Lee ‘Faker’ Sang-hyeok, at 22, is the most famous League of Legends player in history. Faker has 14 golds in big championships, including the three world championships which he has won along with his compatriots SK Telecom T1. The success of his professional career has led him to become not only one of the great competitive stars but one of the highest paid players in the world.
But how much money does Faker earn?
It is not an easy question to answer. The earnings of esports players is a taboo subject that is not usually revealed, except through some leaks. One of the ways to obtain objective data is to add the money won in prizes by the player during his career. If we consult the statistics of Esports Earnings, one of the portals that keep track of the money given out in tournaments, we note that Faker has won approximately one million euros in prizes of competitions throughout his career. A number that places him in 41st place, below 40 players of Dota 2, a game that distributes millionaire prizes in tournaments like The International. Kuro ‘KuroKy’ Takhasomi ranks first in this table with more than 3 million euros won in prizes.
But for a big star like Faker, prize money is only a small part of his annual income as a player. We must bear in mind that his name has become a very important brand and a great model for his club SKT T1, a team sponsored by the telephone giant SK Telecom. In addition to the salary that you perceive as a member of the club, you must add the income from sponsorships and publicity, image contracts, media exposure and even premiums.
The best contract in the eSports industry
Less than two years ago Faker decided to renew the contract with his club. Some media channels had published the intention of several Chinese teams to sign the South Korean star for amounts of more than 5 million euros. But SK managed to keep their star player after offering a 5-star contract. Some of the data of that contract, filtered through the South Korean press, was collected by numerous international media forums. The player went from collecting 700,000 euros to at least 2 million euros a year, along with a substantial advance payment close to 3 million. An annual figure similar to that of the best baseball players in South Korea. The press also highlighted one of the clauses of that contract: several members of the Faker family would receive different jobs in the company SK Telecom.
One of the other figures is the 4 million euros per year in income for the player. These numbers have not been ratified or denied at any time by either Faker or the club. Currently, both Faker and his SKT team have a challenge ahead. Faker has declared that they will do everything possible to reach the World Cup. If so, Faker’s profits will only increase.