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How Much Do Professional Esports Gamers Make in 2021?

Esports is a booming industry. According to Business Insider, Esports viewership is expected to grow at 9% per year.

In 2017, the total audience of active esports enthusiasts was estimated at 335 million but this is expected to double by 2023.

This means that the total esports audience will surpass the global audience of sports such as Golf, Rugby and Baseball by 2023.

No sport is growing as quickly as esports and this makes the new industry very exciting and creates a lot of opportunities for gamers to make money.

Which brings us to the essence of the article: how much do professional esports athletes earn in 2021?

How do they earn money, how much money do the earn and is this esports a career worth pursuing?

How Pro Gamers (Esports Athletes) Make Money

The income sources for professional Esports athletes is very diverse.

  • Salary from Esports organization
  • Sponsorships
  • Streaming on Twitch
  • Youtube
  • miscellaneous

Salary from Esports organization

Esports athletes are signed to an Esports organization and just like regular employees get paid a salary for their labor.

For example, salaries for professional players in the brand new Valorant game, are between $15,000 and $20,000 USD per month, according to millenium.

Of course, the salary of the players heavily depends on the popularity of the game, and how good the players are.

For your average e-sports athlete, the salaries are between $3000 and $5000 per month.

Prize Money

Competitive e-sports athletes are constantly competiting in competitions which sometimes have massive prize pools.

For example, reported highest price pool for competitive gaming ever was the 2019 Dota 2 Championship with a prize pool of $34,330,069 USD.

The average e-sports athlete makes about $50,000 per year in prize money.

Streaming on Twitch

Streaming is an incredibly lucrative way to make money through gaming, which is why most esports athletes spend a lot of time streaming on platforms such as Twitch.

For example 22 year old Canadian Valorant pro TenZ recently announced his retirement from competitive Valorant in favor of content creation.

Which makes sense, because according to Twitch Tracker, he has around 3,600 subscribers meaning he makes $12,600 USD per month on subscribers alone. With donations and advertisements his monthly income from Twitch is likely to be around the $25,000 range.

Not bad, and definitely enough to retire from the competitive scene.

Read also: how much Twitch streamers make per month


Most professional gamers have some sort of presence on Youtube as well. Youtube is yet another place where esport athletes can grow their branding through content creation and make some extra cash on the side from that sweet Youtube ad revenue.

Youtube pays gamers about $2-$6 per 1000 views on their Youtube videos.

How Much Do Esports Athletes Make: Professional Gamer Salary 2021

The average esports athlete makes around $3000 to $5000 per month.

However, this is just the base salary they get from their organization.

Besides this they can make a significant amount of extra income from sources such as tournament prizes, streaming on Twitch and Youtube content creation.

How To Become A Pro Gamer

So you want to become a pro gamer? Here are 5 tips to get you started.

Pick one game and stick to it

Pro gamers are professionals because they have dedicated an enormous amount of time perfecting their skills… in one specific game.

Or at least one specific type of game.

For example, you can get likely away with playing multiple shooter games. But if you want to become a Fortnite pro and spend most of your time grinding out on your Minecraft server, you won’t make it as a professional gamer.

Dedicate a large chunk of time to gaming

Professional esports athletes work just as much as any sports athlete out there. This means they likely spend at least 6 hours a day on improving their skills.

Study your game

You can spend thousands of hours playing a game, if you don’t know what you’re doing, many of those hours are wasted.

It’s important that you spend a lot of your time learning new things about the game. Study the competitive scene, study the competitive teams and learn from them.

Analyze their gameplay and really pay attention to the details. If you think you already know everything, you’re kidding yourself.

Become active in the community

Your game has lots of online communities that you can take advantage of. Think subreddits, forums, Facebook Groups and more.

By becoming active in the community you will be the first to know about upcoming tournaments, changes in the game and more.

It’s also a great place to recruit for your team or get recruited by a team.

Compete, Compete, Compete

In order to get to the top, you will have to start from the base of the mountain. You can only go up from here. Every competition you can find, join it. Even if there is no prize money or it looks amateurish.

The only way you can make your way to the top is by actively competing in online tournaments, and by joining small, local communities you’ll be able to find smaller tournaments to get you started.

Frequently Asked Questions

How To Join Esports?

If you want to join esports, you will have to compete in online tournaments and make a name for yourself. This is by far the best way to get noticed and scouted by an organization.

What Are The Chances of Becoming a Professional Gamer?

Statistics-wise the odds of becoming a professional gamer are extremely slim. Some statistics show that only 1 in 10,000 gamers can make it to the professional level.

I wouldn’t let those kinds of statistics stop you from chasing your dreams though, as that is just what they are: statistics.

These statistics are based on how many gamers there are in certain games and how many professional players there are in the same game.

This is of course a terrible benchmark as the large majority of any game are casual players.

If statistics were to track how many gamers succeed after 7 hours of playing a single game for over a year, the metrics would be far more in your favor.


Professional Esports athlete can make a nice amount of money and have a lot of income opportunities beyond their professional salary on sources such as Youtube and Twitch.

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