Who Raked In The Big Money In Esports In 2018?

esports money 2018

Everyone knows the esports industry is undergoing a boom period. That fact is underlined when you realize, as reported on EsportsEarnings.com, that a total of over $150 million was awarded in prize money between the 10 richest esports games, across 3,310 tournaments, throughout 2018.

Let’s take a look at the individuals, teams, and games that generated the most revenue last year.

Top-Earning Esports Players in 2018

  1. JerAx (OG) – Jesse Vainikka (Finland) – Dota 2 – $2,290,631
  2. N0tail (OG) – Johan Sundstein (Denmark) – Dota 2 – $2,282,716
  3. 7ckngMad (OG) – Sebastien Debs (France) – Dota 2 – $2,280,216
  4. Topson (OG) – Topias Taavitsainen (Finland) – Dota 2 – $2,249,841
  5. Ana (OG) – Anathan Pham (Australia) – Dota 2 – $2,249,136
  6. Somnus M (PSG-Esports) – Lu Yao (China) – Dota 2 – $1,091,935
  7. Fy (PSG-Esports) – Su Linsen (China) – Dota 2 – $1,091,935
  8. Arne (PSG-Esports) – Wang Chunyu (China) – Dota 2 – $1,091,935
  9. xNova (PSG-Esports) – Jianwei Yap (Malaysia) – Dota 2 – $1,091,935
  10. Chalice (PSG-Esports) – Yang Shenyi (China) – Dota 2 – $1,091,935

What is abundantly clear in this list is that the massive prize money available at The International plays a huge role in determining which individuals (and most likely teams) earn the most throughout any given year. It is no coincidence the top 10 highest-earning players came from the two teams that finished first (Team OG) and second (PSG-Esports) at this year’s tournament.

Indeed, The International and Dota 2’s position as the richest esports in terms of prize money is clear when you look at the highest overall earning list for players since esports began. The top 44 highest-earning gamers play Dota 2. The highest-earning esports player in history is Team Secret’s Kuro “Kuroky” Takhasomi. He’s won $4,128,927 in his career so far. He was the 24th highest earning player of 2018 ($647,150).

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Only those 10 players listed above saw their earnings for the year eclipse the $1 million mark. However, 252 players earned $100,000 or more across the year. Then, 500 players earned at least $50,000 or more.

With 18,242 active players across esports though, we’re still talking about a very small group earning a comfortable living wage or higher. Spread across all active players, the average earnings per player is just $8,262.

Top-Earning Esports Teams in 2018

A total of 26 teams earned over $1 million in prize money across 2018. Once again, it was Dota 2 squads that topped the charts.

However, a number of teams do have representatives playing across multiple esports, such as Fnatic, Team Liquid, and FaZe Clan. These teams have several streams of income across the year, which can boost their chances of moving up the list.

Here’s the full list of the 26 teams that each earned $1 million or more throughout 2018.

  1. Team OG – $11,465,455
  2. Team Liquid – $7,197,511
  3. Paris St Germain Esports – $5,362,637
  4. Evil Geniuses – $4,173,271
  5. FaZe Clan – $4,091,138
  6. Virtus.pro – $3,957,915
  7. Astralis – $3,651,650
  8. Fnatic – $3,628,850
  9. Vici Gaming – $3,044,385
  10. Invictus Gaming – $2,933,931
  11. Team Secret – $2,449,272
  12. Luminosity Gaming – $2,217,164
  13. Optic Gaming – $2,211,024
  14. Cloud9 – $2,079,926
  15. Ghost Gaming – $2,002,226
  16. Natus Vincere – $1,585,071
  17. Royal Never Give Up – $1,410,135
  18. G2 Esports – $1,396,647
  19. G – $1,342,104
  20. London Spitfire – $1,200,000
  21. Splyce – $1,198,216
  22. Mousesports – $1,132,706
  23. Counter Logic Gaming – $1,115,490
  24. eUnited – $1,071,393
  25. Mineski – $1,047,884
  26. NRG Esports – $1,035,939

The effect of The International 2018 is also keenly displayed in this list. The top six teams, apart from Astralis (who are a CS:GO only team), brought in a vast chunk of their earnings through that tournament. Of the top 10, only Astralis (CS:GO) and Invictus Gaming (League of Legends) earned the vast majority, if not all, of their cash outside the competitive Dota 2 arena.

Another team to note is London Spitfire, who were the first winners of the inaugural Overwatch League back in July. It should be noted that Cloud9 owns this team, though.

Top 10 Esports Games (Prize Money Awarded)

There are few surprises as to what tops this list, but it’s intriguing to see where other esports rank.

  1. Dota 2 – $172,702,412
  2. CS:GO – $68,764,369
  3. League of Legends – $63,767,322
  4. Starcraft II – $29,015,910
  5. Fortnite – $20,074,787
  6. Heroes of the Storm – $17,866,259
  7. Hearthstone – $15,004,825
  8. Counter-Strike – $12,579,756
  9. Overwatch – $12,049,862
  10. Smite – $8,590,112

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds finished outside the top 10 with just under $8,000,000 in prize money handed out to players. Other notable games outside the top 10 included FIFA 18 (29th), Rainbow Six Siege (25th), Rocket League (19th), and a number of different Call of Duty titles (World War II – 17th, Infinite Warfare – 18th, Black Ops III – 20th, Advanced Warfare – 26th and Ghosts – 33rd)

2018 was a bumper year for esports as this data shows, but in all likelihood, we are going to see some new names and games entering the top 10 for all of these categories in 2019.

Ian John

About

A lifelong poker fan, Ian is also well-versed in the world of sports betting, casino gaming, and has written extensively on the online gambling industry. Based in the UK, Ian brings fresh insight into all facets of gaming.

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