2019’s highest-earning esports teams include some surprises

The Esports Observer put together a list of the top 10 esports teams by prize money in 2019. While some organizations were expected to be there, many took us by surprise. From well-known organizations like OG and Team Liquid to less-known teams like the Sentinels, the list has it all.

OG, Team Liquid, and NRG top the rankings

OG tops the list thanks to winning Dota 2‘s The International 2019 and earning $15.81M, the largest winners’ prize in esports history. That also made those five OG players the highest-earning players in the history of esports. Along with some small winnings from Super Smash Bros., this organization ended their year with a whopping $15.84M in prize winnings.


Team Liquid comes in second after having found success in numerous titles, especially Dota 2Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, League of Legends, and Fortnite. Their Dota 2 team earned $5.08M during the year, with most of it coming from their TI second-place finish. A lot of credit can also be given to their Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team, which at one time was seen as best in the world. They managed to acquire around $2.3M in tournament prizes this year as well.

North American organization NRG Esports rounds at the top three, mostly from playing Overwatch. As the owners of the San Francisco Shock, NRG acquired $1.5M after Shock won the Overwatch League. Furthermore, Fortnite players also won around $2.85M in prizes throughout 2019. Several other titles, such as Rocket League and Apex Legends, additionally helped NRG get to a total of $5.28M tournament award earnings in 2019.

Sentinels, Cooler Esports, and Lazarus as big surprises on the list

Teams you may not have heard of round out the top 10. For instance, Sentinels joins the list thanks almost entirely to Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf, the 16-year-old Fortnite prodigy who won Solos at the Fortnite World Cup, bringing in $3M in cash prize money. With a total of $3.26M earned from prizes in 2019, the Sentinels rank ninth.

Cooler Esports also ranked on the list solely from Fortnite earnings. Emil “nyhrox” Bergquist Pedersen and David “aqua” Wang won Duos at the Fortnite World Cup, winning $3M for the Cooler organization. Cooler Esports is placed sixth with a total of $3.51M earned in 2019.

The last surprise on the rankings is Lazarus, who relied on multiple smaller esports titles to finish fourth on the list. With winnings from Fortnite, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Hearthstone, and PUBG, the organization won a grand total of $4.22M in prize earnings, cementing them just shy of the podium on the list.

IMAGE: Lazarus

What do you think of the money this teams made with tournament prizes this year? Let us know in the comments!

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