The Highest-Earning Esports Players

Competitive gaming has turned elite esports players into millionaire celebrities. Thanks to massive tournament prize pools, team salaries, endorsements, and streaming income, top-tier esports competitors are racking up fortunes from playing various titles professionally.

In this blog, we will go through some of the highest-paid esports players leading the income ranks in major games like League of Legends, Dota 2, Fortnite, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and more.

Highest-Earning League of Legends Players

As the most popular esports globally, League of Legends has some of the Highest-Earning players in the industry.

Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok

No League of Legends income earner comes close to Faker, the game’s first true superstar esports player. With career tournament winnings over $1 million and multi-million dollar salaries from SK Telecom T1, Faker has banked nearly $10 million from LoL alone. Massive streaming income and endorsements take his total career earnings estimations even higher.

Bae “Bang” Jun-sik

During Bang’s elite days playing AD Carry for SKT T1, he undoubtedly earned over $300,000 annually from salary, skins revenue, and prizes. His total LoL income sits comfortably in the millions following a hugely successful competitive peak playing alongside Faker.

Lee “Wolf” Jae-wan

As SKT T1’s support through their era of dominance, Wolf benefitted financially alongside Bang and Faker, earning well over $1.5 million in salary and tournament winnings during his prime according to estimates. He cemented his place among the top LoL breadwinners.

Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu

Another standout AD Carry, Deft has won over $1 million from tournaments during his long career while likely banking seven-figure salaries along the way. Having competed professionally since 2013, Deft remains signed to an elite Chinese team with many more earning years ahead.

Cho “Mata” Se-hyeong

Mata’s elite vision control and leadership as a support powered elite teams like Samsung to multiple Worlds finals. In the process, he has earned millions from salary, skins, and prizes. Despite retiring and un-retiring a few times, Mata remains signed to a top Chinese organization.

Earning Esports Players

Highest-Earning Dota 2 Players

As the home of The International and its massive prize pools, Dota 2 has produced some of the wealthiest esports pros ever.

Johan “N0tail” Sundstein

With over $7.5 million in career earnings, N0tail is Dota 2’s top breadwinner and one of the richest esports player period. In addition to TI winnings, he earns handsomely from OG’s salary and sponsorships. Still competing at an elite level, N0tail continues piling up income from Dota.

Kuro “KuroKy” Salehi Takhasomi

During his playing days, KuroKy earned over $5.3 million in prizes across a decorated career. He likely made over a million annually from Team Liquid and other elite organizations before becoming a coach. KuroKy remains one of Dota 2’s great income earners.

Jesse “JerAx” Vainikka

Though now retired, JerAx banked over $6.5 million in tournament earnings over just a few years of competing at the height of OG’s powers, cementing him as a top earner. His 3 TI championships ensure long-term earnings from Dota.

Anathan “Ana” Pham

Despite only competing professionally since 2016, Ana has already won two TIs and earned over $3.7 million total from Dota 2. Given his continued elite play, Ana is on pace to become one of the game’s top lifetime earners.

Ivan “MinD_ContRoL” Ivanov

Another wealth-amassing member of the OG juggernaut, Mind_ContRoL has won over $5.3 million in tournaments. Between OG salary and his numerous elite finishes, Mind_ContRoL has earned career income comparable to traditional sports pros.

Earning Esports Players

Highest-Earning Fortnite Players

Though relatively new to esports, competitive Fortnite has already produced some hefty incomes thanks to Epic’s huge prize pools.

Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf

Bugha burst onto the scene by winning $3 million at the Fortnite World Cup in 2019 at just 16 years old. He has since signed lucrative deals with Sentinels and other sponsors, likely banking over $5 million already in his young career.

Shane “EpikWhale” Cotton

While not winning the very top prizes, EpikWhale has amassed a fortune from consistent tourney placements, including hundreds of thousands in his breakout 2021 season. As one of the best NA competitors, his income-earning potential remains immense.

Rocco “Saf” Morales

A rising star out of Brazil, the young Saf nearly won the 2022 FNCS, banking over $150,000 from just that event. With elite skills and earning opportunities every season, Saf is poised to amass a sizable fortune from competitive Fortnite.

Martin “MrSavage” Foss Andersen

One of the top European competitors, MrSavage has won over $600,000 in his young career already. As long as Fortnite maintains a thriving competitive scene, MrSavage looks set to keep earning substantial amounts.

Williams “Zayt” Aubin

Renowned for team modes, Zayt has won over $700,000 playing duos and squads at Fortnite’s highest levels. His long career and consistent winnings have solidified Zayt as one of the financially successful pros.

