14 April 2018 - 14:00

How much does Faker make?

Being the world's best player can leave you with a big paycheck.
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When you've won the League of Legends World Championships three times and are considered the best player to ever play the game, you can command an impressive salary.

Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok of SK Telecom T1 is the best League of Legends player ever, and the closest thing esports has to a household name. He has won countless titles since his professional debut in February 2013, including three world championships, one Mid-Season Invitational title, and multiple LCK regional titles under the SKT banner.

So how much does a player like that make?

The fact is, we can't know for certain. The only people who know that for sure are probably Faker himself and his accountant. He has revenue streams beyond just his professional play: There's sponsorship opportunities, for one thing. Still, one recent report claimed that Faker was offered $2.5 million per year to resign with SK Telecom T1 following their third world championship win.

Esportsearning estimates that Faker has won $1,169,713 dollars overall from tournaments he has attended as of April 24, 2017.

The only player to come close to this is Lee "Wolf" Jae Wan, SKT's support, who has taken home an estimated $907,635 over the course of his career, just about $160,000 less than Faker.

In April 2018, former South Korean Starcraft player and current TV personality Hong "YellOw" Jin-ho claimed that Faker was earning up to $4.6 million every year, which included basic salary, sponsorship, and winnings. YellOw's claims are guesswork, however, so we aren't sure where these numbers come from.

Faker still is far off from being one of the highest paid earners in sports. On the Forbes list of the world's highest-paid athletes, soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo leads the pack with $88 million in total earnings, nearly 35 times Faker's theoretical wage.

Other high-profile earners include NBA star LeBron James ($77.2 million), tennis star Roger Federer ($67.8 million), and NFL star Cam Newton ($53.1 million).

Still, that's comparing Faker to stars in established sports that have, in the case of soccer and football, built up their professional scenes for more than a century. League of Legends was released in 2009. Considering just how quickly esports has grown, it's safe to assume the biggest esports stars are going to make even more money than Faker in the near future.

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