League Esports: How YOU can make Thousands playing Video Games
What is League Esports?
The term Esport means simply electronic sports (competitive video gaming) and it is a multi million dollar industry. The Esport scene arguably originated from South Korea in the early 2000's were gamers began to earn a salary from playing competitive video games.
League Esports is currently the largest competitive industry and sees pro players earning millions of dollars per year. Since 2009, over $23 million dollars has been awarded in prize money from over 1500 tournaments. This does not include the sponsorship and salary earnings, which is estimated to be in tens of millions collectively.
League Esports revolves around playing the online moba (Mulitplayer Online Battle Arena) game; League of Legends. The game is free to download and play however, it has the option to pay for additional content such as character skins, boosts etc. The main objective of the game is pick a character from a pool of roughly 100 legends and destroy the enemies Nexus. Each legend has special abilities and is suited to a particular role such as Tank, Attack Damage Carry, Support, Fighter and Assassin. Players must defeat minions and enemy legends to earn gold and buy items to increase their power; so they can push their lane and destroy the objective.
League of Legends has an estimated 27 million accounts registered and each day their servers record over 7.5 million players playing at peak times. There is currently 5 major leagues where teams compete in regional tournaments to have the chance at moving into the World Championship. Players good enough to be apart of a team in the World Championship are treated like football stars and earn millions per year.
How do people make money from League Esports?
The first way a gamer can make money playing League Esports is through sponsorship. Sponsorship creates a basic salary for professional gamers and allows them to give up a full time job to practice playing. Sponsorship comes mainly from technology companies that want their merchandise all over the best players in the world. This is because pro games are streamed to millions of viewers over Twitch, Youtube and even television. Currently, the top team in the EU LCS is 'Fnatic', who are sponsored by Monster Energy, BenQ, Steelseries, Xsplit, Twitch, DXSeat and Avast. So in summary sponsorship can provide a very healthy income for playing video games.
The second biggest earner for professional players is winning tournaments. The prize money for winning the World Championship is $1 million dollars and even sees second place away with $250,000. There are also many more tournaments being set up by independent companies that want to profit from the ever growing community of League fans. Tickets to watch a live match can range from $10 to $70 - depending on the prestige of the tournament.
The third highest earner for professional or even just good players is to stream on Twitch. Twitch streamers can make hundreds of dollars per day in donations alone; if they have the skills and viewers. Twitch viewers can subscribe to players paying roughly $5.00 per month and in return they get special privileges when watching their streamer play. The top earners on Twitch replicate their videos on Youtube to rake in advertisement money on top of the Twitch revenue. One streamer revealed his average revenue from his channel and he raked in almost $100,000 per year from streaming League of Legends.
It is easy to see why League Esports is blowing up with the huge amount of money being pumped into the industry. Even average gamers have the potential to make $30,000 to $50,000 per year by streaming alone.
How far will Esports go?
The Esports community as a whole has tripled in size since 2012, and it shows no signs of slowing down. There are hundreds of Esports tournaments per year and most of them stream over Twitch to ensure they reach as many people as possible. Twitch is the biggest game streaming service in the world and is currently number 4 in the website traffic rankings. In January 2014, Twitch reported 44 million viewers per month, by January 2015 they were hitting 100 million viewers per month. That is a 227% increase in traffic in one year and all of those viewers are watching adverts and potentially donating money to their favorite streamer.
Esports is not without its dark side as the industry is largely unregulated leading to exploitation and abuse. In this years 2015 Counter-strike ESL Katowice tournament, players were accused and some even admitted to taking the mental performance enhancing drug "Adderall". This poses a serious health risk to gamers and it only takes one high profile death to ruin the reputation of the industry. In South Korea there has been a growing concern over player exploitation, where some gamers are expected to play for up to 18 hours per day. This has led to increased mental health problems in players and caused one League of Legends player to attempt suicide after admitting to match fixing back in 2014. However, if the Esports community is able to overlook these issues and resolve them, there seems to be no limit on the popularity around competitive gaming.