You might think playing video games is more of an unhealthy hobby than a lucrative career, but the most popular gamers in the world actually make even more money than some of the best athletes in the world.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, who has won back-to-back NBA Most Valuable Player awards, earned $25.8 million this season from the Milwaukee Bucks. But Tyler Blevins, more popularly known as “Ninja”, made even more money than ‘The Greek Freak‘ just by playing video games all day.
Who is Tyler “Ninja” Blevins?
In the growing world of competitive gaming, Blevins has been the face of the movement. Blevins, who goes by the gamer name “Ninja”, is the most popular name in the entire space.
Ninja’s YouTube account has over 24 million subscribers. He’s had over two million viewers watch his live streams over the course of eight hours. Those who don’t believe esports are challenging major American sports for viewers just aren’t paying attention.
Blevins got his start playing Halo 3 professionally in 2009. He joined streaming service Justin.tv as a streamer in 2011 and eventually moved over to Twitch.tv.
Blevins’ popularity began to soar once he started playing and streaming Fortnite for Twitch. Eventually, he established himself as the most popular streamer on earth, and Microsoft gave him a historic deal to stream exclusively on Mixer.
Ninja earned $30 million this year from Mixer alone
When Ninja made the transition from Twitch.tv to Mixer earlier this year, the exclusive deal was reportedly worth up to $30 million. That record-breaking deal made Blevins one of the richest athletes in the world. Well, if you consider gamers to be athletes, which you should.
Blevins makes millions more from YouTube and his many endorsements every year, so his earnings in 2020 are far higher than just $30 million. But if you isolate his earnings from Mixer alone, he’s still made more money this year than Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Ninja earned more money than NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo in 2020
Antetokounmpo has quickly grown into one of the most dominant players in the NBA at the young age of 25. In 2019, Antetokounmpo won his first league MVP after averaging 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game in the regular season.
He followed that historic season by getting even better in 2020. Antetokounmpo averaged 29.5 points, 13.6 rebounds, and 5.6 assists this season and was awarded his second straight MVP award.
With Antetokounmpo establishing himself as a top-five player in the NBA, he’s due for a massive contract once his current deal ends after next season. Even so, Antetokounmpo earned $25.8 million in 2020 from the Bucks.
Ninja, who plays eight hours of video games per day for his job, made $30 million from his streaming service alone. He made more than the NBA MVP in 2020 in the process, which shows just how far esports have come.
All stats courtesy of Basketball Reference