In esports, prize money plays a big part in measuring someone’s success. Players who have made the most money are considered to be the best in the world. If a player has won multiple World Championships or participated in multiple TIs, then they are crowned as the greatest in their respective esports game. So how are women faring in esports, financially?
To crown the best women in esports, one has to look at their achievements, and this means taking their overall earnings under the microscope. Women are still scarce in the world of esports but there are some who are leading the charge and paving the way for a younger generation of women who want to make esports their profession.
The prize pools might not be on the same level as that of Dota 2’s The International, but it is impressive what some of the top-earning women have managed to achieve in this industry.
3. Kat “Mystik” Gunn – $122,300
Mystik started her esports career way back in 2007. Does anyone remember if esports was even a word back then? She attended the World Cyber Games 2006 and managed to work her way into the Dead or Alive scene.
She participated in the inaugural season of the Championship Gaming Series where she managed to impress and get a chance to be drafted into a team. She would spend two more years competing before switching over to casting and streaming. Mystik also participated in a reality TV show WCG Ultimate Gamer where her video game prowess took the spotlight and she won $100,000.
Since then, she has stuck to streaming and other small ventures, but to this day she is one of the top-earning women in esports.
2. Li “Liooon” Xiao Meng – $227,010
This Chinese Hearthstone player is the first woman to ever win the Hearthstone Grandmasters Global Finals or any Blizzcon esports tournament. She managed this feat in November 2019 when she went head-to-head against Brian “bloodyface” Eason.
This made her not only the first woman to win the event but also the first representative from Mainland China to take the crown of Global Champion. In her speech after winning the event, she shared how she’d been told: “If you are a girl, you should not wait in line here. It's not for you." when she’d stood in line for the first tournament she’d ever participated in. She went on to say:
I want to say for all the girls out there who have a dream for Esports competition, for glory, if you want to do it and you believe in yourself, you should just forget your gender and go for it.
1. Sasha “Scarlett” Hostyn – $372,727
The Canadian StarCraft II player rose to the scene in 2012 by beating highly ranked pros at an event in Las Vegas but she didn't stop there. She continued her dominance, climbing the ranks through the years and by mid-2014, she’d placed first in 7 different tournaments.
During this time, the best SC2 players all originated from Korea but she was able to beat them all and was named "the Korean kryptonite". The Zerg player also participated in the Red Bull Battlegrounds 2014 as the only non-Korean pro. She spent some time away from StarCraft but returned to the game and in 2018 and even won the ESL Major held in Pyeongchang ahead of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, making her the first woman to win an ESL Major in StarCraft II.