Esports earnings: Top 25 Highest Paid Players in 2020 So Far

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 > Five teenagers, including a 15-year-old, among the best
> Two chess players make the list
> No League of Legends players in top 25

2020 has hit a lot of industries very hard – but not esports.

The lockdown has brought huge growth in viewers to professional gaming as millions flock to watch the world’s best players in action.

This new level of interest will only help the industry grow, along with the pay packets of the gamers themselves.

But, how much do they earn?

New research by esports bookmakers Unikrn shows just how much the top 25 players have been winning in tournament prize money so far this year.

In 2019, there was a total prize pool of $227m shared between over 25,000 players playing in 5,000 tournaments.

Six months into 2020 and there’s still been $32.5m in prize money – despite the cancellation and postponement of many events.

Of that pot, the highest earning player has taken home $300,000 so far.

Brazilian Paulo Damo Da Rosa, known as PVDDR, won Magic: The Gathering Arena’s, Magic World Championship XXVI in February – pocketing the huge fee in one lump sum.

The five members of Spacestation Gaming’s Rainbow Six Siege team  – Bosco, Rampy, Thinkingnade, Fultz and Canadian – also feature in the top 10.

Their victories in this year’s Six Invitational 2020 and Pro League Season 11 have earned them $210,000 each.

With a combined age of 47, teenagers Wolfiez, Furious and JannisZ are in the top 16 for their big Fortnite wins.

The UK’s Wolfiez, 16, has taken home $130,000 so far this year from two tournaments coming second in both FNCS Invitationals: Europe last month.

JannisZ, 15, from Germany, won one of those tournaments, while American 16-year-old Furious secured victory in the FNCS Grand Finals in North America – both earning $120,000+.

Among the top 25, Chess24 stars Hikaru Nakamura and grandmaster Magnus Carlsen have also taken home over $100,000 each in prize money.

STATISTICS

The average age of the top 25 earning players so far in 2020 is 24 years old.

So far this year, the top country for earning prize money is the United States with players making over $6million between 1,870 of them.

However, the best average prize winner per country belongs to Jordan.

Six players earned an average of $33,000 each – made up mostly by Doha 2 players Yapzor and Miracle-, who claimed $175,000 of the total $200,000.

Bear in mind all of these earnings do not include their sponsorships, bonuses or salaries – some of which are rumoured to be around the $500,000 mark.

So there will be players easily taking home close to $1,000,000 a year.

The highest earning esports player of all-time is Danish Dota 2 player Johan Sundstein.

Going by player ID N0tail, the 26-year-old has amassed $6.9m in prize money from 117 tournaments and been a winner at the International 2018 and 2019.

Ryan Jurado, esports analyst with the industry juggernaut Unikrn, said: “As impressive as the prize earnings are in esports, they’re just the tip of the iceberg.

“In reality, thousands of players around the world make additional income by building their brand and fan bases with non-competition activities such as gaming streams, earn income with sponsorship deals and receive a salary to play as part of an organized team.

“Amazon’s Twitch alone has 22,000 partnered streamers, most of whom are playing games and earning cash outside of tournaments. When you add in Microsoft’s Mixr, Google’s YouTube, Facebook, plus non-American platforms like Huya, plus thousands of yearly video game tournaments, the number of players making some form of income by gaming is likely well over 100,000 worldwide. For most, this is a paying hobby rather than a career, but some players do reach multi-millionaire status before they even graduate high school.”

Top 25 Highest Paid Esports Players in 2020 (By Prize Money)

