View the highest-earning eSports players
Hover over each charted average to see the top five highest-earning players of each year, how much they made, and how much eSports champions could earn in the future.
Profile of a Winner
By comparing historical eSports data from the last 20 years, we looked at the highest-paying events, game genres and game titles, along with the highest-earning countries, players and teams, to establish what’s really worth playing in 2019 and beyond.
JerAx, or Jesse Vainikka, was the highest-earning eSports player in 2018 with a yearly gain of $2,290,631.60. The professional Dota 2 player from Finland made his name in the MOBA Heroes of Newerth and currently plays for Team OG - the highest-earning team of 2018. And it’s not just JerAx who had a good year, as the top five players of 2018 have made an impressive $11,352,543 between them.
Based on the average amount won by the historical highest earners, the highest-earning player is set to win an impressive $3,293,996 in 2019 - $1,000,000 more than JerAx. Players change every year, so it’s impossible to truly predict who will claim the top spot in the next five years - could it be you?
The United States made the most money playing eSports in 2018, with the country’s 3,189 players taking an impressive $28,194,895 from the total $151,948,381 prize money paid out during the year. Although the US were the top earners in 2018, China has amounted the most in winnings over the last five years, making $78,855,812 since 2014.
China is set to regain the top spot in 2019 with predicted earnings of $45,750,768 while the US follows closely behind with $34,369,132. eSports prize pools are expected to keep rising for the next five years, meaning China could claim a whopping $278,473,644 of winnings by 2023.
Dota 2 has been the highest-paying game since 2014, awarding a total of $164,520,337 in prize money over the past five years. The MOBA is a sequel to Defense of the Ancients, which has awarded $857,421 in winnings since 1998. Battle Royale game Fortnite has risen in popularity since its release in 2017 to become one of the highest-paying games in 2018, awarding $20,074,787 to eSports players.
The average amount made from the highest-paying games is predicted to decrease in 2019, dropping from $21,118,833 to $15,771,323. Despite this, the top game will see a $1,536,780 increase in winnings for 2019 and a total prize pool of $55,562,196 in 2023.
Formed in 2015, Team OG are best known for winning The International 2018, where they claimed the top prize of $11,234,158. While European Team OG took the top spot for highest earnings in 2018 with an income of $11,465,456 from 20 tournaments, Dutch runners-up Team Liquid have claimed an impressive $23,470,019 from 853 tournaments since 2016.
The top team of 2019 is set to make $6,465,348 more than Team OG took last year, with the average win increasing from $6,385,718 to $9,173,858. Although Team OG and Team Liquid have had good runs over the past few years, it remains to be seen whether their success will continue - or if it’s time for a new team to reign supreme.
The International has been one of the top three highest-paying eSports events for the last eight years, paying out a total of $106,525,653 since it was founded in 2011. Hosted by Valve Corporation, the annual Dota 2 tournament held the record for offering the largest eSports prize pool for a single tournament in 2015 with $18,429,613, before being surpassed by the 2016 and 2017 Internationals.
The International will remain the highest-paying event for the next five years, with the prize pool predicted to be around $46,779,332 for the 2019 tournament. Given Fornite’s rise in popularity over the last year, it’s not surprising that the Fornite Fall Skirmish Series is also expected to be a rewarding event for 2019, with a predicted prize pool of $11,265,746.
Multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) has been the highest-paying eSports genre for the last seven years, handing out a total $266,126,445 in prize money since 2012. Defined as a real-time strategy subgenre, popular MOBA games include Dota 2, League of Legends and SMITE, with Dota 2 remaining one of the top three highest-paying games since its release in 2011.
The average amount made by players is set to dip in 2019, dropping from $29,738,058 to $25,486,368. Despite this drop, MOBA games are predicted to remain the highest-paying genre with an expected payout of $83,768,792 in 2019. This represents a $12,800,000 increase on the year before.