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At some stage in your life it’s safe to say that most of us have dreamed of being paid to play games and be a professional gamer. Going back 10 years ago if you’ve told your parents that you wanted to be a pro gamer when you grow up you would have been laughed at in the face.

These days however with the competitive League of Legends scene growing year on year becoming a Pro is now more viable if you’re a good player and practice hard. Becoming Pro can net you a significant pay check too if you realise you can compete with the best.

In 2013 the US government recognised eSports players as professional athletes which was a huge win for the online gaming industry and continues to drive the growth and money in eSports.

Riot Games, the developer of League of Legends, recently announced that it has a created a program called uLOL which stands for University League of Legends. The uLOL Campus Series was formed after the two successful years of the North American Collegiate Championship (NACC) and is now a tournament that is run all year round. Out of 500 schools 32 will eventually qualify for the 2016 Campus series event where teams will play off for the chance to win scholarship money.

League of Legends is an E-sports phenomenon, with millions of players’ worldwide and numerous international tournaments.  It’s estimated that some of the best LoL pros can now earn up to 1 million per year as well as a large number of US colleges now offering scholarship programs for their students.

So how much can a League of Legend Pro earn? In this article we’ll be discussing the way pros earn money.

How League of Legend Pros Earn Money

1. Riot Player Wage

Riot Games (the creators of League of Legends) since 2014 have been paying all players in the top 8 professional teams a basic salary, as per section 2.2 of the LCS rules for Season 6.

This salary amounts to $12,500 per player (including subs) per split, which works out at around $25,000 per year (assuming the team isn’t relegated for either split). Players usually also have all their living expenses paid for by their team (rent, food etc) so the $12,500 salary goes further than you might expect.

In addition to basic compensation, teams/players can earn additional money in the playoffs as seen below.

  • 1st. $50,000 ($10,000 Per Player)
  • 2nd. $25,000 ($5,000 Per Player)
  • 3rd. $15,000 ($3,000 Per Player)
  • 4th. $10,000 ($2,000 Per Player)

2.Player Sponsorship

Smart Launch has put together a good list on the list of major League of Legend sponsors.

Upon the list:

  • IGN
  • Twitch
  • Gamestop
  • Nerdist
  • Youtube
  • Google
  • Microsoft & Sony
  • Coca Cola
  • Doritos
  • Red Bull

Although each sponsor will vary significantly players would frequently receive updates of 10,000 per sponser split between players and each player / team may have one more sponsors.


3. Streaming & Advertising

Many of the pros may also choose to stream their games live which may assist with increasing their fan profile and develop larger followings. The offseason is a perfect time for this to be done when more time is available and they can use their practice as a way of entertaininment for others. In most cases followers will be subscribing to account for entertainment or to improve upon their own game.

Twitch.tv allows gamers to receive Streaming Subs Subscribers where many pros make most of their earnings. It costs viewers $4.99 per month to subscribe to a stream, of which the streamer gets $2.50 per month. Although it doesn’t sound like much the numbers quickly adds up when you have accounts with thousands of subscribers.  For example top streamers like The Oddone haver over thousands of subs and routinely bring in over $5,000 a month in sub earnings alone. This is likely even more since the time of writing as the Twitch Subs has since gone up to 887,000 and YouTube subscribers which are currently at 253,000.

Advertising, such as Twitch partner, pay starts at $3.50 per 1,000 people who watch the ad and players can also do similar with YouTube advertising and Google AdSense although the income varies. A streamer with an average of 5,000 viewers can make as much $2,800 from ads.

Based on the article from gamurs.com it’s not uncommon for professional players to forego competitive careers for streaming due to the earnings potential they have.

4. Affiliate Income

Affiliate income allows players to promote products with the view they earn a percentage of the total sale price if one of their referrals is to actually buy it.

Not only that but pro gamers attract sponsors for their channel they can also earn income from advertising, product placements and product mentions.

Many gaming companies offer affiliate programs, such as CD Key sites for example, and LoL pros can receive a commission any time someone buys a game key through one of their personal links. Again, although the commission is small it can add up quickly when you have a significant following.

Typically affiliate sales work off a percentage of the overall cost of the product. There are some highly lucrative affiliate incomes such as Razor that can pay as high as 20% for affiliates.

Actual earnings aren’t exposed in this regard however it’s estimated that it could be anywhere from $500 – $1500 for the top streamers.


5. Player Tournaments

Like any professional sport typically global tournaments are where the highest earnings can be made. While winning and / or reaching a professional tournament means you’ll need to be one of the best players in the world meaning it’s often limited to the very best players and teams you can find.

In 2014 League of Legends World Championship had a prize pool of $2,130,000. The winners of the event, Samsung Galaxy White, collected a pay check of $1,000,000.

In recent times we’ve seen tournaments for Dota 2 at The International 2015 which have had a prize pool of $18,429,613 and the winning team collecting $6,634,660.

See the most recent table of eSports earnings

Here is a list of the top tournament player earnings:

  1. Faker – $554,086.98
  2. Bengi – $466,951.00
  3. PawN – $306,755.72
  4. Mata – $297,022.13
  5. Gu – $294,812.24
  6. Wolf – $290,205.13
  7. Bae – $285,703.89
  8. bebe – $277,322.89
  9. DanDy – $274,477.26
  10. Looper – $271,708.59

Currently out of the top 10 League of Legends players 9 players originate from the Republic of Korea. Although NA and EU players don’t receive the same levels in prize money they typically have considerably more opportunity to gain sponsporship, streaming opportunities and develop larger followings.

Same Korean players have gone so far as to leave their current to pursue greater opportunities in the USA / EU for improving their earnings.

The top earning league of legends pro is said to be Ocelot, who managed to increase his earnings to around $1,000,000 per year through a combination of merchandise, sponsorships and prize money.

Find more about LCS player earnings here.

August 10, 2016 admin


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