The Keyboard Kings of the World

 This past Friday, Thailand became the latest of a growing number of countries recognizing eSports as an official sport, joining the ranks of China, the United States, South Korea and others. When it comes to prize money won by its eSports athletes, the Asian country was almost able to crack the top 10 in 2020. The top spots were claimed by places known for its eSports proficiency as our chart indicates.

The United States came out on top with its 4,854 players earning roughly $23 million in prize money. Even though the total might be impressive, China emerges the winner when you factor in the number of players and the corresponding per capita income by earning top spots in eSports competitions. On average, every U.S. player made about $4,700 with tournament wins, while the 846 Chinese players earning a total of $17.2 million managed to rack up a per capita figure of approximately $20,300. Coming in third is South Korea, the country with the longest running eSports history and home to the International Esports Federation since 2008, with a total sum of $9.5 million in prize money earned by 939 athletes.

Overall, 25,193 players accumulated roughly $122 million in prize money in 2020. Even though this seems like a sizeable amount, the biggest revenue streams for the eSports segment lie elsewhere. For 2021, Newzoo estimates revenues of $641 million through sponsorships, $192.6 million through media rights licensing and $126.6 million through publisher fees alone.



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