the $25,000 prize then you get $5000 each right? Wrong. Some teams will evenly split their money out between players, some teams will take their own cut, some teams will give their substitute players a portion of the winnings, some teams will give their players none of the prize money but a higher salary; the possibilities are almost limitless.

The same confusion can come into play with sponsorships. The professional League of Legends scene is highly sponsored with some big names but this money could go directly to the player or to the organization the player represents. The amount of money a professional LoL player earns will change depending on their organization even if all the revenue streams remain the same.

How much do LoL Pros Earn from Tournaments?

The amount a professional League of Legends player earns from tournaments depends on how well they perform. In 2015 the League of Legends world championship had over $2,000,000 in the prize pool with the winners receiving $1,000,000. At the current time there has been around $25 million given out in prize money for competitive League of Legends and this number will continue to grow during the 2016 season.

The most successful League of Legends player ever, Faker, has taken home around $515,000 in prize money since 2013. That’s around $150,000 a year in prize money alone. While Korea is considered one of the most successful regions of all time it’s still impressive to consider that Dyrus from NA earned $148,000 during his professional career. The amount of money players earn for winning tournaments is pretty good when you consider that they receive a salary on top of this. Of course this number can be a lot smaller if your team doesn’t win anything.

How much do LoL Pros Earn from Streaming?

  twitch

Streaming is the real income stream for most professional League of Legends players. When a streamer appears on Twitch.tv it’s possible for his viewers to subscribe to him which gives them unique benefits. This feature costs $4.99 but the streamer only receives half of this ($2.50). If you consider a streamer with a few thousand subscribers this can very easily add up. Just 2,000 subs will give you around $60,000 every single year.

Another way you can make money on Twitch is to play advertisements. It’s estimated that you’ll receive around $2.00 per 1,000 viewers although people with ad block won’t count for this. It’s not uncommon for players like Imaqtpie to have around 30,000 viewers although around 17% of these will have some form of Ad block enabled. With around 25000 viewers available to watch an advert this gives Imaqtpie $50 per advert. If he plays just one advert per day this is $1500 a month or around $18,000 a year – at just one advert per day!

The money available for streamers on twitch.tv is insane – so much so that some professional players have even quit the LCS to focus on streaming full time. It’s fully possible for a popular and entertaining LoL streamer to earn around six figures per year from streams alone.

How much do LoL Pros earn from Salaries?

Until around 2015 the salary for League of Legends professional players varied massively. Some organizations would pay fair salaries and some didn’t pay at all. In the official 2015 LCS Rule Book Riot introduced a rule that states that all starter players must be given a minimum of $12,500 per split, although some teams pay above this.

The amount of money a professional LoL player earns from their salary will vary depending on how good they are. It’s not unlikely for the star players to receive higher wages to keep them from moving to other organizations. Certain regions also pay higher than others and this doesn’t include any benefits players receive like free rent, free food, free gym membership etc.

How much do LoL Pros earn from Sponsorships? 

 lol sponsors

Sponsorships vary massively in size. Some sponsors will be small brands that offer players a cut of any sales they make. Other sponsorships will be from massive companies such as T-Mobile or Corsair. These big name brands can sponsor teams to wear their branded gear and will usually pay for the professional players travel expenses, entry fees and living expenses. In 2013 it was reported that the big name professional player Ocelote made around $950,000 from sponsorships and in 2014 it was suggested Faker was being offered a contract worth a million dollars by a Chinese company.

So How Much Total Does a Pro Gamer Make?

It’s hard to say because it varies per player. Some players won’t use all available revenue streams and some will. Some big named professional League of Legends players have got close to $1,000,000 from a single year but these are rare cases. While eSports stars aren’t earning the same amount of money that sports stars earn it’s certainly not a tough wage to live on. The average wage for a professional League of Legends player can be estimated to be around $75,000 a year through a combination of the above methods.

The downside is being a professional gamer isn’t a 9-5 job. You work round the clock playing the same game every single day to improve your mental and physical skills. It might sound fun but it can become tedious and the game loses the fun aspect. It takes dedication and hundreds of hours of work to earn the six figure salaries playing video games but if you want to do it then it’s definitely a valid career to pursue.

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