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?
League of Legends is quite different to most other esports when it comes to earnings. With Riot, the developers of the game, controlling domestic leagues and international events, there's not much opportunity to earn "prize money."
The majority of League pro players' income comes from salaries behind closed doors. However, these earnings are a bit hard to calculate. While we know some of the world's best, like Faker, have been offered "blank cheques" in the past, there's nothing like Dota's TI or a CS:GO Major to fight over.
That doesn't mean there aren't impressive prize pools in League though. Some regional leagues, like Korea's LCK, offer nearly $100,000 to the winners of each split. MSI has hundreds of thousands up for grabs, while Worlds every year is in the millions.
With this in mind, it will come as no surprise that the most successful player of all time internationally, Lee 'Faker' Sang-hyeok, is the game's highest earner. In fact, across thousands of pros, Faker is the only player to crack $1 million in prize money earned, with nearly $1.3 million to his name.
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Many of his teammates rest alongside him at the top. Duke, Bang, Wolf, and Bengi — the next four players on the list — have all played alongside Faker at Worlds. The remainder of the top 20 is dominated by Korean and Chinese talent, which makes sense given their success at the international level.
In fact, you have to go down to #26 to finally reach a Western player on the list. Paul 'sOAZ' Boyer is the highest earner in the Western world of League, pocketing $422,314. However, given the 10-year veteran is just about to hang up the mouse and keyboard, it's likely he will be overtaken by the likes of Luka 'Perkz' Perkovic (27th, $411,900) or Martin 'Rekkles' Larsson (28th, $406,780) soon.
Last year's World Champions, FunPlus Phoenix, also don't appear anywhere near the top 20 despite taking home $1 million as a team for winning the event. Mid laner Kim 'doinb' Tae-sang is the highest earner from that team in 39th, with $330,849. If they manage to repeat their success in 2020 though, most of them should skyrocket into the top 20.
The full top 20 list, according to esportsearnings.com, can be found below.
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This article will be updated after the conclusion of each major League of Legends competition.
Top 20 highest earning League of Legends pros as of August 11, 2020
Check out our other top 20 highest earning pros lists in various esports: