Top eSports Teams and their earnings

Mateo Brekalo
Mateo Brekalo
Published: 15. studenog 2023.


eSports is undeniably emerging as a significant player in the gambling and betting market, with bookmakers reaping staggering profits from the industry. However, an intriguing question arises: What are the current earnings of eSports teams, and how much have they amassed thus far and how do they earn their salaries?

Viewership numbers

Many teams are gaining popularity among the last two generations of viewers through their streaming channels and various online platforms. The viewership of eSports events is experiencing rapid growth. In just a short span from 2016, where viewership stood at approximately 270 million viewers per year, it surged to 410 million in 2018. While this is a substantial increase, it's important to note that it still falls short of the FIFA World Cup finals in 2018, which attracted a massive 500 million viewers for that single event. This comparison highlights that, although eSports is gradually catching up, it has not yet reached the scale of viewership seen in traditional sports.

How teams make money

With the increasing demand for watching and supporting favorite teams, the most prominent teams are gaining significant exposure through streams, live channels, and, notably, through partnerships with real sports teams or celebrities. Last known celebrity investor is Lionel Messi who partnered with Sergio Aguero and became the co-owner of the eSports team KRÜ ESPORTS.

In addition to the conventional avenue of earning through prize money from winning tournaments, there is a substantial portion of team revenue generated through sponsorships. While obtaining exact figures for these sponsorship deals may be challenging, our focus will be on compiling a list of the top earners in the eSports domain based on prize money earnings.

Biggest prize money game

DOTA 2 has the biggest prize money of all games on the market. In 2021 The International 10 tournament had a prize money of $40,000,000.00.

Since The International 2013, the tournament's prize pool is primarily crowdfunded through a type of in-game battle pass called the "Compendium", which raises money from players buying them to get exclusive in-game virtual goods and other bonuses. 25% of all the revenue made from yearly Compendiums go directly to the prize pool.

Decreasing prize money

In 2022, the prize money experienced a significant decrease, primarily attributed to a substantial decline in contributions from the community through the Compendium. The 2022 Compendium received a lukewarm reception, and aside from the absence of cosmetic items, certain features were also missing. These factors collectively resulted in a diminished contribution from the audience.

5 Top earners

According to EScharts, we will compile a list of the top 5 earning teams from 2016 to the present. Note that the data excludes earnings before 2016, although the overall rankings remain relatively consistent. This information aligns with Statista's findings, even when considering data from the period preceding 2016.

OG (Dota 2)

Team OG based in Europe which was founded in 2015 are DOTA 2 specialists. They are known for winning The International 2018 and The International 2019. In the 2018 edition they cashed in $11,000,000.00 and the following year $15,000,000.00. Their main sponsor is Red Bull and hold partnerships with companies like BMW and SteelSeries.

Total prize money:
$36,926,645

Roster and their prize money:

Wisper
Céspedes Dobles, Adrian
$606,550.00

Ceb
Debs, Sebastien
$5,887,342

Yuragi
Golubiev, Artem
$413,472.00

Ari
Walker, Matthew
$98,601.00

Bzm
Bogdanov, Bozhidar
$391,375.00

Misha
Mikhail Agatov
$294,825.00

Team Liquid (Dota 2)

Team Liquid is a Netherlands-based team that was founded in 2000. Initially established as a StarCraft II team, in 2012, they expanded their portfolio by acquiring a North American DOTA 2 team, marking their first venture outside of their initial gaming genre. In 2015 they merged with Team Curse. The European DOTA 2 squad won The International 2017 which made them $10,000,000.00 richer. One of the investors in the team is also a basketball superstar Magic Johnson. Some of the official sponsors are HTC Corporation and Honda.

Total prize money:
$28,167,954

Roster and their prize money:

iNSaNiA
Aydin Sarkohi
$1,355,792.00

Nisha
Michał Jankowski
$2,920,459.00

miCKe
Michael Vu
$1,351,369.00

33
Neta Shapira
$2,425,758.00

Boxi
Samuel Svahn
$1,347,376.00

Blitz
William Lee
$23,303.00

Team Spirit (Dota 2)

Team Spirit, originally a Russian team, relocated to Belgrade, Serbia, in 2022 due to the war in Ukraine. The team achieved victory in The International in both 2021 and 2023, with the 2021 edition setting a record as the highest prize in eSports history, awarding the winning team $18,000,000.00. Biggest partners are Nike, RedBull and 1xBet.

Total prize money: $28,201,219.00

Roster and their prize money:

Larl
Denis Sigitov
$1,433,989.00

Miposhka
Yaroslav Naidenov
$5,612,036.00

Yatoro
Illya Mulyarchuk
$5,383,637.00

Mira
Miroslaw Kolpakov
$5,365,664.00

Collapse
Magomed Khalilov
$5,379,876.00

Silent
Airat Gaziev
$323,790.00

Evil Geniuses (Dota 2)

Evil Geniuses was established in 1999 in Seattle, Washington, and has since fielded teams in various major eSports games. In DOTA 2, they achieved a significant milestone in 2015 by winning The International, securing the then-largest prize money ever at $6 million. Additionally, their Call of Duty: WWII roster clinched victory in the 2018 CoD World Championship. The whole DOTA 2 team got released on 1st of November of 2023 and their are still uncertain if they will have a team for the new season.

Total prize money:
$22,180,954.00

Team Secret (Dota 2)

Established in 2014 in Europe, this team primarily focuses on DOTA 2 but also boasts teams in other games. In recent DOTA 2 Internationals, they secured notable placements, achieving 3rd place in the 2021 edition and 2nd place in the 2022 edition.

Total prize money:
$18,691,00.00

Roster and their prize money:

Puppey
Clement Ivanov
$4,303,972.00

MidOne
Yeik Nai Zheng
$1,841,199.00

Crystallis
Remco Arets
$713,448.00

ah fu
Tue Soon Chuan
$838,287.00

BOOM
Miroslav Bičan
$205,383.00

yamich
Daniyal Lazebnyy
$135,850.00

YapzOr
Yazied Jaradat
$2,297,190.00




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