Highest Paid eSports Players in the World

Contents

Many people still think of video games as a diversion for children. But the reality is that eSports is the fastest-growing segment within the entire sporting world, and revenues are skyrocketing.

As of 2017, the estimated total value of eSports at over $1.5 billion. The richest tournament in eSports history, the 2018 International, featured a total prize pool of over $25 million, with a first prize of more than $11 million. At present, 69 players spanning across four different games have become millionaires due to their eSports winnings. By the end of 2019, that number may well be over 100. The biggest esports live events rival the Super Bowl.

Colleges are realizing that eSports are a serious enterprise, with more than 120 US universities and colleges offering eSports programs. Increasingly, becoming an eSports competitor is a viable career path for the best of the best.

What’s especially exciting about the eSports industry is how much growth potential yet remains. Currently, the vast majority of the fanbase for eSports are people in their teens, twenties, and thirties. These are the first few generations to grow up with ubiquitous online gaming. As time goes on, a greater and greater percentage of the overall population will be within the potential audience pool for eSports.

Young people with talent at online games can seriously consider pursuing a career in eSports. Like any ruthlessly merit-based occupation, competition is fierce and hard work and dedication are required to succeed. But for the first time, revenue, prize pools, and sponsorship opportunities make eSports a hugely lucrative opportunity.

Overall Top 10 Highest Paid eSports Players

1. Johan Sundstein

Country– Denmark
Nickname– N0tail
Overall Earnings– $3,752,055.59
2020 Earnings– 17,092.00
2019 Earnings– $17,000.00
2018 Earnings– $2,282,716.63
Highest Paying Game– Dota 2
Age– 25
Biggest Prize– $2,246,831.60 – The International 2018, Dota 2

Sundstein, known as N0tail or BigDaddyN0tail, is a support currently playing for Team OG competing at Dota 2. N0Tail and OG are the defending champions of The International, the most prestigious and lucrative Dota2 tournament in the world, having captured the crown in 2018.

2. Jesse Vainikka

Country– Finland
Nickname– JerAx
Overall Earnings– $3,323,463.82
2020 Earnings– $548.76
2019 Earnings– $17,000.00
2018 Earnings– $2,290,631.60
Highest Paying Game– Dota 2
Age– 26
Biggest Prize– $2,246,831.60 – The International 2018, Dota 2

Vainikka, known as JerAx, is a support who currently plays for Team OG at the top flights of Dota 2. JerAx has been a part of some of the strongest Dota 2 professional teams, including Team Liquid, although he left Liquid before their 2017 The International win. JerAx would capture his own The International title with Team OG the following year.

3. Anathan Pham

Country– Australia
Nickname– Ana
Overall Earnings– $6,000,411.96
2020 Earnings– N/A
2019 Earnings– 3,146,536.20
2018 Earnings– 2,249,136.18
Highest Paying Game– Dota 2
Age– 20
Biggest Prize– $3,124,036.20 – The International 2019

Ana has been an integral part of the OG esports dynasty in Dota 2 as he has been a member of the OG Dota squad since 2017. He plays as a position 1 hero for OG and is one of the best aggressors in the world. Pham is currently taking a break from competitive Dota but is expected to return to OG soon.

4. Sebastien Debs

Country– France
Nickname– Ceb
Overall Earnings– $5,501,233.01
2020 Earnings– 12,000.00
2019 Earnings-$3,163,536.20
2018 Earnings– $2,280,216.63
Highest Paying Game– Dota 2
Age- 28
Biggest Prize– $3,124,036.20 – The International 2019

Ceb is a member of the OG dynasty as well and has been a member of the team since 2018. Since he joined the team, OG has won every major tournament in Dota 2, speaking to his importance to the team. He originally joined OG as a coach but filled in for a player at one tournament and eventually moved to their permanent offlane player full-time.

