The inaugural Overwatch League season is approaching its conclusion and Blizzard will be very happy with how things have gone.
The league has attracted a healthy crowd of fans thanks to exciting gameplay, well produced streams and an ensemble of star players and pantomime villains. The foundations are now in place for the developer to push on with its goal of developing an esports league to rival the biggest sporting competitions in the world.
Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykles, former Counter Logic Gaming coach turned Overwatch League commentator, believes that the competition is well on its way to achieving that goal.
Speaking recently on his Oversight talkshow, MonteCristo stated that he believes, due to the success of the first season, Overwatch League players will be earning upwards of $1 million annually by the third season, in 2020.
Speaking during the Oversight talkshow, MonteCristo said:
“Now that we know how successful it’s going to be, I guarantee you, [by] year three, there’s going to be a million dollar,”
Will Overwatch League have a $1 million player by 2020?
Given how things are going, this is definitely possible. The league has already proved its ability to generate income. Blizzard sold the streaming rights to Twitch in a $90 million deal earlier this year. That was the largest esports streaming rights deal in history. Likewise, teams have attracted plenty of sponsors which, while unreported, likely generate a considerable income.
As viewership increases, so too will the money that teams are willing to spend.
Overwatch League rules state that all players must be paid an annual wage of at least $50,000. However, this is just the minimum. Many players are already earning considerably larger amounts.
San Francisco Shock’s Jay “Sinatraa” Won made headlines prior to the inaugural season’s start when details of his $150,000 contract emerged. It is highly likely that there are players on even larger deals than this.
Teams will want to attract the very best players and will undoubtedly offer larger amounts in order to do so.
We have already seen this happen in other esports, such as League of Legends. The very best League players are already earning multi-million dollar salaries each year. For example, SK Telecom T1’s Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok reportedly makes $2.5 million annually.