Can eSport be a source of income? Possible revenue models for all parties

The evolution of esports is an amazing spectacle in itself. With every year, the cash flow grows, prize pools are getting heftier and heftier, and the number of sponsors and viewers involved strikes. The niche is diverse and with lots of unexplored areas; that is why many people from gamers to investors full of profit expectations decide to jump on the bandwagon. However, can esports be a consistent source of income? Are there more benefits than, say, when you create a game website (though of course you can always combine things and get the double benefit)? Let’s take a closer look and see if this niche is as lucrative as it seems, analyzing revenue opportunities on every layer – from a player to a LAN center.

The economics behind the esports

Esports, the video games competition that became globally popular in the late 2000s with the rise of live streaming, is expecting to get around 427 million spectators worldwide by 2019. In 2015, the global esports market generated more than $748 million with Asia being a leader (over $321 million) followed by North America ($224 million). The current year, 2018, was estimated to bring $1.9 billion.

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Player revenue ideas

Only the best players in top teams competing in tournaments make really serious money. The others just don’t earn enough to live by gaming. Other sources of income are:

  1. Salary.

If hired by a team or organization (within top esports titles such as Call of Duty, League of Legends, Dota 2, LoL etc.), a player receives a salary in addition to their winnings at the tournaments.

  1. Accounts monetizing.

If a player has an account on Twitch,, or YouTube where they stream or upload their gameplay for fans, money can come in form of donations, subscriptions or be monetized based on the number of channel views (on YouTube).

Team revenue ideas

Most revenue a team makes comes from sponsorship deals (95%). Unlike in traditional sports, esports teams are much more dependent on sponsors. Other ways to make money as a team are:

– Partnerships (famous brands);

–  Endorsements;

– Streaming partnerships;

– Streaming ads;

– Online donations;

– Video streaming;

– Winning in competitions.

Investor revenue ideas

If you aren’t a seasoned esports player, you can still get involved in the rush and earn big money but as an investor. Starting small, you’ll be able to “play” bigger and bigger as your expertise in the niche grows. Here are the ways how:

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– Investing in a player. Find a budding gamer, help them upgrade equipment, become a frequent streamer and join a team, and you’ll see the return soon.

– Investing in a team. New teams emerge every day, but many of them die without a financial support. If you find an up and coming star team and help them pay great players, the success is close. However, this model is the riskiest as you never know how much money they will win for you.

– Startup-ing. There are lots of esports startups focusing on everything related to esports – from machine learning and data analytics to news and content creating. The startup is less risky than investing in a team/organization and, as we mentioned before, there are lots of unexplored.

Event and media revenue ideas

If you know a thing or two in managing events or covering them in media, you can try one (or more) of these sources: stream/event tickets, sponsorships, registration fees (on big events only), in-content advertising, streaming ads, and selling game-related team merchandise.

Own stream revenue model

As the demand for watching esports events is in its surge, creating a competitive stream for hosting esports events can be a gold mine. Of course, to rival the leaders of the niche (Twitch and MLG) and attract betting companies and other sponsors, you must create a really mind-blowing watching experience.

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LAN center revenue ideas

LAN centers are technically essential not only for traditional gaming but also for smaller local esports events such as summer camps, birthday parties, tournaments and so on. If you can develop tech solutions for, say, connecting LAN centers worldwide or consult startups, LAN technology can be a field of opportunities.


More ideas around esports? After combing the web, we’ve found some other interesting profitable ideas: betting, summer camps, apps to improve habits and muscle memory and coaching kids for participating in smaller local league tournaments. Undoubtedly, the esports business is lucrative if you possess the necessary skills and the ability to adapt to a constantly evolving environment

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