Esports is a huge and growing industry. Proof of how lucrative owning and playing in Esports leagues came today when ESPN reported that NRG Esports just signed a 17-year-old Overwatch player named Jay “Sinatraa” Won to a $150,000 a year contract to join their NRG Overwatch League roster.
The Overwatch League
That is a significant amount of money and is $100,000 higher than the minimum salary of $50,000 a year for players. ESPN previously reported that all contracts in the Overwatch League are one-year guaranteed deals, with a second-year option. Not only that, but all players get employer-sponsored housing, a retirement savings plan, and health insurance.
Blizzard, the developers of Overwatch, considers every gamer in the world who plays their video game as a free agent eligible for signing. When players sign a contract with their teams, they also have to sign a contract with Blizzard.
Furthermore, players who sign with an Esports Overwatch team also are automatically entitled to 50 percent of their team’s performance bonuses. In Season 1, $3.5 million in bonuses are available, proving how lucrative the Esports gaming world is. The season’s winner also earns a minimum of $1 million.
That’s not a bad deal for playing video games. This is especially true for the 17-year-old Sinatraa. Because he is a minor, his mother had to sign off on the contract but that was no problem because he is not new to the competitive Esports world.
NRG Esports Overwatch Team
Sinatraa rejoins his former coach Brad Rajani, who he played under at Selfless Gaming. Selfless disbanded back in July and he has since signed on with NRG Esports as their coach. That helped the team win the services of Sinatraa, who also had an offer from Cloud9 to join their team.
NRG Esports is one of seven teams that currently have bought in to compete in the first Overwatch season. It cost the teams $20 million to buy-in, proving how big of an opportunity this is. Owners of Esports teams include professional sports team owners from the New England Patriots, Miami Heat, New York Mets, and Sacramento Kings.
According to E-Sports Earnings, there have been over 23,000 tournaments that have totaled $358.3 million in prize money awarded. According to Newzoo, 2017 will see a year-on-year growth of $696 million and will reach $1.5 billion by 2020.
Sintraa and the NRG Esports team will start Overwatch Season 1 play against South Korea in the opening match at BlizzCon in Anaheim, California, from Nov. 3-4.
[Featured Image by Blizzard]