10 Ways Pro Gamers Make Money

There are numerous ways that pro gamers make money. In the age of advertising and content branding, with a large enough following almost anyone can make money. However, for pro gamers specifically, the market is especially lucrative. Here are 10 ways that pro gamers make money.

1. Advertising/Sponsorship

cartoon man
Ads are a highly profitable market for gamers!

Some of the most notable sponsors of streamers include Redbull, Monster, Ubereats, Grubhub, and Chipotle, just to name a few. Sponsorships are implemented in different ways from the streamer/creator talking about the service to merchandise being show on screen to even promo codes for the streamer’s audience. 

2. Sponsored Streams

PS4 Controller
Sponsored streams are highly popular for major gamers.

Up and coming games will sometimes pay big name streamers to play their title on screen and talk about it for their audience. Some streamers are wary of this as they believe it will diminish their authenticity as a creator. However, other gamers see this as a great opportunity to increase their viewership and outreach. Regardless of streamer opinion, the fact is that there is real money to be made from sponsored streams. The rate is anywhere from 1 cent to $1 dollar per viewer, per hour. So if someone had 10 thousand viewers and their hourly rate was at $1 dollar per viewer, the streamer would be earning a total of $10,000 per hour! 

3. Ad Revenue

Google AdSense (Youtube ads) pays out 68% of their ad revenue. The average rate per ad view is .18 cents. So for every 1,000 views your video gets, you’d make approximately $18. Keep in mind this is all based on averages and actual earnings could be higher or lower. While .18 cents per view doesn’t seem like a lot, if your channel were to get its fanbase of 1 million people to watch 2 videos per week, you would be raking in $36,000 per week! Twitch ads also generate revenue for the streamer. 

4. Twitch Subscribers

Check out this video for more info on twitch streaming!

If you’ve ever watched someone stream on twitch, you’ve probably heard of subscribing. Twitch offers three different tiers of subscriptions ranging from $4.99 to $24.99 a month. Twitch also partnered with Amazon Prime to allow those who have the Amazon service to redeem a free “TwitchPrime” subscription which is the equivalent of the $4.99 option. Subscribing to your favorite streamer can unlock emotes, special chatrooms, ability to talk during chat “sub mode”, and other special offers from the streamer. Twitch takes 50% of a streamer’s subscription, unless you are a top tier Twitch partner, then Twitch will only take a 30% cut of the subscription instead. That means streamers potentially earn $3.50-$17.50 per subscription. For example, at the height of his career, prominent streamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins had a reported 269,000 monthly subscribers. Even assuming that all of the subscribers had the lowest tier of $4.99, Ninja would’ve been making anywhere from $900,000 to $1,000,000 a month from twitch subscribers alone. 

5. Donations

Donations are well, exactly what they are…donations. Aside from a small credit card or Paypal fee, streamers take almost all of the money made from viewer donations. There’s really no telling how much money a streamer can make from donations as they are usually random, however donations range from $1 to the hundred thousand range. 

6. Merchandise

Any prominent gamer has most likely built a brand to surround their gameplay. Many of the major gamers that you see, all have their own merch that is available for purchase by the public. It’s hard to know specific numbers because revenue would vary drastically  between each respective gamer however, it is safe to say that a gamer with a large following would make a lot of money through their merchandise and brand. 

7. Social Media Ads

Instagram is one of the largest promotional platforms for influencers.

While ads have already been covered, social media ads are in a league of their own.  On average ,Instagram influencers charge $1,000 per 100,000 followers for an ad, and Snapchat influencers charge $500 per campaign for 24 hours. Prices will fluctuate greatly based on who the influencer is and how high their following is. Let’s take Pewdiepie’s 17.4 million Instagram followers for example. At a rate of $1,000 per 100,000 followers, Pewdiepie could potentially earn a total of $174,000 from one sponsored Instagram post. 

8. Tournament Winnings

Team holding a trophy on stage.
Tournament prizes fluctuate greatly and are sometimes split between whole teams.

Pro gamers can make a ton of money from playing in tournaments. Some of the most historical tournament winnings from one player alone total over $4 million, and that’s just one tournament! Prize pools for popular games are getting bigger every year which means more money for the gamers who compete. 

9. Player Salaries

7 High-School Esports Players Who Won Millions
7 High-School eSports Players who won Millions

Many prominent gamers are signed to a gaming organization or team. In order to aquire talent and build their teams, organizations will pay their players a salary. It is reported that over 70% of League of Legends pro players in North America make over $320,000 per year salary from their respective teams. 

10. Partnerships With Game Companies

One of the most interesting ways that a pro gamer can make money is to partner with game development companies directly. One of the most prominent cases of this is Epic Games “support a creator” program in Fornite. Once a creator is accepted into the program, they will be given a code that they can tell their views to enter when they go to purchase in game items. For every 10,000 V Bucks spent (Fortnite currency, 10,000 V bucks are equivalent to $100 USD) using their specific code , Epic will pay the creator $5 USD. 

Know any other ways that pro gamers make money?How much money do you think pro gamers earn? Be sure to check out these additional articles for more info on pro gamers!

Biggest Prize Pools in esports


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