Sources: The numbers behind PUBG’s esports revenue sharing in 2019

14 January 2020


During the PUBG Global Invitational in July 2018, at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin, PUBG Corp. detailed a five-year esports plan for PUBG in front of press.

The road map for the next few years of PUBG esports begun with PGI, with huge changes to the entire ecosystem to follow. What came in 2019 were six regional leagues and three additional competitive regions, though – at least for the western teams – their leagues were plagued with issues. From delays, to poor viewership, to organisations dropping like flies, it left a lot to be desired for all involved.

While we’ve seen in some areas that the league system was a failure, one aspect of the plan that stood to truly support organisations competing in PUBG was revenue sharing. To see just how effective this initiative was in PUBG Corp.’s inaugural esports season, Esports Insider spoke to team owners and other important figures behind the competing teams in Europe and North America.

FACEIT Global Summit

FACEIT Global Summit Items
Image credit: PUBG Corp.

For the first international event of 2019, the PUBG Classic, FACEIT was tapped as host and organiser. To coincide with the FACEIT Global Summit, a collection of branded in-game items were available for purchase. 25 percent of the revenue generated by the sale of these items was to go to the teams in attendance.

While Esports Insider can’t disclose the specific figures it has seen to protect sources, as per their requests, we can confirm that the revenue shares received were in the low thousands of dollars for the FACEIT Global Summit: PUBG Classic.

What followed throughout the season was a massive financial decline for revenue sharing for almost every western side. It’s worth noting that this was the first international event to take place in the season.

National PUBG League

NPL Phase 2 Jacket
Photo credit: PUBG Corp.

National PUBG League was a competition for North American sides, all of which had no revenue share for the first of three phases.

Moving into Phase 2 of the NPL, a total of $21,498.01 was raised through a branded in-game jacket that cost $9.99. The organiser split 25 percent of the figure, $5,374.50, between the 16 teams in the league. This meant each team received $335.91 in revenue sharing for the entire second phase.

Phase 3 saw PUBG Corp. introduce a NPL-branded baseball bat into the game with the same 25 percent split for the teams. $2775.84 was to be distributed across the 16 sides, resulting in $173.49 each.

Both figures that Esports Insider had received were later corroborated by Matt Dillon, CEO of Ghost Gaming on Twitter.

PUBG Europe League

PEL Phase 2 Jacket
Image credit: PUBG Corp.

Around the time of the announcement that National PUBG League would have its own in-game jacket for Phase 2, the same was said for PUBG Europe League. Multiple sources close to the league have informed Esports Insider that neither payments or financial breakdowns have been delivered to the organisations at the time of writing.

In the third and final phase of the 2019 season, PUBG Europe League has its own branded bat that, again, would provide revenue sharing for the qualified teams. Unsurprisingly when you consider the delay from Phase 2, financial details for Phase 3 also haven’t been received at the time of writing.

PUBG Global Championship

PUBG Global Championship Items
Image credit: PUBG Corp.

The PUBG Global Championship was hailed as the biggest and best tournament of the PUBG calendar – the flagship event, some would say – and it looked like an improvement on the revenue sharing front.

At the beginning of 2019, organisations were promised that in-game skins with their own branding would be implemented in time for this particular event. As later reported by Esports Insider, this initiative was cancelled in an email to team owners and never announced explicitly to the public. PGC-branded items were utilised instead.

25 percent of the revenue from the items was to go to the prize pool and another 25 percent was to be distributed among teams, based on votes in the PGC Pick’Em Challenge event. The total prize pool is said to have reached $4 million – double the initial amount put forward by PUBG Corp. – which, in theory, means that a total of $8 million was raised by in-game sales and that $2 million would be distributed among the 32 teams in attendance.

The problem with the approach used is that not all teams would receive the same sum of money from the revenue generated, meaning it was obvious from the get-go that Asian teams would receive the lion’s share due to the sheer popularity of PUBG in the continent. Asia had four of the six regional leagues, with the likes of Latin America and Oceania not only receiving less support throughout the year, but less support from the PGC revenue share initiative due to an inherent lack of popularity.

Operating under the assumption that PUBG Corp. accurately detailed the revenue that was generated and the amount of fan votes that were sumitted, the tweet below details how much money each team will receive from revenue sharing alone.

What’s next?

Revenue sharing doesn’t seem to be receiving an upgrade of any sorts in 2020. In fact, it’d be incredibly difficult to do that considering there are no longer leagues – only international tournaments and qualifying events.

PUBG Corp.’s 2020 esports plans detail the PUBG Global Series, a series of major events that are open to effectively any team. The plan is to have similar revenue sharing initiatives to what was seen at the PUBG Global Championship; an expensive, not-particularly-attractive set of items with event-specific branding.

While it’s unknown how PUBG esports will fare throughout the year, it’s clear that major changes were needed as organisations continue to drop out of the title.

Subscribe to ESI on YouTube