In terms of esports, League of Legends is one of the biggest and most-viewed games ever. But just how much prize money have the top players managed to rake in since it was released?
With Riot Games, the developers of LoL, tightly controlling the domestic leagues and international tournaments that are held each year, League of Legends professionals don't get as many opportunities to win massive prizes as players from games with an open circuit, like Dota or CS:GO.
However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t still impressive prize pools for the events that do take place — especially for players like Lee ‘Faker’ Sang-hyeok that have managed to consistently perform well in international competitions, such as the annual world championships.
It will come as no surprise, perhaps, that Faker takes the top spot, as the three-time world champion and SKT legend is widely regarded as the best player to touch the game. Though a less-than stellar 2018 season saw him fail to add another trophy to his collection, a revamped SKT claimed both Spring and Summer LCK titles in 2019, and once again enter Worlds as one of the favorites.
Sitting at just over $1,228,281, the South Korean phenom is the only League of Legends player to have surpassed the million dollar threshold, and another World Championship would only extend his already sizeable lead over the rest of the competition.
Former team-mate Lee ‘Duke’ Ho-Seong trails in second place with $954,620, and since he has failed to qualify for the upcoming world championships, he won't be closing the gap in 2019.
The vast majority of the highest earning LoL pros are South Korean, although a few more Chinese players feature after Invictus Gaming's 2018 World Championship win. In a list dominated by Asian presence, the nearest westerner, Paul 'sOAZ' Boyer, currently sits in 25th place with $422,314.
While the list remains dominated by players plying their trade in Asia, America does have some representitives playing in the LCS such as Bae 'Bang' Jun-sik and Jo 'CoreJJ' Yong-in, while Lee 'Wolf' Jae-wan currently plays in Turkey.
There is a chance that could begin to change with this year's World Championship, however, as the playing field seems to have levelled somewhat over the last year. In 2018, three Western teams reached the top four, and the 2019 MSI final was played between G2 Esports and Team Liquid.
With reigning World Champions Invictus Gaming having only just scraped through the regional qualifier, the stage is set for an incredibly competitive event with no heavy favorite and multiple credible threats for the trophy.
As the 2019 season draws to a close, the eagerly-anticipated Worlds 2019 is set to be held all across Europe, with the event concluding at the AccorHotels Arena in Paris, France.
The full top 20 list, according to esportsearnings.com, can be found below. This article will be updated after the conclusion of each major League of Legends competition.
Of course, regardless of the outcome, the impending world championships should see a big shuffle in the list, as teams from various regions begin to qualify in a bid to compete for what is set to be the biggest prize pool in League of Legends tournament history to-date.
Updated: September 10, 2019 - 4:00 AM (EST).
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