The highest paid Call of Duty professional of all time is Seth "Scump" Abner, with total career tournament earnings surpassing $1.25 million. Scump has won more prize money than any other competitor through his decade-plus of dominance during Call of Duty‘s rise as an esport.
As someone who has analyzed gaming and esports earnings for years, I‘ve seen firsthand how lucrative a career in pro gaming can be. Let me walk you through the earnings history of Scump, other top competitors, and the growth of Call of Duty as a high-paying esport.
Seth "Scump" Abner: The Michael Jordan of Competitive COD
Scump isn‘t just the highest earner in COD history – he‘s considered one of the most skilled and successful players ever. Since going pro in 2011 during the Modern Warfare 3 season, Scump has wowed fans with lightning quick reflexes and lethal SMG aim.
He helped cement Call of Duty as one of the major esports with dominant performances through the Black Ops and Advanced Warfare eras. With 32 championship wins, including two X Games golds, Scump has more than earned his nickname as the "King" of COD.
Let‘s look at Scump‘s tournament earnings over his illustrious career:
- 2011-2014 (Early Career): $383k – As a young prodigy, Scump quickly rose to become one of the top earners in early competitive COD. Major wins at MLG Columbus 2011 and Call of Duty Championship 2013 bolstered his earnings.
- 2015-2019 (Prime Years): $712k – His peak run of championships and top placings during the Black Ops 3, Infinite Warfare and WW2 seasons. Major successes at COD Champs 2016 and 2017 plus the 2018 CWL Championship propelled his earnings over $1 million.
- 2020-Present (CDL Era): $172k – Despite retiring from professional play in 2022, Scump has remained one of the top earners in the new Call of Duty League through his content creation and loyal fanbase.
Scump has also earned significant income through partnerships with brands like GFuel and major organizations like OpTic Gaming (now OpTic Texas). His longstanding popularity continues to provide financial success outside of competitions.
Other Notable Top Earners
While Scump tops the list, several other pro players have built 7-figure careers during Call of Duty‘s rise:
Ian "Crimsix" Porter
With $825k in total earnings, Crimsix trails only Scump in career prize money. He‘s considered the "GOAT" due to an unmatched 37 championship wins, including 3 Call of Duty world titles. Crimsix has remained a top earner ever since turning pro back in 2010.
Chris "Simp" Lehr
One of the young superstars emerging in the new CDL era, Simp has already accrued $515k in earnings at just 21 years old. His aggressive AR slaying helped lead Atlanta FaZe to the 2022 CDL Championship, cementing his status as a future top earner.
Dylan "Envoy" Hannon
Envoy gained fame during the Black Ops 4 season as part of the dominant Gen.G roster. His versatile SMG play has translated to over $500k in career prize money heading into his prime.
Austin "SlasheR" Liddicoat
A world champion captain with Atlanta FaZe, SlasheR has won over $600k during his steady career dating back to Advanced Warfare. His veteran presence helped drive Atlanta‘s success in the new CDL era.
The Million Dollar League: CDL Growth Propels Earnings
The launch of the official Call of Duty League in 2020 has been a boon for top competitors, with minimum salaries starting at $50k and millions in additional prize money up for grabs.
As a result, total earnings have grown rapidly since the league began:
- 2020 Season: $4.6 million
- 2021 Season: $5.2 million
- 2022 Season: $7.4 million
This represents a 61% increase in earnings over just the first 3 CDL seasons. With Call of Duty as popular as ever, there‘s no sign of slowing down for its professionals. Activision has built a profitable league that should lead to even higher incomes in the future.
Warzone and Streaming: Bonus Income Streams
In addition to standard competition circuits, Warzone tournaments and live streaming have become extremely lucrative side ventures for COD pros:
- Warzone Tournaments – Top Warzone player Tommey has earned over $400k just from Warzone events. Many CDL pros play in these open bracket competitions that award life-changing prize pools.
- Streaming – Popular personalities like Scump can make $5k or more per month directly from fans through Twitch subscriptions and donations. This provides a stable source of income between tournaments.
- Content Creation – YouTube videos and social media provide another channel to build an audience and monetize through ad revenue and branded sponsorships.
The Ceiling Keeps Rising for Call of Duty‘s Best
The very best Call of Duty pros are living proof that competitive gaming is no longer a niche hobby – it‘s a legitimate career with earnings rivalling traditional sports.
While Scump currently stands on top with over $1.25 million in prizes, there‘s never been a better time to be a professional COD player. With the new league structure and booming popularity, I expect the next generation of stars will soar to new earnings heights in the years to come.