Matched betting specialists, OddsMonkey, analysed the earnings of the top 100 female e-sports players and found a shocking pay gap between them and the average top competitor. Here, Peter Watton from OddsMonkey delves deeper into the findings and how we can realign these disparities.
What was once a hobby for people has now turned into a global phenomenon with committed gamers now turning this into a career for themselves and securing some sound prize pots. But as the landscape has evolved and there are more competitors involved, female gamers seem to have been left behind.
Here at OddsMonkey, we took prize money data from Esportsearnings.com and calculated the average earnings for the top 100 highest-earning players and top 100 highest-earning female players and found an amazing disparity between them.
From analysing this data, we found that the average total earned for those ranked in the top 100 for prize money was equivalent to $1,991,618.32 while the total for the 100 best female gamers only reached $33,202.21. This accounted for a 98% disparity between the groups studied.
Broken down, we discovered that this meant for every £100 earned by the average elite gamer, top female players were only earning £1.67!
Looking at the data in more detail
From comparing the two tables above, we can see that the data showed a massive disparity between the prize money pots for the top elite player, Johan Sundstein (known online as N0tail) and the top female player, Sasha Hostyn (known online as Scarlett).
From the figures taken from Esportsearnings.com, we learnt that Sasha only earns 5.64% the amount of prize money as Johan does, with the prizes for each equalling $393,000 and $6.97 million, respectively.
Despite Sasha’s impressive position in the gaming world, her achievements can be considered hidden both by her total earnings and her listing as 325th out of the top 500. However, given these disparities, her recent accomplishments on Starcraft II and Liooon winning the Hearthstone Grandmasters Global Finals is testament to the playing field becoming level.
How to shift the gender imbalance in e-sports
While it’s been quite well-known that females don’t appear as frequently at the top of the leader boards, this research certainly highlighted the shocking gender gap between top male and female players’ earnings.
The research has uncovered the underrepresentation of females in the elite e-sports level. Given that there are 41% of top female players in the US overall — and this has previously been 46% — it seems like there should be plenty more, or at least an equal amount, of women securing these top spots and prize money (Statista).
The above also highlights the fact that the earning disparity doesn’t seem to be down to a lack of talent among these female players, with the top 10 from our research all reaching impressive heights in their careers. Rather, it could be more to do with the culture and the way gaming is viewed from an outsider’s perspective — as a male-dominated, and male-owned e-sport.
So, perhaps the gender imbalance stems from females in the industry not wanting to deal with the toxicity and stigma that comes in part with the power of being a top elite player.
But how do we encourage more female talent into the space? Shifting the culture and acceptance of female gamers would be a good place to start. Similarly, taking more time to celebrate the achievements of female gamers can encourage current players and those who will form the next generations, giving them more motivation to succeed in gaming. While it’s important to do this specifically in e-sports where we have uncovered this large earning disparity, things need to change on a large scale, more specifically, in the gaming industry as a whole. By addressing the overall matter, we can empower more women and level the playing field for good.
The disparities between male and female players in the e-sports industry are certainly shocking. But by taking more time to celebrate female talent and dismiss the stigmas around gaming, the industry can become a more equal and welcoming space for everybody.