How Easy Is It To Make Money From Esports?
How easy is it to make money from esports? I often find myself wondering about the answer to this question.
There are many of us out there that could only dream of making money from playing video games competitively, but if you want to take that dream into the realm of reality, how hard would it be?
In this article, I take a look at the opportunities there are out there to make money from playing competitively, I dive into how it’s possible that pro gaming teams can actually make money, and also how there may be other opportunities to pull in cash from the industry.
How Do Pro Gaming Teams Make Money?
Now that the esports industry has matured to the point where the entire scene is worth more than a billion dollars, there are many different methods that pro gaming teams use to make money. In this section, I’ll go over the main methods available.
Perhaps the most obvious is prize pool winnings from winning events. Every major tournament will have a prize pool. The better a pro gaming team does in the tournament, the more money they’ll take home. Many major esports titles now have multiple tournaments each year that have prize pools of over $1 million, so there’s plenty of opportunity within just the prize pools itself. It doesn’t just stop there, though. There is also some level of developer support for pro gaming teams. In League of Legends, for example, Riot requires that all LCS players are paid at least $12,500 per year whilst under contract.
In CS:GO, teams that make it into the major are paid a portion of revenue that comes from the sale of in-game stickers that the everyday player can purchase to support their favorite team. Finally, and perhaps the most lucrative opportunity for pro gaming teams, is sponsorships. Esports tournaments attract hundreds of thousands of viewers, and sponsors will pay top dollars to sponsor teams and individual players. There’s relatively little information about how much pro gaming teams get paid, but it all depends on how big the team is and how big their fanbase is.
Pro Gaming Money, In Summary:
- Pro gamers make money from esports by winning tournaments
- Some developers financially support the pro players that play their game competitively
- Sponsors pay out a lot to have their products sponsored by a team
How Easy Is It To Be a Pro Gamer?
Being a pro gamer isn’t easy. Just like any other professional sport, it takes hours of dedication and practice each week. To be able to compete at a high level, you’ll need to be able to put in as many training hours as your competition is. For many teams, that means putting in 8-10 hours per day.
If you can’t put that many hours in due to work or school, you may still be able to compete at a slightly lower level and enter intermediate tournaments. You’ll also need to find a team that’s willing to grind out the training and practice hours with you. It may come as a surprise, but finding a consistent team of players that can get along together and fight through the difficulties is the hardest part to competing in games like CS:GO and League of Legends.
If you’d rather be picked up by an existing team looking for skilled players, your best shout is to play well on competitive ladders. This may mean fighting your way into ESEA’s S Rank on CS:GO, or fighting into the Challenger ladder in League Of Legends. This may seem like an impossible task, but if you can’t accomplish that, you may find later on that you’re just not skilled enough to compete at a high level.
Finally, you need to be able to deal with the emotional stress that it takes to play competitively. Nobody truly understands how emotionally challenging it can be to constantly work towards playing better against other teams only to be defeated every last time. The esports industry is incredibly cut throat and you have to be ruthless to stay at the top. There’s a reason why there are so many instances of players breaking down in tears after winning a big event.
You never get to see how much effort goes into the practice and training behind the scenes. Here’s a recap of how you can get involved in the pro gaming scene.
As a Group:
- Play with your team regularly, as much as possible.
- Play against other teams in your practice time and use these matches to learn more about how to play effectively.
- Enter in online tournaments. (A quick search for tournaments can find some good results)
- Enter qualifiers for major tournaments held by the game developers.
As an Individual:
- Climb through the leaderboards in your game of choice.
- Make it to the top of the leaderboards and then start looking for teams that are hiring you.
- Play regularly, and always pay attention to your gameplay so that you’re constantly improving.
- Realize that playing competitively with a team is an entirely new experience.
Other Money Making Opportunities In Esports
If you struggle to make it as a pro gamer, there are still other ways to make money from esports. In this section, we take a look at some other options you could look into to make money.
Another industry that has blown up alongside the esports scene in recent years is the world of video game streaming. If you feel like you can do a better job at entertaining people online than you can at playing at a competitive level, you may find that you’ll have a better chance at making money by streaming.
Twitch.tv is a great place to start. You’ll need to stream regularly and at consistent times to build your viewership to the point where you can start making money. It could take anywhere from a few months to a few years to see success. It all depends on who sees you and when.
Bet On Teams
If you’re really into a specific esports game and know your teams in and out, you may have a good chance at betting on the outcome of teams in competitive matches.
A lot of bookies are very new to the scene, so if you’ve been around the esports scene for longer, you might have some insider information on teams that the bookies wouldn’t consider when setting their odds. You can check out a list of the most-rated esports bookmakers out there in the list here.
Get A Job Within The Industry
You don’t have to be a pro gamer to be a part of the esports industry. There are now many opportunities to make money. You could write about esports on a website like this, or you could try to become an esports analyst or shoutcaster for lower tier tournaments.
Alternatively, you could use other skills you have to get hired by tournament organization companies like ESL, Dreamhack, LCS, or ECS.
Hopefully this information has helped you to learn more about how you could potentially land a job within the esports industry.