Happy new year everyone. 2020 was a difficult year for many and I’m personally glad we have that year behind us. There are some positives heading into 2021 but we’re still not out of the woods yet. Stay vigilant and keep positive.
For today’s topic, I’ll be covering how much do esports casters make when covering esports tournaments. If you’ve landed on this page based off curiosity and are potentially looking into getting into esports (part 2 as well) or you’re looking to know how much to get paid this may help or it may not. Please note, rates change all the time! So this can become out of date. If someone in the casting community wants to contribute to this article just send me a note. The goal is to help talent get paid something
Casting gigs for the most part are contract work and very event based. Some weeks you may have a ton of gigs and others you may not have anything for a while. I’m going to break out pay ranges as it varies wildly based off my experiences. My experiences are dealing with talent based off multi day events and one off gigs. It also varies on what game you’re looking to get into.
Please always try to pay your talent if you’re a tournament organizer. Everyone has to eat and pay bills. Even if it’s a small amount try to give them something. If you’re talent, make sure your ask is clear from the start especially if you don’t have representation.
I’ll break talent tiers into 4 tiers. Starting out, breaking into the scene, established and S tier. There are more than likely additional tiers but for the purposes of this article i’ll try to keep it simple. I’ll also discuss payrates of online vs live vs multi day vs one offs. Please note, this is my experience in specific games. Each game varies so always ask around what the norm is and don’t be afraid to ask questions!
Chances are if you’re starting out you’re more than likely looking to cast anything. You’re going to need to have a ton of videos and a ton of outreach. You’re gonna get A LOT of no’s or maybe’s with little to no follow up. The best option here is to just cast as much as you can if you have the permission of the tournament organizer. Other options are to check the publisher / developer and their rules about 3rd party casters.
When you’re breaking in to a scene you’re more than likely going to get a small stipend for the entire event. Ie $200 for 3 days online. The pay is entirely up to you and the organizer to come to an agreement on. Chances are it may be difficult to negotiate further due to limited experience on your end or leverage. Try to ask fellow casters for advice. Your leverage is quite minimal since you’re just starting out. Try to always negotiate some sort of pay and not get paid in exposure unless you REALLY think it’s worth it. Don’t fall into the no pay trap.
Breaking into a scene
Here you’re more than likely to begin to get noticed and have some inbound for events. Your pay is still going to not be the highest but you’re going to be casting a lot more. At this point you shouldn’t be casting anything for free at all and should always try to increase your rate for events. Pay increases will vary wildly and in order to see continued success you’ll need to continue to be improving and getting noticed.
Depending on the work, pay rates will probably be in the range of $200 – $500 for a 3 day event online. Try not to sign up for 20 hour work days and make sure the days are always reasonable. At this stage you’re more than likely casting online and are looking to get into your first live event (pre covid). Again, ask around as each scene is different.
At this tier, established casters have quite a bit of inbound and are more than likely to reject work depending on what’s coming in or what’s asked of them. They may or may not have representation from an agency.
Live event day rates will probably be in the $750-1100 USD range and online events will probably be around $300-500+ USD for 3 days or so (with a reasonable schedule). At this tier, you know what you want when you’re scheduling your event and you want to hire a professional who is consistent each time they perform.
At this tier, you can charge quite a bit and get perks. Good hotels / rooms. Less connecting flights, perhaps business class. At this tier you’re more than likely represented by an agency that does a lot of your negotiations. The agency will more than likely charge full day rates for your work + getting paid when you’re traveling. Expect to pay minimum $1,200+ USD at this tier per day for talent. Negotiations can occur but at this tier there’s quite a bit of demand so it’ll be difficult.
Multi day live esports events vs online pay rates
You’re going to more than likely get fixed pay per day for live events. For example, if the event is 7 days and your day rate is $1,000. Your pay for the event will be $7,000 + travel + accommodations + stipends (stipends may vary from event to event). Don’t fly to the event for free and don’t pay for your own hotel. Live events always pay more as there’s a considerably opportunity cost for the caster / talent.
Online generally pays less as there’s less to do + travel isn’t a thing. Generally online pay can be day rates, by match type (ie bo3) or full event (XYZ $ for the tournament).
Are there esport caster unions?
No, not at the moment. I do fully expect for them to happen eventually.
I hope I shed some light on pay for casters. It varies wildly from scene to scene but the important thing is to make sure you get paid from tournament organizers or event organizers. If the rates are out of date just let me know and I can update them. If you have any questions about esports caster pay just contact me or leave a comment below!