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If you’ve ever taken the time to glace at the prize money awarded during video game tournaments, you’re probably aware eSports is a booming business. It’s so popular, Goldman Sachs recently projected eSports viewership would outdraw both Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League by the end of 2018. In addition, Goldman suggested by 2022, eSports will likely be on par with the NFL, amassing upwards of 276 million viewers annually with a total revenue of $3 billion dollars.
All of that money has to go somewhere, and a recent poll by Ryerson University believes it’ll be in the pockets of those elite video game players, many of whom are expected to make more money than some professional athletes in the near future.
Take for example popular Twitch gamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, who already makes $500,000 playing video games a month. That breaks down to an annual salary of $6 million dollars per year, a figure that many non-star athletes would be thrilled to see in their bank accounts.
Blevins is just one of many professional gamers who have experienced a drastic income jump in recent years thanks to the success of eSports, which saw their 2016 League of Legends tournament draw 36 million viewers – five times more than the NBA Finals.
Granted, there will always be exceptions to the rules and it’s difficult to imagine eSports players achieving the types of financial contracts we see handed out to the best of the best in pro sports like Aaron Rodgers or LeBron James. But on salary alone, it’s very possible video game players will be making just as much, if not more money, than your average professional athlete in the very near future.