And wages are rising in North America. Mr. Greeley said the average for a player in a team’s start five games has increased to $ 460,000 from $ 300,000 since 2018. Mr. Wolf said, the highest-paid players in the United States have can make $ 500,000 more than their elite counterparts in a country like Korea.
Many of the League Championship Series 10 teams supported by billionaires also own traditional US sports teams. But the sport has not yet become a cash cow. To join League of Legends, teams have to pay Riot between $ 10 and $ 13 million.
Riot declined to say how much League of Legends they make and analysts don’t think they make any direct profits from esports. But SuperData, a research firm, estimates that the game itself brought in more than $ 1.8 billion in revenue last year.
Just a few blocks from Riot’s headquarters in western Los Angeles – where matches usually take place – is Sawtelle Avenue, where esports stars regularly visit ramen restaurants and boba shops. Genie Doi, an immigration lawyer in the esports field, said Korean transplanters often spend weekends in Koreatown, where they can find dishes that make them remember home.
Work-life balance in the US is another attraction for tired players with 18 hours of daily practice and even developing wrist injuries, says Kang Jun-hyeok, a Lien player. Legendary born in Korea is now Team. Liquid coach. Although Korea and China have made strides in recent years, the culture is “work hard, sharpen until you fall,” Kang said.
North American teams advertise these benefits to potential players as they engage in a subtle flirt to attract the best liberals before other teams do. When a player decides to sign a contract, Ms. Doi helps the team apply for a visa, which she says is usually granted despite the unusual career.