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The Business of Esports Organizations in India - How Do Teams Earn Money?

Nishant Patel
15/Feb/2021 10:28 am

The business of esports organizations is a tough balancing act between performance and content
To understand their business models, we spoke to owners and managers of esports organizations in India
The full story includes quotes and examples of esports teams' profit margins, player salaries, revenue sharing deals and more

How do esports teams in India earn money? What is their revenue model like, and how much do Indian esports teams and players earn? To answer these and many more questions, let's start by setting some context. A roster refers to a group of pro players. Add some support staff like coaches, analysts etc. and you’ve got an esports team. Multiple teams competing across different games form an esports organization. The words team, roster and organization are often used interchangeably, especially in the case of organizations that compete in only one game. This was usually the case for esports organizations in India, especially before the PUBG Mobile ban in the country.

The structure of esports organizations, teams and rosters in IndiaDifference between esports organizations, teams, and rosters in India

Running an esports organization is a balancing act between content and performance

The two pillars of an esports organization’s business are content and tournament performance. Most orgs sit somewhere in between depending on their core values and mission. Their position on this scale determines how they will make money. 

For example, in the global landscape, a player owned organization like OG is best known for its performance in Dota 2. Prize money is understood to be its largest source of income. On the other hand, organizations like FaZe Clan and 100 Thieves have content creators who collectively pull in millions of views each month. This allows them to sell valuable sponsorship deals to brands and merchandise to fans.
Similarly, in India, orgs like TSM-Entity, Godlike Esports, and Team Mahi (formerly Velocity Gaming) lean towards the performance end of the scale while orgs like Global Esports, S8uL, and Total Gaming focus largely on content.

Performance and content chart of esports organizationsThe two pillars of an esports organization are performance and content

With the growth of mobile esports in India, organizations in the country have gained considerable fan followings. However, monetization continues to remain elusive, for both performance and content focused organizations. Ignoring the outliers, the average salary of an esports player in India varies between INR 30K to INR 70K (~USD 400 to ~USD 950). Add to this the cost of coaches, equipment, tournament travel costs, and other support staff and it’s easy to see why quick monetization is important for their survival and growth. But how exactly do esports teams and organizations in India and across the world make money? What is their business model and what are their primary sources of revenue? To get a better understanding of the situation in India, we spoke to Dr. Rushindra Sinha, CEO, and co-founder of Global Esports as well as Nimish Raut, India lead at Fnatic.

The full story is part of AFK Gaming’s premium content collection and includes:

  • Learnings from Rushindra Sinha (Global Esports) and Nimish Raut (Fnatic India)
  • A detailed overview of the different ways in which esports organizations across the world earn money
  • Examples and quotes about esports players' salaries, team/org profit margins, and revenue sharing deals between orgs and players
  • Six other premium articles about esports focused largely on India by AFK Gaming

CLICK HERE to explore AFK Gaming's first Premium Content Bundle - Esports Explained.


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Nishant Pateltwitter_link

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Nishant is a co-founder of AFK Gaming and is well versed with esports in Asia. He has an in-depth understanding of the Indian esports business ecosystem.