10 of the highest-paid esports players, including one with a $7 million fortune
The esports industry is booming, with some of the world's best professional esports players earning millions of dollars by competing in the world's most prestigious tournaments.
According to market research firm NewZoo, global esports revenues will reach $1.084 billion in 2021, up from $947.1 million in 2020, a 14.5 percent increase year over year.
Furthermore, by 2021, the total global esports audience will have grown by 8.7% year on year to 474 million people, with the majority of the audience coming from China (92.8 million), the United States, and Brazil.
The League of Legends World Championship had the most live viewership hours on Twitch and YouTube in 2020, with 91.9 million hours of watch time during the tournament.
To put that in perspective, it's the equivalent of 61,266,666 90-minute football games.
Professional esports players make the majority of their money from prize money from official esports competitions, and the majority of top players are also paid a salary by the esports team they are signed to; however, players can also make significant money from platforms like YouTube, Twitch, and other streaming platforms, as well as official sponsorship deals; the higher-profile the player, the higher the earning potential.
So, how much do the best esports players make, and what games do they play? We looked at the highest-earning esports players of all time from the top 10 gaming titles.
The total prize money won was $7.183 million.
The International 2019 won the largest single prize of $3.124 million.
Age: 28 years old (as of October 8, 1993)
Johan 'N0tail' Sundstein is the highest-paid esports athlete of all time, according to esportsearnings.com, with Sundstein competing in the strategy game Dota 2. Dota 2 is by far the most lucrative esports title in terms of prize money, with over $276 million paid out to players over 1564 tournaments to date.
The total prize money won was $3.175 million.
The most money won in a single game was $3 million (Fornite World Cup Solos 2019).
United States nationality
(December 30, 2002) Age: 18
Kyle 'Bugha' Giersdorf, who was only 16 years old when he won $3 million at the Fortnite World Cup in 2019, became the second-highest-paid esports player of all time.
Giersdorf is one of the most popular esports professionals in the world, with 4.9 million Twitch followers and 4.19 million YouTube subscribers.
The total prize money won was $1.937 million.
Nationality: Denmark; Largest Single Prize: $200,000 (Intel Grand Slam Season 1).
28 years old (as of March 26, 2002)
In a career that began in 2012, Danish CS:GO (Counter-Strike: Global Offensive) player Peter 'dupreeh' Rasmussen has earned nearly $2 million in prize money from 163 professional esports tournaments.
The 28-year-old's biggest win came in December 2018, when he took home $200,000 in the Intel Grand Slam Season 1 tournament. Total Prize Money Won: $1.333 Million
The most money ever won in a single game was $300,000 (Call of Duty League Championship 2020).
Ian Porter, 29, is the highest-paid Call of Duty player of all time, having won around $1.3 million in prize money from 165 tournaments, competing on titles such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, and Halo.
The total prize money won was $1.309 million.
The most money ever won in a single game was $338,000 (LoL 2016 World Championship).
Republic of Korea is my nationality.
Lee 'Faker' Sang Hyeok is a professional League of Legends player who is widely regarded as the best player of all time.
Faker has won over $1.3 million in prize money from 56 tournaments, with his biggest win coming in 2016 when he won $338,000 in the League of Legends 2016 World Championship.
The total prize money won was $1.114 million.
Alec 'Arcitys' Sanderson has had an incredible 2021, winning $300,000 in the Call of Duty League Championship in August of this year, the biggest win of his esports career to date.
Since 2016, the American has been a professional esports player, competing in a variety of Call of Duty games.
The total prize money won was $1.06 million.
The largest single prize won was $150,000 (CWL Championship 2017).
(June 30, 1995) Age: 26
Seth 'Scump' Abner has earned just over $1 million competing against the world's best Call of Duty players, but his biggest win came in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare in 2017, when he won $150,000 in the CWL Championship 2017.
The total prize money won was $1.003 million.
The largest single prize won was one million dollars (Shadowverse World Grand Prix 2018).
This mysterious Japanese esports player has climbed to eighth place on this list after winning a $1 million prize in a Shadowverse tournament in 2018, a strategic multiplayer digital card game.
The total prize money won was $958,422.
The largest single prize won was $200,000 (WESG 2017).
Cho 'Maru' Sung Choo, 24, has earned just under $1 million in prize money for competing against the best in the real-time strategy game Starcraft II.
In 2018, the Japanese esports pro won $200,000 at the age of 20 and has since gone on to become one of the best players in the game's history.
The total prize money won was $914,093 dollars.
The most money won in a single game was $500,000 (PUBG Global Championship 2019).
Bak 'Loki' Jeong Yeong, age 23, has earned just over $900,000 competing against the best in PUBG (Playerunknown's Battlegrounds), the massively popular Battle Royale shooter game, with titles like Fortnite and Call of Duty: Warzone using the same game mode to great success.
Jaden "Wolfiez" Ashman, 17, is the highest-paid British esports player of all time, having won dollar1.125 million in the Fortnite World Cup Duo Finals in 2019. The youngster is currently signed to British esports organization Excel Esports and has earned dollar1.34 million in his esports career to date.
Saudi Arabian star Mossad "Msdossary" Aldossary is the highest-paid EA Sports FIFA player of all time, with prize money totaling around $600,000. His biggest win came in the FIFA eWorld Cup Grand Final in 2018, when he finished first and won $250,000.
Sasha Hostyn of Canada is the highest-paid female esports player of all time, having won around $419,000 in prize money for competing in Starcraft II.