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    Top 9 eSport Players by Prize Winnings Earn $3.1M in 2020, Lower than 2019’s #1 Player

    Published on January 21, 2021

    The list of 2020’s top eSports players by total prize winnings took a vastly different shape from the norm.

    According to the research data analyzed and published by Safe Betting Sites, chess Grandmaster Sven Magnus Carlsen was the top eSports earner in 2020. With total winnings of $499,420, he was among the four chess players on the list of the top 50 eSports players.

    Based on a report by Unikrn, the earnings of top 50 players in 2020 plummeted by 80%. The figure dropped from $55 million in 2019 to $11 million.

    Top 10 Teams in 2020 Made $13.25 Million, $2.58 Million Less than 2019’s Top Team

    The classification of chess and other board game under eSports occurred after a Twitch streaming craze in the summer of 2020. Thirty-three-year-old Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura is credited with initiating the craze. He won a total of $289,810 in 2020 and was ranked as the eighth player based on prize winnings.

    However, from $240 million in 2019, the 2020 overall eSports prize pool fell to $92 million in 2020. Among the contributing factors was the cancellation of Dota 2’s The International. In 2019, the highest earner globally took home $3.16 million courtesy of that event. Comparatively, the top nine players in 2020 earned a cumulative $3.1 million.

    Games like Fortnite also had massive budget cuts during the year. From a prize pool of $71.6 million in 2019, it shed 90% and offered only $7.9 million in 2020. On the other hand, CS:GO was among the top money drivers with a $15.84 million prize pool. 34 of its players took home over $100,000 each.

    The highest earning team in 2020 was Dallas Empire, which made $1.80 million. Compared to 2019 rankings, these winnings would have placed the team in the 22nd spot. For comparison, OG was the winning team in 2019, raking in $15.84 million according to Statista. In 2020, the total winnings of the top 10 teams amounted to only $13.25 million. That was $2.58 million less than the 2019 #1 team.