5. Topias Taavitsainen

Country– Finland
Nickname– Topson
Overall Earnings– $5,419,538.17
2020 Earnings– $5,092.00
2019 Earnings-$3,163,536.20
2018 Earnings– $2,249,841.60
Highest Paying Game– Dota 2
Age– 22
Biggest Prize– $3,124,036.20 – The International 2019

Topson is a member of the OG dynasty as well and has been a member of the team since 2018. I’m noticing a trend and I’m sure you are too. Since he and Ceb joined the team, OG has won every major tournament in Dota 2, speaking to their importance to the team. Topson is one of the best slayers in the game and has led The Invitational 2018 and 2019 in kill/death ratio.

6. Kuro Takhasomi

Country– Germany
Nickname– KuroKy
Overall Earnings– $4,165,926.95
2020 Earnings– $61,318.00
2019 Earnings– $37,000.00
2018 Earnings– $647,150.40
Highest Paying Game– Dota 2
Age– 26
Biggest Prize– $2,172,536.60 – The International 2017, Dota 2

Takhasomi, known as KuroKy, plays as a support for Team Liquid at the highest levels of Dota 2. A mainstay in the sport for years, KuroKy’s pinnacle came in 2017 when Liquid won The International 2017, the sport’s annual biggest tournament.

7. Amer Al-Barkawi

Country– Jordan
Nickname– Miracle-
Overall Earnings– $3,730,337.28
2020 Earnings– $61,318.00
2019 Earnings– $29,000.00
2018 Earnings– $640,150.40
Highest Paying Game– Dota 2
Age– 21
Biggest Prize– $2,172,536.60 – The International 2017, Dota 2

Al-Barkawi, known as Miracle-, is a carry who has played for both Team OG and Team Liquid in the professional ranks of Dota 2. After emerging from the pub ranks, Miracle has been a part of some of the strongest professional teams, including Liquid, 2017 The International champion.

8. Ivan Ivanov

Country– Bulgaria
Nickname– MinD_ContRoL
Overall Earnings– $3,521,411.76
2020 Earnings– $61,318.00
2019 Earnings– $37,000.00
2018 Earnings– $662,150.40
Highest Paying Game– Dota 2
Age– 24
Biggest Prize– $2,172,536.60 – The International 2017, Dota 2

Ivanov, known as Mind_ControL, is an offlaner who plays for Team Liquid at the top ranks of professional Dota 2. Long acknowledged as one of the best players on the Dota 2 scene, MinD_ControL’s greatest triumph to date has been his win as part of Team Liquid in 2017 The International.

9. Maroun Merhej

Country– Lebanon
Nickname– GH
Overall Earnings– $3,124,344.84
2020 Earnings– $61,318.00
2019 Earnings– $37,000.00
2018 Earnings– $646,586.06
Highest Paying Game– Dota 2
Age– 23
Biggest Prize– $2,172,536.60 – The International 2017, Dota 2

Merhej, known as GH, currently plays as a support for Team Liquid as a professional Dota 2 player. GH originally rose to prominence on the Dota 2 scene as a solo midlaner, but he found his place as a support in the professional ranks. His joining Team Liquid was a huge part of the reason they won the 2017 International.

10. Lasse Urpalainen

Country– Finland
Nickname– Matumbaman
Overall Earnings– $3,505,116.04
2020 Earnings– $138,413.40
2019 Earnings– $37,000.00
2018 Earnings– $646,150.40
Highest Paying Game– Dota 2
Age– 24
Biggest Prize– $2,172,536.60 – The International 2017, Dota 2

Urpalainan, known as Matumbaman, is a carry who currently plays for Team Liquid as a Dota 2 professional. Previously a member of Team Veni, Vidi, Vici, Matumbaman was recruited to Team Liquid in 2015 and was part of the squad which took down The International in 2017.

