During the rise of eSports in the early 2000s, professional gaming organizations, teams and players started gaining fame and recognition for being gaming’s most elite, but also began making a lot of dough too.
Back then, earnings usually arrived in the form of sponsorships for professional teams.
Today however, the landscape has evolved and eSports is now a multi-million dollar industry, with tournaments being held that offer as much as $3million in prize pool money.
So which teams have benefited the most? We take a look at the top 10 richest eSports teams in history.
10 Team Liquid
Team Liquid is considered to be one of the most popular professional gaming teams in the world, and started in 2000.
Headquartered in the Netherlands, Team Liquid of today is a multi-regional franchise that has a large number of divisions competing in every eSports game on the menu.
It’s also interesting to note that Team Liquid is now owned by the Washington Wizards and Golden State Warriors. They’d participated in an astounding 842 tournaments at the time of writing since inception, earning a total of $4.7million.
Many Starcraft II fans will fondly remember the South Korean team, MVP, who lit up the GSL tournament in 2010 with brilliant individual performances from players such as “Forev” and “QO”.
MVP, or Team MVP officially began in 2010 as a Starcraft II team but has now since expanded into Dota 2 competitions.
Team MVP has over 411 tournaments in the bag at the time of writing, which has seen them raise up to $4.7million in tournament earnings.
8 LGD Gaming
LGD Gaming is the fourth Chinese team on this list, and one of the earliest Chinese professional gaming organizations in the country’s history.
Founded in 2009, LGD Gaming made a name for itself in the international scene thanks to their ever-present Dota 2 squads, which participated in consecutive The International Tournaments from 2012 to 2015.
The franchise still competes in Dota 2 tournaments today alongside their League of Legends squads, and had competed in 87 tournaments all together at the time of writing, with earnings of up to $5.2million.
7 Vici Gaming
Vici Gaming is a Chinese pro eSports team that specialized in Dota and Dota 2. Founded by fellow professional players in 2012, it would take many tournament participations and exits before Vici Gaming picked up a major win.
Today, the franchise has expanded into League of Legends and Hearthstone, participating in a total of 127 tournaments around the world at the time of writing.
They have also earned a combined total of $5.5 million, making them one of the most lucrative Chinese teams in the world.
6 Natus Vincere
Natus Vincere, or affectionately nicknamed Na’Vi by their legions of fans, is a mult- gaming eSports franchise that started out in the Ukraine.
Na’Vi boasts a very diverse squad of competitive teams, taking on a wide range of competitive team-based games such as World of Tanks, FIFA and Dota 2.
To date, the ever popular Na’Vi has participated in a respectable 312 major tournaments with earnings as high as $6.2 million.
Another reason they should be proud is that Na’Vi’s Counter Strike teams are the only ones in history to win back-to-back major tournaments.
5 SK Telecom T1
South Korea’s SK Telecom T1 was initially a sports organization that opened its eSports division way back in 2003.
The South Korean franchise is famous for putting together a squad of the nation’s best Starcraft players, who now have sealed their legacies as their nation’s greatest ever.
The franchise is still active today and has branched out into covering Starcraft 2 as well as League of Legends. In 200 major tournaments at the time of writing, SK Telecom T1 had earned a respectable total of $6.9 million.
Newbee is another team hailing from China, but unlike the rest, they were given a good head start thanks to sponsorship by a local billionaire.
Founded in 2014, Newbee’s squads hit the record books for earning the most money at a single tournament that year, a total of $5 million, during The Internationals 2014 for competing in Dota2 and Hearthstone.
With only 76 major tournament participations so far, the future is definitely bright for the Newbee franchise and it’s a scary thought thinking about the amount of money they could make in a couple of years.
UK and US based Fnatic is a well-known team in the eSports ring, and for good reason.
With over 590 tournaments under their belts at the time of writing, Fnatic has a well-recorded history of winning major tournaments, especially with their Counterstrike, Dota 2 and League of Legends teams.
To date, the group had raked in a total of $7 million in tournament earnings, which is the third highest in history.
2 Wings Gaming
Founded in 2014 and hailing from China, Wings Gaming were the second richest eSports team, despite only being established as a professional team for two years before they disbanded in April 2017.
The group is famous for being one of the best Dota 2 eSports teams on the planet.
However, they are best known for their haul at the Dota 2’s The International 2016 Tournament, where they famously won over $9million, which entered the Guinness World Record books for the most money ever won by a gaming sports team.
1 Evil Geniuses
It comes as no surprise that Evil Geniuses sits at the top of the pile, being one of the oldest and earliest eSports teams to ever compete.
Founded in 1999 and based in San Francisco, California, Evil Geniuses had amassed a total of $15.2million in tournament earnings at the time of writing, more than any other team in history.
Evil Geniuses are no slouches either, being very prolific when it comes to tournament participation.
They’d entered a total of 621 tournaments in their history at the time of writing, and they’re known for their prowess in games like Dota 2, Starcraft 2 and Halo.