If you've any doubt in the continued growth of esports at home and abroad, these figures from the North American League of Legends scene might change your mind.
In a long-form interview with Team Liquid, the general manager of OpTic Gaming's LoL team, Romain Bigeard, revealed that the average salaries for players in the North American LCS has doubled over the last 12 months.
Players in the upper echelons of North American LoL were already getting paid six figures - substantially more in the case of superstars like Doublelift, Huni and so forth - but that amount has soared to an average of ~$415,894 a year:
I believe franchising was a key step for the overall NALCS growth. The average player salary was bumped up from $US150k/year in 2017 to $US327k/year in 2018 (a concerning trend for teams), and the amount of cash invested by organisations into their infrastructure greatly increased as well. It is becoming a full industry, with long-term sponsorship deals happening and a lot of visibility on the line.
How much each player earns is undoubtedly dependent on the level of sponsorships, merchandising and other revenue streams available to each team and player. It also doesn't account for what money players might make through streaming, or what streaming deals each player would have with those teams.
As a small reference, the average weekly total earnings for Australian adults (as of last November) was $1,628.10. That's $84,661 over the course of a year, almost a quarter of what the average top flight NALCS player is getting.
That said: $84k is substantially better than what any Australian LoL player is getting, and over $30k more than the minimum salary for players in the Overwatch League. Things like superannuation, insurance and paid leave also aren't things that you'll find in most esports just yet, especially in Australia. But it helps to have a bit of perspective on where the industry is headed.
The full interview with Bigeard, which touches on the role of GM's and managing a grassroots team, is well worth a read. Check it out over at Team Liquid.