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4 Ways League of Legends Professional Gamers Earn Money

Not so long ago, the idea of making a living out of playing video games seems absurd and laughable. You get to play video games the whole day and get paid while doing it? Sounds like a fairy tale back then, especially for lifelong gamers who never get tired of their mothers screaming at them to drop that controller and wash the damn dishes.

Times have changed since then. Being a professional gamer is now a thing. And with the way esports has been growing over the years, it appears professional gaming won’t be going out of trend anytime soon.

League of Legends is home to many professional gamers. Numerous League tournaments, big and small, are held every year, making legends (no pun intended) out of underdogs and celebrities out of unknown players. Due to the rise of esports and the popularity of League, many aspire to become League pro gamers. But aside from tournaments armed with cash prizes, how do League pro gamers actually earn money? And how difficult is it to actually become one? Let’s have a look.

1. Twitch streaming

We all know YouTube is home to many “Let’s Play!” YouTubers who earn money from ads by uploading videos of them randomly playing through a similarly random game. The most popular ones like Pewdiepie and Markiplier earn hundreds of dollars each month. However, League pro gamers prefer Twitch over the Google-owned website, simply because it offers a higher income potential. Like your options when buying an unranked League of Legends account, there is more than one way to earn money while streaming on Twitch.

The most obvious one is through ads, of course. Streamers earn a cut for a certain number of people who watch ads on their broadcast. League pro gamers who have thousands of fans that regularly watch their streams can easily make a killing just off of ads. Streamers earn even more if said fans subscribe to their channels. Twitch has a system in place where partner streamers (more on this below) get half of the subscription money: People can subscribe by coughing up $4.99 – $2.49 of which goes to the streamer. Imagine if a streamer “only” has 1000 subscribers.

Another way streamers earn money on Twitch is via referral or affiliate programs. It’s practically the same as Amazon affiliate websites. Streamers earn some commission by selling a product on their channel, usually CD keys on websites like G2A and even products on Amazon itself, which owns Twitch. Though all these money-making potential sounds sweet and drool-worthy, it’s not exactly easy to become a so-called Twitch Partner. To become one, according to Twitch, streamers must have an average of at least 500 concurrent viewers and broadcast at least three times a week. For newcomers who have yet to make a name for themselves, the requirements are quite steep.

2. Lucrative sponsorships

Ever wondered why League pro gamers wear matching outfits that are plastered with company brands? Well, it works similar to European football clubs and professional F1 drivers. Pro gamers get paid by advertising brands simply by wearing patches of brands on their “uniforms.” The bigger and more visible the patch obviously means the bigger amount of money paid. Sponsorship goes beyond just brand names on outfits, however. There are also companies that pay pro gamers to use their products. These companies typically produce gaming-related products like headsets, which are easily seen when worn by pro gamers during broadcasted tournaments.

While not on the same level as real athletes (you know, like basketball and football stars), sponsorships are one of the best ways for pro gamers to earn money. The trouble is, only the most popular and talented pro gamers get offered sponsorships from big brands. So, yeah, good luck with that.

3. Actual wages

Believe it or not, Riot Games, developer of League of Legends, actually pays pro gamers. Yep, you read that right – pro gamers receive income from Riot Games, as stipulated in the 2015 LCS Rule Set. Riot Games provide teams with a set amount of money, which they are free to distribute amongst the team. The more skilled and more indispensable a team member is, the higher their cut will be. In some cases, though, substitute players akin to bench players in a basketball game also get a cut.

4. Donations and self-produced merchandise

Some pro gamers have their own websites where they independently sell products they produced themselves. Like t-shirts, tumblers, caps, hooded jackets, and other stuff. These products usually bear the pro gamer’s name or, in some cases, popular catchphrases. Only the more hardcore fans go for these products, though. Pro gamers can also earn money via tips and donations. You’re probably already aware of these money-making avenues.

The challenges of becoming a pro gamer

Becoming a League pro gamer sounds easy, right? After all, all you have to do is play games until your fingers go numb. Wrong. To become a pro gamer and make a name for yourself in the increasingly growing esports industry, you must spend thousands of hours playing League, practicing to become better and better each time. You must work on all gameplay areas. Being extremely talented in last-hitting minions alone won’t cut it.

It’s up to you how to practice your skills. You can use the recently greenlighted Practice Tool or actually participate in matches using a Smurf League of Legends account. After getting your skills to god-like levels, the next step would be to enter tournaments and make a name for yourself. In short, get your popularity level high enough to get access to the coveted Twitch Partner Program, where you’ll make the majority of your income.

Pursuing a career as a League pro gamer is just the same as any other real-life job, really. You have to work really hard if you want to earn large sums of money. There’s no easy shortcut. There are no tricks to it. Blood and sweat must be figuratively shed if you want to become among the elites. Oh yeah, it also involves developing a thick skin to withstand the toxicity in League.

March 29, 2017 admin


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