Every CS:GO player has dreamed at least once of becoming a professional esports athlete. Stepping onto the stage, hearing the crowd roaring in their honour, using the most expensive and luxurious skins, and, surely, having a substantial amount in a bank account. And yes, today we will talk about money. How much do esports players earn? Who has biggest salaries in CS? In this article, CS.MONEY Blog discusses the salaries of the best CS:GO players.
Note: the figures discussed below are approximate and are based on what certain trustworthy scene representatives said. The real net salaries are hidden in the layers of contract papers.
Pro Player’s Income Consist Of ..?
Regarding the life of a professional CS:GO player, prize money are not the most important part of an esports player’s wealth. Unlike Dota 2 with its prestigious tournament, The International, CS:GO championships offer large but not astronomical amounts of prize money. For example, a BLAST.tv Paris Major winner will receive only half a million dollars. However, this amount is divided among five players, with coaches, managers, and organizations usually having their shares. Additionally, don’t forget about taxes, so the final sum is not that significant, especially in modern Western countries.
Fortunately, prize winnings are not the only source of income for esports athletes. First, players often have substantial salaries and incomes from media-related activities such as streaming and marketing collaborations. Although, most of this data is not publicly available, so we can only estimate how much CS:GO esports players earn based on the fragments of information that are accessible.
Jumping ahead a bit, take a look at this infographic to get an idea of where esports players get their money from:
Prize Money & Top Players By Prize Money Won
This is the easiest and straightforward parameter to calculate. We have unconditional statistics on prize money before any deductions, and we can use it. A website called Esports Earnings keeps track of prize money from various esports tournaments, including Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
They calculate the total amount of money earned by players using a simple formula: all the prize money from attended tournaments is divided by five (the number of players) and then summed up.
The leader, and the only player to surpass the two million mark, is Peter “Dupreeh” Rasmussen. Basically, he is the player to earn the most prize money in CS:GO. Considering that he is the only player to have competed in all Majors, it is unsurprising.
Three of Peter’s teammates from the golden Astralis era are also in the top five by prize money won, along with s1mple, arguably the greatest player in CS:GO (and with the imminent release of CS 2, this status will essentially be cemented).
Here’s an interesting fact. The list of the top ten players who have earned the most prize money include players from teams to win Intel Grand Slam. However, Twistzz, who has won this prestigious cup twice with two different teams, is only in the ninth place. Surely, he’s only 23 years old and his active career started later than others, so the Canadian can easily top this race in the future.
Salary & Top 5 Biggest Salaries In CS:GO
Salaries are often kept secret, and depend on various factors, including skill level, media appeal, and various external commitments. It also depends on the organization: fewer teams are throwing around money these days.
According to smooya, s1mple and NiKo’s salaries are around $50,000 per month, and there are about ten players whose salaries exceed $40,000. Fer claims his maximum salary as a player reached $43,000 monthly. He also mentioned that the average monthly wage in Tier-1 teams is around $30,000. For example, Fnatic’s captain KRIMZ earns $40,000 per month, according to several sources.
Should we believe this information? Well, it’s a little controversial but still might be real. We will never get the exact figures, and this information is often based on unverifiable rumours. However, we can estimate the approximate earnings of top players.
Another thing to consider is the evaluation of players’ transfer fees by the Esports Transfers project. Transfer fees are often directly proportional to players’ income, and while specific numbers may raise questions, we can get an idea of who earns the most money.
Stickers & How Much Do Players Earn From Stickers
Another important part of players’ earnings is stickers. Players’ autographs, especially if they are creatively made, can bring a significant amount of money. At the BLAST.tv Paris Major, players went above and beyond and created numerous references. You can read about it here:
If you like any of them, you can buy them in a few clicks on CS.MONEY Market. But how much do professional CS:GO players earn from stickers? Let’s start with the official figure: for two Majors (Stockholm and Antwerp), the community supported teams and players with over $70 million. There are 24 teams and 120 players participating in each Major, so you can calculate from there.
We’ll add two more figures here. Firstly, former HellRaisers CEO Alexey Slabukhin stated that teams earn around $150,000 to $300,000 from stickers at a single Major, with a small portion going to the players. Lastly, Kenny “kennyS” Schrub mentioned that a sticker could bring a player around $150,000 if they participated in the early stages and up to a million dollars if they win the tournament.
These are estimates from the player’s perspective, and their accuracy can be questioned, but they provide the overall idea.
Streaming and advertising
Despite streaming and advertising being two completely different things, we can discuss them together because they influence players’ media aspect. The more popular you are, the more money you can earn from media. Different companies may want to establish long-term partnerships by making players ambassadors for their brand, or engage in smaller and shorter interactions simply by giving away some items.
Players could get various devices for free, and the only thing needed is to write about it on their socials. Brands could also give players cool skins or make a discount on its purchase.
The richest esports players can earn a lot of money from salaries, sponsorship contracts, prize money, stickers, and so on. Therefore, they can afford the most expensive things, including, of course, skins.
And while the ceiling, according to many sources, is about fifty thousand dollars a month for the best CS:GO players, this figure may either grow in the near future (for example, as in football), or can remain at the same level, given the recent development slowdown in the whole esports.
But it turns out that salary is not the only source of money for an esports athlete. And often not even the largest source!