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What are the salaries of a CS:GO roster?

Salaries in CS:GO and professional CS:GO teams are a much debated topic, especially because a lot of the information within the sector is kept private and contracts are not public. Let’s look into the amount of money it takes to pay a roster in different tiers of professional CS:GO.

It’s important to say we’ll only be looking at player salaries and how much teams pay to acquire and maintain one. Running an organization involves a lot more than just player salaries such as staff and other costs, which we won’t be discussing. These numbers also won’t be completely accurate and take the salary at face value, without added bonuses or tournament winnings. Even though almost all contracts within the professional CS:GO community are private, we do have some information on a few teams. The salaries of these teams were either made public by the team themselves as a form of transparency or were published by an earlier report.

Cloud9 opens up

One of the first teams who decided to share their salaries publicly was Cloud9, doing so in a decision made by their new general manager Henry “HenryG” Greer, who joined the organization back in early september. HenryG started assembling a team with the idea of competing at the highest level, giving us some insight into what it takes to sign top tier talent to a CS:GO organization.

Cloud9 signed two top-tier players to their organization in the form of Alex “ALEX” McMeekin (who will also serve as captain for the roster) and Özgür “woxic” Eker. The former signed a 3-year deal with Cloud9 for a total value of $1.650.000, while the latter joined up with the organization in a 3-year deal for a total of $1.365.000. 

The team was later rounded out with Ricky “Floppy” Kemery (re-signed in a 3-year $432.000 deal), William “mezii” WMerriman (3-year $426.000 deal) and Patrick “es3tag” Hansen. Information on the es3tag deal wasn’t made public by Cloud9, as they agreed with Astralis to not share financial details. Anders Hørsholt, the CEO of Astralis, did call the deal “one of the biggest transfers on record”, possibly placing it in the ballpark of the ALEX and woxic numbers. This would bring the total salary cost to upwards of 5 million dollar spread out over 3 years or an estimate of 1.7 million dollars a year in salaries.

Danish numbers

In a report made and published by BT.dk in July 2020 the public got some insight into what some of the higher and mid-tier team players make, taking a look at teams such as Astralis, North, Heroic and Copenhagen Flames. According to their information the Astralis players received a fixed monthly salary of 200.000 DKK which translates to a little upwards of 30.000 dollar a month. If we make the calculation for the whole team spread out over a year, Astralis would pay out over 1.8 million dollars in salaries, a number that’s very similar to the one we see with Cloud9 today.

The report also included numbers on the salaries within North, who were #24 on the CS:GO ranking at the time. Their players were making 1.5 million DKK a year on average or about 240.000 dollars. The cost for all five salaries within the team would come down to roughly 1.200.000 dollars or 7.500.000 DKK, which is still pretty close to the numbers paid by teams such as Cloud9 and Astralis.

The numbers for teams such as MAD Lions and Heroic were a little lower according to the report, sitting at 55.000 DKK or around $8.750 a month. This would put their yearly salary at around 105.000 dollars, meaning the salaries for the full roster of players would be about 525.000 dollars. For Copenhagen Flames the monthly salary is reported to be around 15.000 DKK or $2.400 or a yearly salary of 180.000 DKK ($28.800) per player.

Competing at the highest level

It’s clear that it takes quite a lot of money to put together a roster to compete at the highest level, with even smaller organizations putting up salaries of over 500.000 dollars a year in total. All these numbers are of course very rough estimates based on public information and reports but it’s clear that organizations that want to keep their best players around will have to put down some big numbers.

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