Highest-Earning CS:GO Players

Counter-Strike remains one of esports’ staples and a reliable source of income for its top esports players.

Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev

Widely regarded as the CS:GO GOAT, s1mple has won over $650,000 in tournaments across his ascendant career. His salary and elite status ensure earnings well into the millions from Counter-Strike.

Robin “ropz” Kool

Already an elite competitor at just 22 years old, ropz has banked over $640,000 in prize money with many peak earning years ahead. If he maintains top form, ropz could become one of CS:GO’s all-time money leaders.

Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski

A stalwart NA competitor, EliGE has won nearly $600,000 from CS:GO events during his accomplished career. His salary with Team Liquid and brand sponsorships further grow his income stacks.

Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz

For years one of CS:GO’s absolute best, dev1ce has amassed over $700,000 in tourney winnings playing for Astralis and Ninjas in Pyjamas. Combined with salary, his career earnings likely exceed $2 million.

Håvard “rain” Nygaard

A perennial top performer, rain has banked over $680,000 in prizes across CS:GO’s competitive scene. His long-running excellence ensures Rain will maintain top-bracket earnings from Counter-Strike.

Earning Esports Players

How Esports Players Earn So Much

Through various revenue streams, elite professional gamers build their fortunes and earn like mainstream celebrities.

Massive Tournament Winnings

Esports events offer millions in cash prizes that provide immediate income from success. Top esports players earn reliably from consistently placing high.

Dota 2’s The International in particular has allowed players to bank millions from single events. But most popular esports regularly offer six to seven figure purses at majors.

Lucrative Team Salaries

Esports organizations in top games pay salaries ranging from hundreds of thousands to millions for star players. Long-term contracts with steady income are common.

In League of Legends, elite Chinese and Korean players frequently earn over $800,000 per year from their team deals. Salaries add up fast throughout full career.

Brand Sponsorships & Endorsements

Like traditional athletes, esports competitors earn substantial sponsorship money by promoting brands. Equipment companies, energy drinks, apparel, and more offer deals.

Top streamers can earn millions per year from the combination of various sponsorships and endorsement deals as esports marketing expands.

Streaming Revenues

Many top competitors leverage their popularity into massively lucrative streaming careers. Streaming can provide a second career beyond competing.

Subscriptions, donations and ad revenues from Twitch and Youtube can result in millions for popular personalities. Top streamers earn over $5 million yearly from their audience without competing professionally.


It’s an incredible time to be an esports competitor at the highest level. The opportunities to earn vast income from elite gaming skills continue expanding at a rapid pace.

Through tournament victories, team contracts, branding, and streaming, modern esports players are regularly joining the millionaire player club. And earnings stand only to grow as competitive gaming cement itself further in the entertainment mainstream.

The next generation of superstar esports gamers is already cultivating their skills and eyeing the massive financial prizes possible at the esports summit. Becoming the next player to lead income charts will take immense dedication and skill. But the rewards make it one of the most compelling careers imaginable for competitive gamers.


How much do top esports players make compared to pro traditional athletes?

The earnings ceiling for elite esports pros now rivals those of top athletes in sports like basketball, football and more. Top esports stars like Faker can make over $10 million yearly at their peak between tournaments, salaries, endorsements and streaming. The average esports salary remains much lower though.

Which esports game pays players the most on average?

Dota 2 offers the most earning potential currently thanks to the massive TI championship and consistent tourneys. League of Legends, CS:GO and Fortnite also offer strong incomes at the very top level. Ultimately, players need to excel in titles they’re most skilled at and enjoy.

How long do esports players earnings tend to last?

Given short peak competitive careers, smart esports players save and invest their incomes wisely. Elite play often lasts just 5-10 years before performance and motivation declines. Vets frequently transition into coaching and streaming careers as well when retiring.

Can you make a good living playing esports casually?

It’s extremely difficult to earn significantly without playing professionally full-time. However, platforms like Twitch do offer some monetization opportunities for average gamers. The key is building a streaming audience.

What does the future hold for esports players salaries?

All signs point to bigger earnings across the board. Growing audiences, investments and mainstream acceptance will lead to higher tournaments prizes, salaries, sponsorships and streaming revenues for pros in major titles.

Asmran Ahmad
Asmran Ahmad

Asmran Ahmad is founder of A passionate sports and esports enthusiast with a deep love for sharing knowledge. With years of experience in the industry, Asmran A. recognized the need for a comprehensive platform that caters to both sports and esports fans, offering them a one-stop destination for the latest information, analysis, and engaging content.

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