How Much Do Professional CS:GO/CS2 Players Earn?

Esports is, just like traditional sports, all about the winnings. The concept is simple: win more, receive more money. Finish poorly and you end up getting the shorter end of the stick. It just so happens that with a franchise that’s been around for generations of esports enthusiasts, some of the industry’s highest earners in the first-person shooter genre come from Counter-Strike.

But how much do these players earn exactly? Is being a professional CS2 player a feasible way to make a living? And where does the money even come from? Unlike traditional sports leagues with standardized salaries in a predetermined contract that extends to over $100 million annually, a CS2 player’s income is structured in a much more complex way that is influenced by several factors.

How Much Do CS2/CS:GO Pros Make?

It’s first important to understand the different levels of professional CS out there. The best teams, known as Tier 1, compete in the biggest tournaments and make the most money. These players can be found on teams such as Liquid, G2, NAVI, FaZe, and Astralis to name a few. They compete in the world’s most prestigious tournaments such as the IEM Katowice and Cologne championships as well as CS2 Majors hosted by Valve. The average fixed salary for players on Tier 1 teams is around $30,000 per month, however the true superstars of the competitive scene such as Nikola “NiKo” Kovač and Ilya “m0NESY” Osipov are sure to be earning upwards of the mean amount.

Tier 2 and 3 teams are a step below, serving as a training ground for future stars. Players on these teams make a decent living, somewhere around $5,000 to $15,000 per month, but it’s not nearly as much as the top guys. These are teams that many consider to be the “dark horses” in international competitions since nobody really expects them to make a real challenge for the trophy, but they still have serious upset potential. Those in the 25-50th place bracket on’s World Ranking can be considered Tier 2 and 3 teams, where many leading organizations’ academy rosters can be found.

In 2022, Owen “smooya” Butterfield revealed information about exactly what kind of figures Counter-Strike players make on his Twitch stream. He stated that the players of Copenhagen Flames, a second-tier Danish squad, were only making around $2,000 in 2021 up until the first post-COVID Major, PGL Stockholm. After their fairytale run in Stockholm, their salaries were more than doubled as a result of their performance. Butterfield also put some light into how much the top players in the world were earning, with many Tier 1 professionals earning in the $15,000 to $20,000 range while only a handful even cracked salaries of $40,000 a month.

But that’s just the base salary players are offered by their respective organizations. It may already seem like significant amounts to viewers, but that’s far from where the real money of CS2 is at. Additional sources of income for professional players are as follows:

Tournament Winnings: Major tournaments offer massive prize pools, with millions of dollars distributed amongst the top teams. A single victory at a prestigious event can significantly boost a player’s yearly income.

Sponsorships: Top players and teams attract sponsorships from gaming peripheral companies, apparel brands, and even fast food chains. These deals can range from a few thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands annually, depending on the player’s popularity and reach.

Streaming:  Many professional players leverage platforms like Twitch and YouTube to stream their gameplay and interact with fans. Subscription fees, donations, and advertising revenue can generate a decent income, especially for charismatic personalities.

Major Stickers: A portion of the revenue generated from sales of team stickers in CS2 are shared with players, offering an additional bonus.

Tournament Winnings

Players earn a huge chunk of their money from tournament prize pools. The better the team, the more prestigious the tournaments they enter and vice versa. The biggest tournaments in the world boast prize pools of anywhere from $500,000 to $1,000,000, with the champion earning around half of the total amount.

How much a team gets from a certain tournament is completely based on how the payout is structured. In the first-ever CS2 Major, PGL Copenhagen, the prize pool was $1,250,000 split across 24 teams. The championship team, Natus Vincere, took home $500,000. Runners-up FaZe received $170,000, and both podium finishers G2 and Vitality were each given $80,000. In short, the more tournaments a player wins, the more they receive.

That brings us to the most accomplished players in the professional scene. Back in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Astralis were the most dominant and successful team in the world. The Danish squad won four CS:GO Majors and multiple Tier 1 tournaments throughout a three-year span, which makes it no surprise that the five highest-earning Global Offensive players of all time come from Astralis.

Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander earned a total of $1,889,967.40 and is CS:GO’s fifth-highest-earning player. Emil “Magisk” Reif slightly beat out his former in-game leader with $1,900,623.63 after finding success on Vitality following his tenure with Astralis, Nicolai “device” Reedtz made $1,997,654.30 despite taking a lengthy break from competition in the middle of CS:GO’s pandemic era, Andreas “Xyp9x” Højsleth crossed the two-million mark with $2,002,954.96 overall winnings, and finally Peter “dupreeh” Rasmussen stands alone with a record $2,195,064.40 won across five CS:GO Major Championships and multiple big event wins. 


Just like athletes in traditional sports who transcend their team colors to become brand ambassadors, CS2 players with exceptional skill and popularity become targets for major sponsors. These lucrative deals can be negotiated on an individual basis, allowing players to capitalize on their own personal brand, or they can encompass the entire team, promoting a united front. Top brands across various industries, from established tech giants like Intel to beverage companies aiming to capture a younger demographic like Monster Energy, recognize the massive viewership and audience engagement generated by the competitive CS2 scene.  Charismatic players who understand their marketability can leverage their fame and in-game prowess to negotiate even better deals, potentially earning significant sums –  sometimes exceeding their base salaries from their esports organizations. These sponsorships create a win-win situation, with brands gaining valuable exposure to a passionate and engaged audience, and players securing financial independence and potentially even influencing the development of products specifically tailored to the esports community.


Many professional CS2 players stream during their downtime, and it’s no surprise why some even pursue a full-time streaming career after retirement. Donations, subscriptions, and sponsorships are all part of streaming especially when you’re a big name player. Peripheral companies often sponsor streamers due to their connection with the fans and bank on the idea that if they see their favorite player using a certain mouse, headset, or keyboard, then they should follow suit. Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek, a former professional CS:GO player known for his time on Cloud9, is one of the world’s biggest streamers with yearly revenue of around $200,000 per month. Sponsorship deals and revenue splits with streaming platforms all go into exactly how much one earns from streaming.

Major Stickers

Quite possibly the biggest source of income for any professional Counter-Strike player to reach a Major, the stickers that Valve releases for fans have been true game changers. 50% of the total revenue made from a team and player autograph stickers go to the organizations and the players themselves and, with the community’s fondness in opening sticker capsules, it’s no surprise just how much teams earn from this alone.

Just by qualifying for a CS2 Major, the entire team gets their stickers in the game. Regardless of how well they perform, the payout is always the same and has even led to some teams earning more from stickers than from their cut in the prize pool. After the Major Paris in 2023, Volodymyr “Woro2k” Veletnyuk revealed how much his team, Monte, earned in sticker money as compared to their earnings from the Major’s prize pool. Monte earned a modest $45,000 by reaching the quarter-finals but got their true payday from sticker sales amounting to over $200,000. Their earnings from team and player autograph stickers alone are higher than how much GamerLegion won from reaching the tournament’s grand final and placing second.

But that’s just taking into account Monte’s total earnings. In January 2024, revealed that all 24 teams in attendance earned a combined $110,000,000 in sticker sales alone. To completely understand how massive that amount is, the PGL Major Stockholm and PGL Major Antwerp logged a combined sticker revenue of $70,000,000. Following CS:GO’s last-ever Major before the COVID-19 pandemic, those who took part in StarLadder Berlin totalled a combined $11,000,000 from stickers. In the span of five years, there was a staggering 1000% increase from what players earn by merely qualifying for a Major. Players all earned around $200,000 to $250,000 from their respective autograph stickers released during the Paris Major.

What’s Next For Professional Salaries?

How much a professional player earns has only gotten higher and, chances are, the numbers will continue to grow. Despite the many changes in recent times and the release of different titles in the esports community, Counter-Strike’s popularity still puts it among the top destinations for sponsors and investors to get into.

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