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Esports earnings: Virtus.pro CSGO stars' salaries on par professional footballers

The news broke this week that Snax, formerly of the famous Virtus.pro brand in Poland, had agreed a deal to leave and join German org mousesports. This deal apparently cost the buying side a fee of around $290k, with the player wages not reported, but we do know what he left behind in Poland. There, at VP, he and his colleagues earned around $25k a month, but how does this compare to other Polish athletes, or even those from further afield?

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Well, the highest salaries in Polish football are around the $300k mark, with a few lucky individuals going over that in some circumstances, which already puts Snax’s former team mates on a par with the best-paid players in Polish football, with the average closer to £50k annually. While that is still a far cry from the £400k a week some players are rumoured to make in the Premier League, or the wages Lionel Messi receives from Barcelona, it is impressive and amazing to think the draw of CSGO in Poland is so great that it justifies this sort of spend.

Other sports are also popular in that part of the world, with Speedway riders able to pull down PLN 1.1m a year, which works out around £220k annually, while the top basketball stars earn around £10k a month according to sources. This shows the scale and scope of CSGO in the region compared to any sport, even volleyball, where Poland has won world titles, cannot compete with the monster esports has become.

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Some would say that it might justify the spend if VP still won things, of course, but that is a conversation for another day, and their willingness to let Snax go suggests they are aware things need to change. Getting back to the money situation, how does Mr Biceps or The God Kubski compare to the average wage in the biggest leagues? As it turns out, not too badly either, with even top divisions paying their players slightly more on average.

Always a bigger fish

In 2014, the average wage in Ligue 1, the French top league, was around £19k a week, with La Liga in Spain paying £23k a week on average, or thereabout. The arrival of a bucket of oil money and Neymar in Paris will have raised the average wage in France by now, but it is still impressive to think that Byali takes home the same amount as the average player in the most popular game on earth, in the biggest leagues on TV.

There are always bigger fish, as we know, and most of those swim in the murky waters at the top of the big leagues, and particularly in the Premier League in England. The average weekly wage in the Premier League is now above £50k, meaning that the very wealthy Polish stars still earn a fraction of the amount a player in the most popular league in the world does. Not a bad aspiration to have, of course, and nobody is pretending the Premier League achieved this level of profitability overnight either.

However, for esports it is amazing to think that we have come so far in such a short time. 2012 saw $45k as the highest prize pool for any event in CSGO, and today a bunch of old dudes with bad aim earn more than half of that per month. If we continue on this path, it won’t be long before grumpy old men start arguing the players don’t deserve the money they earn being the best in the world, and the we’ll truly have reached the level of professional football.

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