Top 10 highest earning esports players in the world

Posted on April 23, 2021 - Last Updated on July 27, 2021

Esports events are becoming more and more popular, as a result, the prize polls are getting bigger and bigger. Some of the best esports players in the world are starting to earn wages similar to that of traditional sports stars.

This is a list of some of the highest-earning esports players in the world. It is not an exhaustive list, if it was, the whole list would be composed of the best Dota 2 players who take in double what some people may make in their whole career if they win the crazy top prize at The International. Instead, we want to look at some of the highest-earning players from around the esports world.

1. Johan “N0tail” Sundstein (Dota 2)

highest earning esports players
Credit: @OG_BDN0tail │ Instagram

I could fill this whole list with high-earning Dota 2 pro players but where would be the fun in that? In reality, the highest-earning Dota 2 player in the world is N0tail. He and his team OG won The International two years in a row.

This, combined with his previous run with Fnatic has earned him almost $7 million and made him the highest-earning esports player in the world.

2. Jesse “JerAx” Vainikka (Dota 2)

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JerAx will be the last Dota 2 player that I will put on this list as, if I were to include the entire OG team they would take over half of this list. Suffice it to say that the OG Dota 2 team, who dominated the scene for years, are some of the highest earning esports players in the world.

JerAx is currently retired but his earnings up to January 2020, still make him one of the top earners with at least $6.5 million.

3. Sven Magnus Carlsen (Chess24)

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This may seem out of place, but the chess grandmaster, Sven Magnus Carlsen, was the highest-earning single esports player in 2020. There was no TI in 2020 and the highest earners looked a lot different than in years prior.

He made a total of $590,719.96 from 43 Tournaments.

That may not be the biggest number on the list but possibly the most impressive for a chess grandmaster to become one of highest-earning esports players in 2020.

4. Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf (Fortnite)

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Credit: New York Times

As one of the biggest online gaming phenomena in the world, it was predictable that Epic Games would pour in millions of dollars into the competitive Fortnite scene.

The biggest winner to come out of the esport that only began back in 2018 was Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf.

Bugha had a dominant performance at the Fortnite World Cup in 2019 which won him a total of $3.2 million.

5. Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok (League of Legends)

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Arguably the best League of Legends player of all time. Lee is one of only two players to have won the League of Legends World Championship three times.

He has made over $1.3 million in prize money alone. If you combine that with the revenue from his various endorsement deals, merchandising fees, and his annual salary, he makes more than most Premier League players.

6. Peter “dupreeh” Rasmussen (CS:GO)

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Credit: @dupreeh │ Twitter

Peter “dupreeh” Rasmussen has won four Valve Majors in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. His skill and talent played an important role in positioning Astralis as one of the best CSGO teams in the esports scene.

His skill and FPS prowess earned him $1.9 million.

7. Andreas “Xyp9x” Højsleth (CS:GO)

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Another CS:GO player that has contributed to the rapid growth in popularity of Astralis. He has been credited as one of the players that tidied up their act and placed them in the perfect position to dominated the CS:GO competitive scene.

As a result, he has made over $1.8 million in prize money.

8. Ian “C6” Porter (Call of Duty)

highest earning esports players C6
Credit: @Crimsix│ Instagram

A major player in the North American Call of Duty competitive scene. C6 has won three world championships and 37 major tournaments over the course of his career.

His amazing ability to stay ahead of the pack for so many years as he adapts to new games and new rules has earned him a spot on this list.

He has made at least $1.2 million in prize money.

9. Tyler “Ninja” Blevins (Fortnite, etc)

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It would seem wrong to leave out one of the highest-paid Twitch streamers of all time. He has competed in several esports events but the majority of his earnings still come from his entertainment career.

If I were to go by cash value alone, he would be at the top of the list but the fact that he is only on the outskirts of the esports world, puts him lower down the list.

10. Joona “Serral” Sotala (Starcraft 2)

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One of the best non-Korean Starcraft 2 players in the world. Finnish-born Serral has risen up the ranks of the scene to become the highest-paid Starcraft competitive player.

He was the first non-Korean player in history to win the StarCraft II World Championship Series in 2018.

As a result of this, his total prize winnings from esports events totaled nearly $1 million.

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Andrew Boggs

Andrew is a Northern Ireland based journalist with a passion for video games. His latest hobby is watching people speedrun Super Mario 64 and realising how bad he is at platformers.

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