Real name Player name Game Nationality Age Prize Money 2020 Tournaments Prize Money (Overall)
Paulo Damo da Rosa PVDDR Magic: The Gathering Arena Brazil 32 $300,000.00 1 $337,800.00
Troy Jaroslawski Canadian Rainbow Six Siege Canada 23 $210,000.00 2 $317,628.57
Dylan Bosco Bosco Rainbow Six Siege United States 25 $210,000.00 2 $275,750.00
Nathanial Duvall Rampy Rainbow Six Siege United States $210,000.00 2 $261,060.00
Javier Escamila Thinkingnade Rainbow Six Siege El Salvador 21 $210,000.00 2 $261,030.00
Alec Fultz Fultz Rainbow Six Siege American $210,000.00 2 $238,966.67
Lee, Byung Ryul Rogue Starcraft II Korea 26 $155,128.20 9 $832,543.20
Marcio Carvalho Marcio Carvalho Magic The Gathering Arena Portugal 34 $150,000.00 1 $214,900.00
Jaden Ashman Wolfiez Fortnite UK 16 $130,000.00 2 $1,300,026.67
Lasse Urpalainen Matumbaman Dota 2 Finland 25 $122,413.40 7 $3,684,194.44
Clement Ivanov Puppey Dota 2 Estonia 30 $122,413.40 7 $2,783,899.63
Ludwig Wåhlberg Zai Dota 2 Sweden 22 $122,413.40 7 $2,443,054.42
Yazied Jaradat YapzOr Dota 2 Jordan 25 $122,413.40 7 $1,452,524.07
Michał Jankowski Nisha Dota 2 Poland 19 $122,413.40 7 $852,679.11
Furious Fortnite United States 16 $121,500.00 3 $122,400.00
JannisZ Fortnite Germany 15 $120,000.00 1 $131,362.42
Asger Larsen AcilioN CS:GO Denmark 23 $117,688.05 6 $205,471.35
Lucas Andersen Bubzki CS:GO Denmark 21 $113,800.00 5 $186,770.86
Frederik Gyldstrand acoR CS:GO Denmark 22 $113,800.00 5 $183,034.72
Rasmus Beck sjuush CS:GO Denmark 21 $113,800.00 5 $178,613.09
Fredrik Jørgensen roejJ CS:GO Denmark $113,800.00 5 $167,242.03
Hikaru Nakamura Hikaru Chess24 Japan 32 $102,632.19 10 $148,117.61
Sven Magnus Carlsen DrNykterstein Chess24 Norway 29 $101,170.48 7 $130,928.92
Seth Manfield Seth Manfield Magic: The Gathering Arena United States 29 $100,000.00 1 $141,900.00
David Wang Aqua Fortnite Austria 18 $98,750.00 4 $1,868,341.23

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Top 10 Highest Earning Countries in 2020 (By Prize Money)

Country Prize Money Players Average per
United States $6,340,646.89 1870 $3,390.72
China $2,918,944.04 340 $8,585.13
Brazil $2,161,506.14 401 $5,390.29
Korea, Republic of $2,067,293.52 455 $4,543.50
France $1,516,403.65 419 $3,619.10
Russian Federation $1,495,117.67 440 $3,397.99
Denmark $1,472,041.31 173 $8,508.91
Germany $1,262,670.52 483 $2,614.22
United Kingdom $1,255,641.62 333 $3,770.70
Canada $1,170,591.49 308 $3,800.62

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Highest Earning Players of All Time (By Prize Money)

Real name Player name Game Nationality Age Prize Money Overall Tournaments
Johan Sundstein N0tail Dota 2 Denmark 26 $6,895,040.18 117
Jesse Vainikka JerAx Dota 2 Finland 28 $6,470,000.02 65
Anathan Pham ana Dota 2 Australia 20 $6,000,411.96 24
Sébastien Debs Ceb Dota 2 France 28 $5,501,233.01 54
Topias Taavitsainen Topson Dota 2 Finland 22 $5,415,046.17 21
Kuro Takhasomi KuroKy Dota 2 Germany 27 $5,177,764.81 110
Amer Al-Barkawi Miracle- Dota 2 Jordan 22 $4,743,118.88 57
Ivan Ivanov MinD_ContRoL Dota 2 Bulgaria 25 $4,534,193.36 67
Maroun Merhej GH Dota 2 Lebanon 24 $4,137,126.44 44
Lasse Urpalainen Matumbaman Dota 2 Finland 25 $3,674,181.04 69

**Stats taken from www.esportsearnings.com and do not include salaries, bonuses or sponsorships

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