GameSkinny

[Infographic] Pro Gaming Vs. Pro Sports - You've Got a Better Shot at the NFL

The chance to play anything at a pro level is incredibly low, but the chances of going pro in most eSports games so dismal it isn't even funny.

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As it stands today, not only do you have a better chance (statistically speaking) of becoming a pro sports player than a pro gamer, but you also stand to make a lot more money.

What you should take away from this is that the percentage of players that are good enough to actually go pro is immensely small. Don't take this as a reason to give up on your dreams of playing pro though, if you are in that tiny percentage, you might make it.

What I would like to see in the next couple years is that average salary pushing six digits. As the viewership, sponsorship, investment, and advertising increases, so will these salaries. I don't think it is out of the realm of possibility that eSports salaries can reach the millions in the coming decade. 

 

Please note: The League of Legends stats below are from the NA servers.

 

For Dota 2 where we say "competitive" we are referring to the top 15% of players.

 

Originally Published Oct. 7th 2013

Master O' Bugs

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  • 5
    BlitzzFrank 1 year ago
    Featured Contributor
    Last point about how invalid these numbers comparisons are: Platinum is far from the highest ranking bracket in LoL. You should be comparing Diamond division 1 players and challenger players, not platinum and below.
    Last edited 1 year ago
  • 57
    Rothalack 1 year ago
    Master O' Bugs
    Challenger can be compared to NFL Pro. Diamond can be compared to NCAA. Platinum and below can be compared to high school. That is the comparison.
  • 5
    BlitzzFrank 1 year ago
    Featured Contributor
    comparing the different ranks to high school play / ncaa / pro is invalid for several reasons... only professional teams in LoL get paid directly, the ranks do not 'feed into each other' like how high school athletes go into ncaa and then into national leagues. The scale of players and the paradigm of motivations for playing are completely different as well... there are dozens of NFL teams resulting in hundreds of professional players, whereas in gaming there's hardly more than a dozen or so professional teams resulting in maybe around a hundred pro LoL players who'd be winning prize money.
    So, while real life sports have a sort of 'road to becoming a pro', esports does not have a similar journey through high school, ncaa, then major leagues. So comparing the rankings to the different divisional sectors of sports is not very relevant.
    the other factor is motivation for playing. Sports don't see a whole lot of casual play outside of people who are being paid to play them; eSports have a large playerbase who play at an average level for fun, as a hobby, for leisure, and who are not EXPECTING or HOPING to become professional, whereas players of sports on the journey to professional play's motivation is almost entirely to become pro. So you're pulling a statistic from a huge demographic which isn't really the same demographic which you should be pulling from:
    It's like saying only .006% of Scrabble players are going to become pro; well that's misleading because scrabble for most people is just fun, not a means to a salary.

    The structures are still too different to try and compare those particular numbers to each other. Your article's general message is entirely true, but you seriously lack evidence to also claim that if you play at the skill level of the best 1-2% of an eSport, that you shouldn't pursue professional status. Especially with how explosive the eSports scene is and how quickly it is growing; there's no telling what kind of popularity LoL will have a year from now.
  • 12
    Cortalia 1 year ago
    Contributor
    I honestly think your too personally biased on your opinions.

    You claim that Sports don't see "casual" play. So why is it that your local community hall is always packed?, where I am, even the high schools offer drop in sports night at least once a week, wither it be volleyball, badminton, touch football, track, you name it, depending on the time of year their is CONSTANT events going on for casual sports. Not to mention the for funsy leagues of things like bowling, pickelball, pool, racket ball and the like. Everyone pitches in a "season fee" to cover rentals and the "prize" for the tournament winners, which is typically like a cheesy trophy and some custom apparel. So saying sports don't see casual play is ... well.. a flat out lie.

    I think we forget that it takes physical equipment to play a sport... if you don't have a tennis racket your not going to have much luck playing tennis, or even if you have a basketball... what about a net?... esports require little more than having something that 90% of the population has, or has easy access to ... a computer and/or game console. (and yes I made up that stat), so its much easier and more convenient to be a casual player, which is why the stats are so much more in favor of classic sports for going pro. Although I would say it takes as much dedication to go pro at esports as regular sports, I doubt the LoL champ just picked up the game a week before the tournament.

