How to earn on eSports in Russia

How to earn on eSports in Russia

This sector generates a good deal of money. Who gets it? In 2017, the volume of the eSports market grew threefold in comparison with 2016, reaching an incredible figure of $655 million.

This article will reveal the following aspects:

  • how much and how eSports players earn;
  • who else earns on eSports, and how;
  • the most profitable disciplines of virtual sports;
  • prospects of the global and Russian eSports industry.


Players: how and how much eSports athletes earn


The eSports player’s main source of income is tournaments. The more skilful players are, the greater chance to enter a good club they have.

World-class clubs scoop a large profit in case of victory: for instance, The International 2017 Dota 2 world championship has provided the best teams with $24 million, with the winner receiving almost a half of the sum.

Souvenirs and merchandise

The value of team merchandise also directly depends on the popularity of club or certain player. For example, the shirt costs about $44, the NAVI shirt costs $42, and the NAVI poster costs $15. Merchandise allows a team to receive around 5–10% of total revenue.

How to earn on eSports in Russia


The eSports player’s separate source of income includes advertising and sponsorship agreements. A contract can involve a single player or a whole team. Contracts with sponsors bring $2 thousand per month, while clubs showing great results can receive $120–300 thousand per month. The world’s best teams obtain up to $9 million.


Well-known players can have their own blogs, generally YouTube channels, and cooperate with businesses regarding ad placement.

A good blogger is not necessarily a good player. It is important to know well your target audience and to talk to it the same language, but former players more likely become successful bloggers. They are famous and trustworthy, thus they immediately draw a large audience instead of spending years for this purpose like common streamers. Fans watch bloggers in order to adopt their experience and discover secret methods of elite sports.

Who else earns on eSports?

ESports is becoming so popular that not just tournament organizers, eSports players, and other industry participants can earn on it but also those who are not directly engaged in this sector.

Businesses selling gaming devices

ESports sponsorship allows companies selling electronics to receive a direct access to their target audience. For instance, the official shop of NAVI and clubs offers a keyboard designed due to all the key features required for players for $140 and a holder for a gaming mouse wire for $23.

Betting shops and online casinos

For example, is a partner of MELbet, Betway, Ninjas In Pyjamas, Cascade Gaming, and other similar platforms.

Virtual trading platforms

Platforms selling software and game keys also invest in eSports and earn on it. Well, one of the major sellers in this area, G2A, is advertised by many teams. Na`Vi (Natus Vincere) played under the team tag previous year.

How to earn on eSports in Russia

Energy drinks

They also have benefits: Generation Z representatives, the main eSports audience, primarily buy energy drinks.

Companies are not just selling their products but also thinking strategically: Generation Z will soon become one of the key financially reliable market participants.

Most profitable eSports disciplines


The well-known football simulator has become one of the eSports disciplines in the World Cyber Games, the first major international eSports tournament.

Sergey ‘kefir’ Nikiforov is, perhaps, Russia’s most popular player. His YouTube channel has almost million subscribers.

2. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

With the game being relatively old and subject to many upgrades, the average age of players and fans is higher as well: approximately 25 years. Egor ‘flamie’ Vasilyev and Denis ‘seized’ Kostin from the Natus Vincere club earned more than $500 thousand during their career. Besides, polish players from the team earned $2.6 million while playing CS:GO.

3. Dota 2

An undisputed leader of the Russian market. In 2001, The International Dota 2 tournament drew a prize pool of $1.6 million. The winners received $1 million. Each new tournament increased the prize pool that reached $24 million in 2017. The $10.8 million prize was divided among the winners. It is quite possible that there is more to come.

A prize pool of ESL One Katowice 2018 was million dollars: the winner received $400 thousand; the 2nd place obtained $200 thousand; the 3rd place got 120 thousand.

4. League of Legends

While Dota is the most popular game in Russia, League of Legends is the most popular in the world. It has 100 million fans. There are 2 leagues in Russia: Continental League and League of Candidates.

The Gambit team was the summer season champion of the Continental League 2017. The winner earned 1.5 million rubles, and the second place participant received 1 million rubles. A prize pool of the completed season was 9.5 million rubles. Moreover, it will be increased up to 10 million rubles in 2018.

How to earn on eSports in Russia

5. Overwatch

The game has 25 million fans. One team requires $2–15 million to participate in Overwatch League competitions. According to estimates, league profit exceeds $720 million.

Prospects of world and Russian eSports industry

The Newzoo analytics company has published the report predicting industry profit in 2018: in comparison with 2017, it will grow by 38%, up to $906 million. By 2021, the turnover can reach $1.65 billion.

Besides, eSports is very likely to become an Olympic event.


2016, eSports entered a new stage, becoming an official kind of sports. According to SuperData experts, the volume of Russian eSports market will reach $49 million in 2018.

You can find more about eSports earnings, eSports education, and industry opportunities at Russia’s unique conference dedicated to eSports – eSPORTconf Russia 2018.

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