Maybe in the past playing video games was seemingly a waste of time, but obviously no one had idea how big eSports were going to get. With the development of professional video gaming tournaments where prize money is offered, eSports has become one of the biggest businesses in the last five years. Couple that with video game production, and you get a billions of dollars industry.
eSports Winnings in Numbers
The International 2015 tournament prize pool for Dota 2 in the end reached $18,429,613, which is the largest prize pool in eSports currently. The first placed team received $6,634,661, while the second placed got $2,856,590. Even the sixth placed team walked away with little over $1 million. Just for comparison, the UEFA’s Europa League prize money stands at $9 million, while the winner of the Super Bowl gets $8.5 million. These numbers are amazing when you think that a bunch of nerds playing computer games can earn like an entire team of athletes.
The second, third, and fourth largest prize pools where also for playing Dota 2. This is not because Dota 2 is more popular than for example League of Legends or Counter Strike, but it is because of Valve’s ingenious way in which they collect the money for the prize pool. Nevertheless, it just shows how much one can earn from spending his entire day in front of a video game, learning tactics and improving his reflexes.
League of Legends (LoL) is the second highest earning game with prize pools relatively smaller than Dota 2 tournaments. The LoL 2014 World Championship had a prize pool of $2,130,000 with $1,000,000 going to the winning team, and just $250,000 for the second best team. Naturally the winners were a Korean team, where gaming is sort of a religion and almost an official national sport. The tournament was watched by 27 million people and was broadcasted on ESPN.
How much do the Best Teams Earn?
The richest gaming team is the Evil Geniuses with overall earnings of $11,237,496.10 from playing at 400 different tournaments. Even though 87% of their earnings come from Dota 2, they don’t seem to specialize in one game, since they have won tournaments where different kinds of games are played like first person shooters such as Call of Duty, Counter Strike, Halo, MMROPG’s like League of Legends, Starcraft, Warcraft, World of Warcraft etc. They are also this year’s The International 2015 champions.
The team called Newbee is the second richest team with $5,639,073.03 won at just 31 tournament, which is very impressive. 99.55% of those winnings were earned from playing Dota 2. The list of the 5 highest earning teams is as follows:
- Evil Geniuses, $11,237,496.10 (478 tournaments)
- Newbee, $5,639,073.03 (31 tournaments)
- Vici Gaming, $4,360,066.91 (57 tournaments)
- LGD Gaming, $4,021,028.11 (60 tournaments)
- Natus Vincere, $3,870,636.83 (223 tournaments)
Just like any high-earning celebrity, gamers too receive big media attention as well as followers. The popularity of League of Legends players in South Korea is amazing. Even universities like the Chung-Ang University have allowed for gamers to apply for athletic scholarships.
The popularity and the money involved are drawing more and more kids and young adults into gaming where they can become pro gamers with a genuine career. Yes, there have been pro gamers in the 1990s, but it wasn’t until 2010 when pro gamers began to make money of their skills.
How Much Can You Make With Betting?
All of this has spawned a new category of bettors, eSports bettors. And the reality is that you can make as much money from eSports betting as betting on popular sports like horse racing, soccer, football or basketball. Major betting sites like Pinnacle now allow bettors to place wagers on eSports events and the odds are equally good as with other sports. How much you are going to make depends on how much you are going to bet and how good you are in predicting which eSports team will win. You can place futures, proposition bets, handicaps, spreads, combination bets etc.