    I think esports has many, and I mean a many a year before it becomes more mainstream, its full of too many problems on the casual level that it deters alot of people from even thinking of going towards the pro market.

    You go to drop in volleyball and you suck... yeah theirs a chance that people are going to make fun of you, or ridicule you... but that's a such a minor chance, more likely they just want to play and will either help you out, or just keep their mouths shut and bitch about you to their friends later. But since we can hide behind our computer screen in esports more people have a tendency to run their mouths off and deter a future great player from getting to that point.

    The other major flaw is that so many new e-games come out all the time, we don't know how big LoL will get in a year... or maybe something new and shinier will come out and LoL will be more or less a ghost town, it might become the next Marvel Overpower.
  • 57
    Rothalack 1 year ago
    Master O' Bugs
    Only professional teams (or semi-pro teams) get paid directly, getting paid for anything related to sports while in NCAA will get you expelled and banned from playing NCAA again (at least that's what I understand). I would say that each ranking bracket does feed into each other comparably to traditional sports. The difference comes when you consider that in LoL you can move back down a bracket.

    I see what you mean by the scale of the leagues, that was one of the points I was trying to get across here, that there is still nearly endless room for growth within eSports. How cool would that be if 250 or so college grads were drafted onto eSports teams each year.

    I would personally say that the journey from amateur too pro in traditional sports is fundamentally similar to the journey to pro in any eSport game. You pick up the game, you play and love the game. You realize you are actually good at the game and find a passion in it, thus you begin your journey. I would say there is a more difficult journey in eSports, partly because the fact that video games only last but so long, so you have to get pro status skilled in a game in a much quicker amount of time compared to traditional sports.

    I also did not mean to get across that it is impossible to make it to a pro level of play. I said "Don't take this as a reason to give up on your dreams of playing pro though, if you are in that tiny percentage, you will... might make it." What I'm saying is that you have to be within the top tiny percentage of players to have a chance at playing pro. If you are at that tiny percentage top, you can do it, you can play pro.
  • 5
    BlitzzFrank 1 year ago
    Featured Contributor
    The history of games' and their lifespans is a real threat to LoL being a lasting 'top dog' of eSports, but consider these facts. LoL was launched in 2009 by a newbie dev company (League is their first and only game), and is now the most played video game in the world, in the span of ~4 years. Starcraft 2 has had ~3 years, and Blizzard as a company is utterly rolling in cash to fund eSports programs and price winnings and everything else associated with promoting their competitive play. League has already provided a competitive structure which is most comparable to traditional sports of any esport, combined with some of the highest prize pool offerings (competing only with Dota 2, which right now has a higher average prize pool per tournament but has less tournaments and pools cumulatively). (http://www.esportsearnings.com/games)

    It would be interesting to see an eSports draft, and I wouldn't be surprised if the timing of that structure is copied, but what actually is happening is pro LoL teams are picking and replacing players based on the challenger ladder and I guess, 'who knows who' to an extent. That's part of the reason I disagree with equating highschool>ncaa>pro national leagues of sports with esports; challenger ranked players are who are getting 'drafted', they are not the pros themselves. That's a bit of a rough topic to cover because trying to copy over the same journey to professional level with eSports can be regarded as agism, you don't need to be fresh out of highschool or in university to be a potential pro for gaming.


    Your point about local pick up and community events regarding casual traditional sports is hardly valid because again, look at the scale of numbers of people playing. You're talking about perhaps dozens, maybe hundreds per sport in a locality who engage in casual sports weekly or bi-weekly, but compare that to how many people are logging on and playing LoL in that same time frame in the same locality. Yeah, people play them, but nowhere near on the same scale as casual eSports players.
    Last edited 1 year ago
  • 16
    TiquorSJ 1 year ago
    Featured Contributor
    42 million people play "organized" baseball in the US. Meaning there is some form of league, schedule, etc. http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_many_people_play_organized_baseball_in_America

    That means ~80,000 per state. I would imagine it is a touch more than "dozens or maybe hundreds per locality".

