Nick J. July 13, 2020
According to a report by Danish website BT.dk, Astralis' players earn hundreds of thousands of dollars in salary each year, even before winning prize money from their in-game performance.
While the salaries of professional CSGO players have long been a mystery, BT.dk caught a glimpse of what esports' top players are paid. The report places the salaries of Astralis' players at $364,000 USD each year, before any tournament winnings. According to the report, Astralis' pro players take home 90% of any tournament winnings they earn. That means Andreas "Xyp9x" Højsleth, Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander, Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen, Nicolai "dev1ce" Reedtz, and Emil "Magisk" Reif took home somewhere around $750,000 USD for their stellar 2019.
That's a massive paycheck to play CSGO, especially since Cloud9 president Dan Fiden once stated that CSGO loses the organization millions of dollars each year due to the way current CSGO pro contracts work.
Astralis was the winningest team of 2019 by far, followed by Team Liquid. Given either team's position as the best in their region, it's likely that the salaries are similar. But unless a player gets a spot on a top team, it's unlikely their salaries or total take-home pay gets anywhere near Astralis'. With nearly half of their total take-home coming from tournament winnings, second-tier teams competing in tournaments with lower prize pools would stand no chance to reach Astralis' pay grade.
But as Counter-Strike's second rung of tournaments increasing in popularity thanks to competitions like WINNERS League and the Mountain Dew League the salary gap could start to close, if only a bit. With most tournaments currently taking place online, that means that tournament organizers don't have to spend as much renting a space and putting on a LAN event. This could increase prize pools and boost player earnings alongside it.
Fans have always assumed that the top teams take home a pretty penny for the work they put into Valve's CSGO, but with this report, fans finally have an idea of just how much the top players in the scene make every year. It's still unclear if dev1ce had to pay for the StarLadder Berlin Major trophy, though.
If he did, he could certainly afford it.