If you’re a gamer and love the League of Legends, then you know Faker. After all, he is only the “Unkillable Demon King” and the “god” of League of Legends.
The legend of ( League of ) Legends has a real name. Faker’s real name is Lee Sang. Hyeok. He was born on May 7, 1996 in Gangseo-gu in Seoul, South Korea. He is the younger of two boys who were raised by their father Lee Kyung-Joon and grandparents.
Faker and his brother were avid gamers growing up. Faker loved to solve intricate puzzles as well and this helped him later on when he became a professional gamer. As a teenager, he showed excellent analytical skills when he created custom maps for games like MOBA “Chaos” and “World of Warcraft III”. According to reports, Lee discovered “League of Legends” in 2011 by accident but once he started playing the game, he fell in love and got hooked playing it. Within months, he would become proficient in the game.
The god of Legends
Lee began playing League of Legends solo and in 2013, he was discovered by SKT who at that time was looking to hire gamers to play for their team. Lee dropped out of high school to join the team and focus on his career as a professional gamer. He then used the pseudonym “Faker” as his gaming name and joined four other gamers in the SKT team.
Team SKT T1 K was officially unveiled in February 2012 and they competed at the Olympus Champions Spring 2013 and finished third place in the tournament. After the tournament, Lee’s reputation as best “mid-laner” in his team grew. His team participated in the ‘HOT6iX Champions Summer’ that same year and they exceeded expectations. Lee’s performance was the key to SKT’s success and it peaked in their game against the KT Rolster Bullets where his outplaying of Ryu Sang-Wook became one of the most epic moments in ‘League of Legends’ history.
After winning the Korea Regional Finals, SKT were the top contenders for the Season 3 World Championship. Faker’s performance helped his team win their first world championship and by the end of his first season as a professional gamer, he was already considered the best ‘League of Legends’ player in the world.
Along with his ex-teammate Bengi, Faker is the only player to have won three League of Legends world championships, having done so in 2013,2015 and 2016. His other notable wins include the All-Star Paris 2014, Mid-Season Invitational Tournament in 2016 and 2017 plus the IEM World Championship in 2016.
List Tournament Winnings
Faker started playing esports games in 2013 and after 35 tournaments, he became the first League of Legends player to make over $1M in tournament winnings. On October 4, 2013, he won his first six digit prize money by winning League of Legends Season 3 World Championships. Before he turned 18, he already accumulated $255,575.35 in total prize money from 9 tournaments with 21.75% of his total current winnings earned before May 7, 2014. Of the 43 tournaments where he won a cash prize, the biggest to date was his $338K prize money for placing first in the League of Legends 2016 World Championship.
According to esportsearnings.com, Faker has earned a total of $1,175,068.35 playing the League of Legends. Here is a breakdown of his earnings by year:
2018 - $5,355.00
2017 - $271,894.37
2016 - $418,365.33
2015 - $207,158.35
2014 - $42,635.78
2013 - $229,659.02
As for single tournaments played, these are Faker’s biggest single tournament winnings:
10/29/16 League of Legends 2016 World Championship - $338,000.00
10/04/13 League of Legends Season 3 World Championship -$200,000.00
10/31/15 League of Legends 2015 World Championship - $166,666.67
05/21/17 Mid-Season Invitational Championship - $135,200.00
11/04/17 League of Legends 2017 World Championship - $111,306.83
05/15/16 Mid-Season Invitational Championship - $50,000.00
Overall, Faker has won fourteen League of Legends tournaments, placed second in another 7 LoL tournaments and finished third or made the semifinals in 7 other tournaments entered. He is currently ranked the #1 highest earning player from Korea and #53 in esports’ all-time money list.
Other Sources Of Income
South Korean sports website naver.com once claimed that Faker makes an estimated 3 billion South Korean won per year or roughly $2.5M per annum in salary from SK Telecom. That figure has never been verified as SK Telecom has said that they will never divulge Faker’s current contract but the fact that Faker rejected an offer of upward $1M from a Chinese company means that his salary is at least more than that.
On the other hand, former StarCraft superstar and current Korean TV personality Hong “YellOw” Jin-Ho told South Korea’s RadioStar last April that Faker earns around five billion won, including sponsorships and incentives. That would be equivalent to around $4.6M per year for the League of Legends superstar.
In 2016, Faker became the first esports athlete to write a piece for the popular Players Tribune media outlet. Launched in 2014 by former New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, the Players Tribune gives current athletes a venue to tell their own stories from a first person point of view. Kobe Bryant wrote “Dear Basketball” for the Players Tribune and turned it to an Oscar-winning short film.
Faker also earns money with his popularity in Twitch, a live streaming platform. The League of Legends star has a 1.5M following in Twitch and the site gamer.com estimates that a professional streamer who streams his gameplay for 40 hours a week nets around $3,000-$5,000 per month. Not that big money but not bad at all for merely streaming your games.
Faker’s Net Worth
Faker recorded his first Twitch live stream on February 6, 2017 and it peaked at 245,100 viewers, which at that time set the record for most views by a single livestream. There are no official records to document Fakers’ subsequent streams but based on the initial one, he’s got to be making handsome money from his Twitch account too.
According to wealthrecord.com, Faker’s net worth is estimated to be at $4M. Of course, that’s just an estimate because only Faker and his accountant truly knows how much the gamer really earns. There are varying claims about his salary and earnings but one thing is sure, for as long as esports will continue to rise, so will Faker’s bank account.
The League of Legends game was first released by Riot Games in 2009 and in less than a decade, Faker has earned over $1M in tournament winnings. I mean it’s not like the $140M contract that Cristiano Ronaldo signed at Juventus nor is it even near LeBron James’ $153M deal with the Los Angeles Lakers. But who would imagine that someone would become a millionaire playing video games? Make no mistake, It’s not easy to win esports tournaments. But it isn’t as physically demanding as well. When you’re 22 and making millions of dollars, that’s got to be awesome for a millenial.
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