    That is one sport. Soccer is larger. The "casual" play for traditional sports is massive.
  • 5
    BlitzzFrank 1 year ago
    Featured Contributor
    Your statistics regarding eSport professional incomes is roughly a year old, which makes it pretty much obsolete in the quickly accelerating world of pro gaming. Also you didn't factor in any income for web traffic, advertising, or merchandising, which for the most part, unlike sports which typically is done through third parties, go straight to the players.
    Last edited 1 year ago
  • 57
    Rothalack 1 year ago
    Master O' Bugs
    They are the salaries recorded in 2012. I did not include the side income of the esports pros because I also didn't include the side income for sport pro's. RGIII has been in Subway commercials and appeared on the show 'The League' (and I'm sure there are some others) which he has probably made way more than his annual salary off of. There is a difference between salary pay and unpredictable pay. Salary is a paycheck. Web traffic, advertising or merchandising is a side unpredictable income. It's like the difference between free to play and pay to play models on games. Blizzard know how much money they will make(only slight variations) because of subscriptions. Riot truly has no idea how much they will make next month because by random coincidence players might generally not buy anything.

    If a player happens to get big publicity one month, the amount he makes off that viewership does not indicate that he will make that next month. That's not included in "salary".
  • 5
    BlitzzFrank 1 year ago
    Featured Contributor
    "This past Friday, the LCS World Championship match between SK Telecom T1 and Royal Club, I noticed at least 500,000 concurrent viewers. "
    Where are you pulling these numbers from? 500,00 is a joke ... there were ~4 million viewers tuned into the SEMIfinals...
    Last edited 1 year ago
  • 57
    Rothalack 1 year ago
    Master O' Bugs
    I should have clarified, "on Twitch". I have fixed it in the post.
  • 5
    BlitzzFrank 1 year ago
    Featured Contributor
    Another important and more pressing topic is whether professional athletes and gamers should be making more than a million dollar salary, it's a large contributor to the catastrophic welath imbalance USA is/has suffering/ed from. Most professional athletes are horrendously overpaid.
  • 5
    BlitzzFrank 1 year ago
    Featured Contributor
    @TygerWDR I just this past weekend organized a bar viewing event for the world LoL finals and rounded up >30 people in just a week or two.

    What you guys are referring to is the 'cultural background' knowledge. Your average john doe doesn't know what an 'Ace' or "inhibitor down" means, but know that home runs, touchdowns, foul balls, etc are because real life sports have had (in most cases) upwards of 7 decades to permeate popular culture.

    Riot Games is making huge steps towards demolishing these obstacles which prevent LoL from being a mainstream cultural spectator eSport.
    I presented a talk at a small convention held by my city recently covering this exact subject, but unfortunately didn't cover as much as I had hoped to.
    http://youtu.be/N7l3-TM0Au0
    Last edited 1 year ago
  • 57
    Rothalack 1 year ago
    Master O' Bugs
    Make a post on GameSkinny next time you organize a bar event. I say this because RVA for life and I wish I would have known about your shindig.
  • 29
    TygerWDR 1 year ago
    Featured Contributor
    The hurdle to e-sports will be one of entertainment. Can a LoL event pass the "Bar test"? Probably not.

    Err, the bar test. Could someone sitting in a bar watch the event on TV and follow the action easily without being told by announcers what's going on in the game. Right now, no. You need announcers to inform the audience what's happening.

    But put other sports to the bar test, and you see quickly what needs to be overcome. Rugby, cricket, baseball, football (and US Football / "Hand-Egg") can be followed easily without sound. LoL and other e-sports, not as much yet.
  • 57
    Rothalack 1 year ago
    Master O' Bugs
    I see what you mean. But I also think that comes down to, anyone in a bar watching a football game obviously know whats going on, what the rules are. It's the same for LoL, if you are watching a live stream you most likely know what's going on regardless of hearing it. So I think that hurdle will be jumped very very soon. I also don't think the hurdle is impassable just because of the need for announcers. I honestly think it isn't necessary for those who know the game.
    What it is going to take to jump the hurdle is purely getting the game in front of people, watch a few matches or play the game once, you can watch and understand whats going on.