He won how many millions playing video games? Kyle ‘Bugha’ Giersdorf just won $3-million in the Fortnite World Cup Solo tournament, the largest prize pool of any Esports tournament – ever! But just how much of that cheddar does our man Bugha get to personally bathe in and more curiously; how is it possible for something like video games to generate such an astonishing prize pool? Well, dear readers, it’s all about the numbers.
Scary truth behind Bugha’s $3-million
Kyle is arguably the happiest 16 year in world right now. But he’s not the only one who stands to earn big from his skill-based winnings. Let’s not forget about the all-too-sobering T-word: “Taxes”. Oh yeah! The fine folks at RushMedia ran the numbers. They estimate that Kyle will only take home about half of what he won, writing in a Twitter post; “[Bugha]…owes the Federal Government $1.2m and the state of New York $265,000, approximately.” Ouch! Painful right? In the U.S., if you’re in the top tax bracket, where these earning place Kyle, then you can expect to pay 39.4% of your total income, with another 8.8% taxed in New York for prize winnings. However, Kyle is a very young dude and probably won’t be buying gold teeth, Bugattis and hours of time at the local gentlemen’s club. Still how would you feel about coughing up half your $3-million to the powers that be? Those numbers can take the jelly out anyone’s donut really quick.
Respect the game
Meanwhile a lot of general mainstream media continue to mock Kyle for winning millions by playing video games. But that’s no surprise; video games are rarely taken seriously outside of the games industry. They have been the scapegoat for everything from lack of exercise in children to the issues of gun violence around the world. But what can’t be denied, is that Esports generates beaucoup buckets from both ads and investors. But why? YouTuber Force Gaming throws out some concrete numbers to paint a very clear picture on why Esports rakes in so much more cash than say professional Sports events and championships.
The “E” in Esports
It boils down to entertainment. Using Tennis and the U.S. Open as examples, Force Gaming highlights that the tournament drew in less than 5.2 million viewers for the Men’s and Women’s divisions combined. Contrast that with the The Fortnite World Cup, where Kyle took the crown — it has already hit 10 million views and is still climbing. In 2017 the Intel Extreme Masters had 173,000 attendees. That topped the SuperBowl of the previous year by 100K attendees. Plus the Intel Extreme Masters was viewed online by more than 46 million viewers. It’s purely math. If you have that many people attending and tuning in then they there is money to be made for advertising and investment dollars.
Esports continues to sweep the game industry by storm, with everyone jumping in the action from investors looking to cash in to professional Sports teams, Kellogs and Walmart to…well…even us here at Asetek as well. That’s right! Just a few months ago, we launched an Esports Academy at our headquarters nestled in Aalborg, Denmark and tournaments are beginning “Soon™”.
One might think Esports has reached its peak. Yet thankfully there is still plenty of room for the sport to grow. As viewership grows, it’s quite likely that investment capital and prize pools will swell accordingly.