Stardom, fame and success. When thinking of pro athletes in traditional sports, this is what comes to mind. When I say pro athletes, names like Messi, Lebron and Federer jump up but the meaning of being an athlete is changing, and it’s changing fast. The vast uprising of eSports brings new superstars athletes along with it.
One of the most well-known gamers in mainstream media, and arguably the most famous gamer, is Ninja. Ninja is an incredibly talented Fortnite streamer, with the largest following on all of Twitch with over twelve million followers and an average of over 53,000 viewers per stream, Ninja has his fair share of the gaming limelight. He has managed to bring famous rappers and celebrities into the world of gaming such as Drake, Travis Scott and JuJu Smith-Schuster, including them in his streams and boosting his viewership. His presence in mainstream media has brought Fortnite into the limelight even more, topping 200 million users! Earning over $500,000 a month through Twitch subscriptions, Ninja has accomplished the status of superstar, and has done so sitting at his computer! He even made it to the cover of ESPN magazine!
Although perhaps not as well known to the mainstream public, Faker’s fame is still a force to be reckoned with within the world of League of Legends, a game with over 80 million monthly players! Faker is a Korean athlete, widely considered to be the greatest League of Legends player of all time, winning the LoL championships three times in his career. He has over 1.6 million followers on Twitch, keeping them entertained with his hyper-aggressive playstyle. The Korean has managed to use his skill and passion for the game to make over $1 million in prize money and is very high in prize money won across all eSports. He is consistently ranked number one by analysts and is often referred to as the “God” of League of Legends among the online LoL community. Being referred to as the “God” of a game with such a high number of users, Faker has achieved fame and stardom through his incredibly successful career in gaming.
Ranking first in the list of organizations with the highest overall prize money earnings in all eSports, Team Liquid is a force to be reckoned with in this industry. Valued over $200 million and made up of over 60 players, Team Liquid is a household name in the gaming community, with winning teams in all the main eSports. A recent investment made by Michael Jordan to Team Liquid is a milestone for the company, as well as eSports as a whole. This investment is a statement, embracing eSports into traditional sports society, with Team Liquid at the forefront of it. With a training facility and athlete endorsements, organizations like Team Liquid are bringing gaming to new horizons, both in the standard of gameplay and in the success of the players.
In this new era of sports, gaming athletes are turning themselves into real superstars, with constantly growing followings in all social media. With gamers as famous as Rihanna and with higher earnings than other traditional sports, eSports is giving birth to a new generation of celebrities.