smooya ballparks CSGO player salaries, including six-figures for s1mple, NiKo, and more


While streaming some Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Owen "smooya" Butterfield disclosed the salaries estimates of some of the most popular players in the competitive scene. 


Smooya started discussing the Copenhagen Flames, whose players allegedly made only $2,000 a month before their PGL Major Stockholm 9th-11th place showing. Now, they make around $5,000, which is around the average salary for a pro CSGO player, smooya said. 


These numbers, of course, go much higher when talking about the most prolific players in the scene, smooya continued.



Natus Vincere's Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev, considered the GOAT of Counter-Strike, makes $50,000 a month, according to smooya. G2 Esports' Nikola "NiKo" Kovač is allegedly in the same range, which would put these superstars on around a $600k annual salary. Smooya added that there are at least 10 more top players that make around $40,000 a month, including the likes of Vitality's Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbaut.


While there's no official confirmation on these CSGO player salaries — as there rarely is in any esport — a $600,000 annual paycheck for superstars like s1mple and NiKo would not be outrageous. S1mple is not only the reigning CSGO Major champion, but has represented the esport as its best player for years, and is the lynchpin to Natus Vincere's powerhouse. 


Yet the $600,000 figure for someone like s1mple isn't that much higher than the reported payouts in other leagues in esports — at least not as high as one might expect. In May 2020, Hal Biagas, the executive director of the North America LCS Players Association (NALCSPA), said that the average LCS player salary in League of Legends is $410,000, though this average takes into account multi-million-dollar paychecks for certain players in the region. The number given by Biagas in 2020 was already an increase from what LCS Commissioner Chris Greeley quote the year prior, namely $300,000. 

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