Study Says eSports Stars Will Soon Earn More Than Professional Athletes

 Gamers 'Ninja' (L) and 'Marshmello' compete in the Epic Games Fortnite E3 Tournament at the Banc of California Stadium on June 12, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.

Getty Image / Christian Petersen / Staff

Gaming is a very, very, very big deal these days. Thanks to the massive worldwide popularity of Dota 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, League of Legends, Overwatch, and of course Fortnite, millions of people are watching eSports. A new study believes the popularity of eSports and the salaries of professional gamers will grow exponentially, to the point that eSports gamers will make more money than professional athletes.

Researchers from Ryerson University released a new study that claims that pro gamers will soon earn more than pro athletes. Toronto-based researchers Louis-Etienne Dubois and Laurel Walzak back their claims by saying, “video games generate viewership at least on par with professional leagues.” While this may sound preposterous, it isn’t out of the realm of possibility because traditional sports have peaked whereas eSports has much growth to enjoy.

Taking place in a sold-out stadium, the 2016 League of Legends tournament drew in 36 million viewers, that would be 5 million more viewers than the 2016 NBA Finals. Earlier this month, Goldman Sachs projected eSports viewership would outdraw Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League in 2018. By 2022, eSports are expected to have 276 million viewers, making it as big as the NFL. Goldman Sachs analysts noted that total esports monetization will reach $3 billion by 2022.

The study notes that advertisers will be quite interested in eSports because of its young and dedicated audience. “Companies like Red Bull, Coca-Cola and Samsung, all usual suspects when it comes to advertising and young people, are flocking to eSports,” the paper said.

Twitch gamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins makes $500,000 a month playing video games, which breaks down to a yearly salary of about $6 million. That’s nearly the same amount that Yogi Ferrell got from the Sacramento Kings this week. That isn’t very much in the world of professional sports where LeBron James signed a 4-year contract worth $153 million or Stephen Curry’s 4-year contract worth $166 million or Giancarlo Staton’s 13-year contract worth $325 million. Could an eSports really make these kinds of astronomical numbers?

The video game industry is the fastest growing entertainment industry in the world and the growth of eSports is fueling it. eSports has had a meteoric rise and that’s been accomplished in less than a decade so there are so many opportunities to grow even more yet to come.

In recent years, eSports has exploded and colleges are even giving away scholarships to students who are exceptional Fortnite Battle Royale players.

A state-of-the-art $10 million esports stadium is being built in Arlington, Texas. The 100,000-square-foot stadium will be the largest eSports arena in North America. Do you think eSports gamers could make more than pro athletes?