It’s a lucrative time to be a professional gamer. As esports continues to experience explosive growth, the world’s best players are raking in huge sums of money from tournaments and sponsorship deals.

DOTA 2 player KuroKy tops the list, having made £1.8m in 2017. He is joined by the likes of Miracle (£1.7m), MinD_ContRoL (£1.7m) and GH (£1.7).

While male players dominate the list, there are a few female esports stars making their mark in a male-dominated industry. However, research conducted by esports betting website Esports Bets shows that they are earning far less than their male counterparts despite achieving similar things.

Esports gender pay gap

With emerging stars, huge prizes on offer and plenty of fans streaming matches via platforms such as Twitch and YouTube, esports is well on its way to reaching the level of traditional sports. Esports tournaments now have their own stadiums, betting platforms and merchandise. There is even talk of professional gaming featuring at the Olympic Games in the near future.

However, it seems that professional gaming has also picked up many of sport’s negative aspects.

Sport’s gender pay gap is clear as day. Football’s best male star, Cristiano Ronaldo, takes home £365,000-a-week. His female counterpart, Lieke Martens, earns approximately £175,000-a-year.

Likewise, 2017 saw the winner of The Open golf tournament handed £1.4m. The winner of the women’s equivalent was awarded just £390,000.

Esports Bets data shows that the top 11 female esports stars have earned combined prizes of $635,000. In comparison, their closest male equivalents have earned $2.82m.

That isn’t to say that there aren’t opportunities for female esports stars to earn a living through video games. The top earning female, ScarCraft II player Sasha “Scarlett” Hostyn, has been earning an average of $33,000 a year since 2012.

Likewise, Halo: Reach player Katherine “Mystik” Gunn earned a $100,000 windfall by winning the WCG ultimate Gamer tournament back in 2010.

Top 11 most successful female esports champions