It might surprise you to know that there are almost 100 different esports teams in the world that have earned over $1 million playing games for a living. These are teams that have competed in hundreds of tournaments, dating back to when esports first became popular, or as recently as the beginning of the year.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that these teams who are earning a boatload of cash are the best teams though. “Best” can mean a number of things, and you may find that there are exceptionally talented players and teams in games that don’t have much popularity now, but used to.
Esports Today and Then
The trouble with trying to define which team is the best and why they are the best is difficult. All of the games out there all require a different skillset in gaming, and it’s absolutely impossible to rate the world’s best CS:GO team against the world’s best League of Legends team. This is where MGOs come into play.
An MGO is a multi-gaming organisation, much like you would see most, if not all major teams participating as such today. It didn’t really fit the esports scene to have one team playing one particular game, because as an MGO, you want to grow your brand. So, you expand out into other games, recruiting new teams.
Back when esports was still a small nugget of an idea, and people who participated were often seen as the outcasts of society, gathering in friend’s basements to LAN and play games, there was the elite crowd who rose to the top amongst their circles.
This then translated into a small rise to fame, but only esports fame in contained circles, as well as a minor amount of prize money for the most talented teams. Today, esports is such as huge industry, the world’s best teams have players in them who are legitimately millionaires.
Money Earned vs Competitions Won
Team Liquid is one such MGO and was founded back in 2000. This means they have been active for nearly two decades now and started out their venture into esports as a StarCraft news site. As the coverage grew, they expanded into different kinds of esports news, and in 2012, they recruited a Dota 2 team to represent North America.
With such an illustrious history, Team Liquid has earned collectively, almost $34 million in esports. This comes from entering 1633 tournaments, according to EsportsEarnings. It makes sense then to see the top team, entering the most tournaments, winning the most money.
A look at the 2nd place team there will quickly put an end to that thinking. OG is a Dota 2 team that was founded just four years ago and is the only team in the world to take two separate The International tournaments, back-to-back in 2018 and 2019. For those that don’t know, The International is the highest paying tournament in the world of esports.
OG sites just half a million in estimated prize money behind Team Liquid despite having only participated in 70 tournaments. It seems like the original starters in esports never really got their dues.
Despite these facts, we’ve put together a list of our best esports teams in the world.
Team Liquid makes the list because they have history and influence, matched with performances and prize money to boot. Having established roots so early, TL is a stalwart in the esports community and will continue to be for ages to come.
The OG captain, Johan ‘N0tail’ Sundstein has a wonderful story from his days at The International, involving team members leaving, rags-to-riches stories and so much more. They are the only team in the world to win two TI titles, and the first to win back-to-back titles, turning all the players into multi-millionaires in the space of two years.
Fnatic makes the list as a UK organisation from 2004, but has since grown into a global brand. They are well known for their CS:GO players and have branched out into multiple disciplines, and were the first-ever LoL World Champions in 2011.
Astralis performs in CS:GO and have achieved the unachievable in a highly-contested esports game. They have changed the way the game has played and dominated it for quite some time now, enjoying many unbeatable streaks.
Cloud9 is one of the most valuable esports companies in the world, worth over $150 million. They played a lot of different games and grew throughout LoL, CS, Overwatch and Dota 2. Cloud9 is a team that is deeply embedded into esports and has a passion for gaming, and the fans love them for it.