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Complete Guide to Understanding eSports Payments

The rise of eSports and eThletes has left brands wondering how to pay them. This article delves deeper into eSports, including payments and how companies spend their earnings. Still have questions? Check out our recent eSports and Gaming Market report for the latest.

The eSports industry can only grow as fast as the payment systems allow it. The quicker payments can be processed, the more gaming there will be. Creating streamlined processes is the secret to helping the industry grow. In fact, competitive gaming and streaming have become so prominent that in the latest news:

  • The industry is projected to reach $1.5 billion by late 2023.
  • In 2020, there were 496 million esports viewers.
  • The average pro esports player earns approximately $5,000.

e-Thletes are now on par with mainstream athletes in several ways.

In this article, we’ll dive deeper into eSports, how much players make, how to send payments, how gamers receive payments, and the industry’s future.

What are eSports?

eSports (short for electronic sports) represents video game competitions where professional players (or teams) compete against each other in multiplayer video games. eSports are typically played in front of a live audience via social media or broadcast to online viewers through various streaming platforms. That’s why some players are also referred to as streamers.

eSports can encompass a wide range of genres and game publishers (like Riot Games), including:

  • Real-time strategy games
  • First-person shooter
  • Multiplayer online battle arena games
  • Fighting games
  • Sports simulations
  • And more…

Some of the most popular eSports titles include Dota 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Fortnite, Valorant, Call of Duty, and League of Legends.

Over the years, eSports continue to grow in popularity and have become a significant part of the gaming industry. Millions of dollars in prize money is awarded every year at major global eSports events. eSports teams, brands, and eSports organizations have also emerged, with players signing contracts, gaining sponsors, and receiving lucrative endorsement deals.

How Much Do eSports Players Make?

The amount of money eSports players make will vary depending on a variety of factors like their level of skill, the game being played, viewership, and the eSports competitions in which they compete.

In general, there is eligibility for eSports players to earn substantial prize payments. Their money is earned through a combination of salaries, tournament winnings, royalty payments, and endorsements. Some of the highest-paid players and teams (like team liquid and the overwatch league) make millions of dollars annually.

However, it’s important to note that most players do not earn anywhere near a million dollars, and a large majority cannot make a full-time living off of eSports. The eSports industry is highly competitive, and success depends on skill and a combination of dedication, luck, and popularity.

Additionally, the industry is still relatively new and is constantly evolving. This can make predicting long-term earning potential for eSports players much more challenging. Nevertheless, with the growing popularity of the industry, there’s no doubt eSports will continue to earn more in the years to come.

How thoroughly do you understand esports, gaming, and streaming markets?

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eSports and Digital Payments

Esports and digital payments are closely intertwined, as most esports transactions and prize money is paid out using digital payment methods.

One of the primary reasons for this is that many esports players and fans come from countries where traditional banking systems are less accessible or unreliable. Digital payments, such as PayPal, Skrill, Tipalti’s global partner payment platform, or cryptocurrency, offer a fast and secure way for players to receive prize money and for fans to purchase tickets and merchandise, or make donations to their favorite players or teams.

Additionally, the global nature of the esports industry means that digital payments are often the easiest way to facilitate transactions between players, teams, and tournament organizers from different parts of the world. Digital payments can also offer greater transparency and security, as transactions can be tracked and verified using blockchain technology.

Why are Digital Payments Important to eSports?

So, how do gaming companies manage digital payments? With transparency, accuracy, and scalability. Here are a few reasons why digitizing payment options is crucial for brands in the industry:


Digital payments are far more accessible than traditional banks, especially for players from countries with less developed banking infrastructures. In addition, digital payments allow fans and players to easily send and receive payments, and streamline participation in eSports tournaments and events.


Digital payments for eSports provide a fast and easy way for players, sponsors, and fans to transact, just like traditional sports. In a global industry, digital payments can facilitate quicker transactions outside of North America.


eSports require secure transactions, and digital payments can help make that happen. Payments are processed using secure and encrypted platforms, reducing the risk of fraud and other financial crimes.


Payments that are digital provide a greater level of accountability and transparency. When using blockchain technology, for example, transactions are recorded securely and transparently. This makes it much easier to track payments and ensure funds are distributed evenly and fairly.


As the eSports industry continues to evolve, digital payments offer a scalable solution for managing financial transactions. As a result, a business can process a larger number of payments faster and more efficiently. Digital payments also help the eSports industry continue to expand and reach new audiences.

How Companies are Sending eSports Earnings

Businesses use many methods to send eSports earnings and payouts to players and teams. Some of the more common ways include:

Digital Payment Platforms

Companies can send eSports earnings using digital payment platforms like Skrill, PayPal, Tipalti’s partner payment platform, and Payoneer. These platforms offer a convenient way to send payments and can be extra useful when sending smaller amounts of money.

Streamline Global Partner Payments with Tipalti

Provide a seamless partner experience for every gamer, streamer, and developer in your network with Tipalti’s global partner payment platform. From partner onboarding, fraud detection, payments to compliance, Tipalti grows with your gaming company to help protect and scale your business.

Bank Transfers

Many companies transfer eSports earnings directly to players using the bank. Bank transfers are more common for larger payments, such as salaries and tournament winnings.

Prepaid Cards

Another option to send eSports earnings is through prepaid cards, which players can use to make purchases or withdraw cash. Prepaid cards are an excellent option for players or teams who do not have direct access to a bank account.


Cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin, is another popular way to pay eSports players and teams. It offers several benefits, including faster transaction speeds, greater security, and lower fees.


Players and teams also earn money through sponsorship deals with brands in the gaming industry. This can include financial support (in local currency), as well as gaming equipment and other resources. Sponsorship payments are typically made through bank transfers and other digital payment methods.

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How Gamers are Receiving eSports Earnings

Gamers receive eSports earnings through a variety of different payment methods, depending on the platform, game, tournament type, and location. Some of the more common scenarios in which players collect payment include:

Digital Payment Platforms

Some players receive their earnings through digital payment platforms like Payoneer, PayPal, and Skrill. These programs offer a convenient and fast way to accept payments and are particularly useful for collecting earnings in smaller amounts.

Direct Bank Transfers

A variety of gamers receive their eSports earnings directly to their bank account via wire transfer. This is more common for larger amounts like tournament wins and salaries. Players and teams just have to provide their banking information to the tournament organizer or sponsor, who transfers the earnings straight to a player’s account.


Many gamers invest in crypto and are more than happy to accept it as a form of payment for earnings. It offers several key benefits, like lower fees, faster transaction speeds, and greater security.

Prepaid Cards

Players can receive earnings through a prepaid card, which can then be used to make purchases or withdraw cash. This is an excellent option for players that do not have a bank account.

Prize Pool

In this case, players receive earnings as part of a larger prize pool. The pool is divided among tournament winners and paid out in cash, merchandise, and other prizes depending on the event rules.

Overall, payment methods for eSports earnings are also evolving, as the industry continues to mature and grow. Tournament organizers and sponsors constantly seek new and innovative ways to pay gamers and streamline the process.

The Future of eSports Payments

As the esports industry continues to expand, digital payments will likely become an even more critical part of the payment ecosystem. As a result, brands specializing in fintech and digital payments are increasingly looking to capitalize on the growth of eSports by offering new services and solutions tailored to the needs of the industry.

Want to know more about solutions for the gaming industry? Click here for how companies in the gaming industry scale partner payments.

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