Highest Paid Player from USA

Kyle Giersdorf

Nickname– Bugha
Overall Earnings– $3,069,966.63
2020 Earnings– $5,666.67
2019 Earnings– $3,062,966.67
2018 Earnings– $1,250.00
Highest Paying GameFortnite
Biggest Prize– $3,000,000 – 1st Place, Fortnite Solo World Cup 2019

Highest Paid Player from Philippines

Djardel Jicko Mampusti

Nickname– DJ
Overall Earnings– $791,597.31
2020 Earnings– $26,600.00
2019 Earnings– $147,990.20
2018 Earnings– $104,932.20
Highest Paying Game– Dota 2
Biggest Prize– $290,786.40 – 4th Place at The International 2016, Dota 2

Highest Paid Player from China

Lu Yao

Nickname– Somnus M
Overall Earnings– $2,977,042.44
2020 Earnings– $59,177.02
2019 Earnings– $669,941.20
2018 Earnings– $1,091,935.92
Highest Paying Game– Dota 2
Age– 23
Biggest Prize– $817,029.60 – 2nd Place at The International 2018, Dota 2

Highest Paid Player from Canada

Artour Babaev

Nickname– Arteezy
Overall Earnings– $2,253,053.21
2020 Earnings– $47,100.00
2019 Earnings– $352,310.40
2018 Earnings– $652,575.80
Highest Paying Game– Dota 2
Age– 24
Biggest Prize– $1,326,932.14 – The International 2017, Dota 2

Highest Paid Player from Australia

Anathan Pham

Nickname– ana
Overall Earnings– $6,000,411.96
2020 Earnings– N/A
2019 Earnings– $3,146,536.20
2018 Earnings– $2,249,136.18
Highest Paying Game– Dota 2
Age– 19
Biggest Prize– $2,246,831.60 – The International 2018, Dota 2

Highest Paid Player from Russia

Alexei Berezin

Nickname– Solo
Overall Earnings– $1,774,625.61
2020 Earnings– $50,500.00
2019 Earnings– $276,553.73
2018 Earnings– $843,291.60
Highest Paying Game– Dota 2
Age– 28
Biggest Prize– $229,789.60 – 5th/6th Place at The International 2018, Dota 2

Highest Paid Player from Germany

Kuro Takhasomi

(See Above)

Highest Paid Player from South Korea

Lee, Sang Hyeok

Nickname– Faker
Overall Earnings– $1,256,037.23
2020 Earnings– $16,797.00
2019 Earnings– $63,313.08
2018 Earnings– $6,213.80
Highest Paying GameLeague of Legends
Age– 24
Biggest Prize– $338,000.00 – LoL 2016 World Championship, League of Legends

Highest Paid Player from Brazil

Gabriel Toledo

Nickname– FalleN
Overall Earnings– $1,067,324.03
2020 Earnings– $78,100.00
2019 Earnings– $91,858.04
2018 Earnings– $174,400.00
Highest Paying Game– Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Age– 27
Biggest Prize– $100,000 – ESL One: Cologne 2016, CS: GO

Highest Paid Player from Sweden

Gustav Magnusson

Nickname– s4
Overall Earnings– $2,524,966.11
2020 Earnings– $15,512.00
2019 Earnings– $319,110.40
2018 Earnings– $605,375.80
Highest Paying Game– Dota 2
Age– 27
Biggest Prize– $536,175.80 – 3rd Place at The International 2018, Dota 2

Top 10 Highest Paid Players in Dota 2

RankNameNicknameTotal Earnings
1Johan SundsteinN0tail$3,752,055.59
2Jesse VainikkaJerAx$3,323,463.82
3Anathan Phamana$6,000,411.96
4
Sebastien DebsCeb$5,501,233.01
5Topias TaavitsainenTopson$5,419,538.17
6Kuro TakhasomiKuroKy$4,165,926.95
7Amer Al-BarkawiMiracle-$3,730,337.28
8Ivan IvanovMinD_ContRoL$3,521,411.76
9Maroun MerhejGH$3,124,344.84
10Lasse UrpalainenMatumbaman$3,505,116.04

Top 10 Highest Paid Players in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

RankNameNicknameTotal Earnings
1Andreas HøjslethXyp9x$1,771,621.90
2Peter Rasmussendupreeh$1,770,422.74
3Nicolai Reedtzdev1ce$1,734,923.97
4Lukas Rossandergla1ve$1,604,084.07
5Emil ReifMagisk$1,363,881.97
6Jakey YipStewie2k$1,066,740.00
7Epitácio de MeloTACO$1,063,339.89
8Gabriel ToledoFalleN$1,059,420.54
9Fernando Alvarengafer$1,053,520.54
10Marcelo Davidcoldzera$1,001,051.34

