And salaries are increasing in North America. Mr. Greeley said the average of the initial five players on a team has risen from $ 300,000 to $ 460,000 since 2018. The highest-paid player in the United States, Mr. Wolf said, could cost up to $ 500,000 more than its elite counterparts in a country like South Korea.
Many of the 10 teams in the League Championship Series are supported by billionaires who own traditional American sports teams. But the game has not yet become a cash cow. To go to the League of Legends, the teams had to pay Riot $ 10 million to $ 13 million.
Riot refused to say how much it was made of League of Legends and analysts do not think it is making profits directly from e-sports. But Superdata, a research company, estimated that the game generated more than $ 1.8 billion in revenue last year.
Just a few blocks from Riot’s headquarters in western Los Angeles – where matches are commonly played – is Sauvelle Boulevard, where e-sports stars often visit Ramon restaurants and Boba’s shops. E-sports immigration lawyer Jini Doi said Korean transplants often spend their weekends in Koreatown, where they can get food.
South Korea-born League of Legends player Kang Joon Hyok said the balance of work-life in the United States is for players who are tired during 18-hour practice days and are also developing wrist injuries. Huh. Liquid coach and general manager. Although South Korea and China have progressed in recent years, he said, the culture is “working hard, grinding until you collapse”, Mr Kang, 31, said.
North American teams gave these benefits to prospective players as they engage in a delicate courtship to lure the best free agents ahead of other teams. Once a player decides to sign a contract, Ms. Doi helps the team apply for a visa, which she said was usually granted despite an unusual profession.