Top 10 Highest Paid Players in League of Legends

RankNameNicknameTotal Earnings
1Lee, Sang HyeokFaker$1,256,037.23
2Lee, Ho SeongDuke$954,620.95
3Bae, Jun SikBang$916,451.46
4Lee, Jae WanWolf$913,084.7
5Bae, Seong UngBengi$810,683.00
6Song, Eui JinRookie$606,300.68
7Yu, Wen BoJackeyLove$593,386.35
8Gao, Zhen NingNing$562,462.53
9Kang, Sun GuBlank$559,518.75
10Kang, Chan YongAmbition$553,234.2

Top 10 Highest Paid Players in StarCraft II

RankNameNicknameTotal Earnings
1Cho, Sung ChooMaru$850,638.83
2Lee, Byung RyulRogue$834,018.20
3Joona SotalaSerral$833,958.99
4Park, Ryung WooDark$780,703.39
5Lee, Shin HyungINnoVation$727,016.79
6Jun, Tae YangTY$619,681.13
7Kim, Yoo JinsOs$617,599.90
8Eu, Yoon SusoO$608,560.95
9Kim, Dae YeobStats$591,294.33
10Joo, Sung WookZest$537,645.87

Top 10 Highest Paid Players in Fortnite

RankNameNicknameTotal Earnings
1Kyle GiersdorfBugha$3,069,883.34
2David WangAqua$1,890,841.23
3Harrison Changpsalm$1,870,138.80
4Emil Bergquist PedersenNyhrox$1,527,225.69
5Shane CottonEpikWhale$1,327,791.54
6Jaden AshmanWolfiez$1,306,026.67
7Dave Jong Rojo$1,203,873.33
8Nate Kou Kreo$1,175,550.00
9Williams AubinZayt$1,117,441.53
10Davis McClellanCeice$1,099,888.80

FAQ

Who is the highest-paid Esports players?

N0tail or BigDaddyN0tail, is a support player currently playing for Team OG competing at Dota 2. N0Tail and OG are the defending champions of The International, the most prestigious and lucrative Dota2 tournament in the world, having captured the crown in 2018 and 2019.

How much can League of Legends players make?

The average League of Legends player makes over $100,000 in salary from their organizations, as well as the prize money from tournaments. The highest-paid League of Legends player is Faker, who has amassed $1,254,240.23 in prize money from multiple World Championships as a member of T1.

What Esport pays the most?

The highest paying game in terms of prize money is without a question Dota 2. The top 10 highest-paid players in all of Esports are all professional Dota players, and the Invitational, the premier tournament of Dota 2, gives out millions of dollars each year. Last year, the total prize pool was $34,000,000, making it by far the most lucrative tournaments in Esports.

Who is the highest-paid player in Fortnite?

The highest-paid player in Fortnite is Bugha, who was the winner of the 2019 Solo Fortnite World Cup. Bugha took home a prize pool of $3,000,000 from the World Cup, which is the largest amount of money going to an individual in Esports history. Bugha continues to be a top competitor in Fortnite.

Why do players not take home the entire prize pool on their own?

Most players that are signed to an Esports organization are under contract and earning a salary from them. Part of the contract, however, is that the Organization takes a certain percentage of the earnings. This is especially prevalent in games like Fortnite and Counter:Strike.

What Esports tournament has the largest prize pool?

The highest-paying tournament in all of Esports is the Invitational, which is the annual crowning tournament for Dota 2. Last year, the total prize pool was $34,000,000, and the winning team, OG, took home $15,000,000 themselves.

Which country has the most earnings in Esports?

The United States leads the way in total players and earnings with 143,824,891 spread between almost 17 thousand players. The next two highest-earning countries behind the U.S. are China and South Korea, respectively.

  
I am a journalism major at Michigan State entering my 3rd year. I aspire to be a sports writer covering college basketball or the NBA. In my free time, I watch as many sports as I can, play video games, and watch eSports.

Hot eSports Stories