The story of Tyler Blevins.
Ninja - a name almost every gamer knows, whether they play Fortnite or not. The 29-year-old streamer is practically a household name at this point, from massive sponsorships with Microsoft and Adidas to commercial appearances with Finalmouse, YouTube, and ESPN. This Fortnite star was even a participant in Fox's 'The Masked Singer' show during its second season. He was voted out after the first round, however, it's still incredible to think that this esports star gained the public's attention in such a massive way.
Born in Detroit in 1991, Michigan, Tyler "Ninja" Blevins and his family moved to Chicago, Illinois shortly after he was born. In the suburbs of Chicago, Ninja discovered his love for video games and competitive sports, deciding to pursue esports professionally after graduation.
Ninja stated that he'd always had a competitive streak, which made him want to dominate in the gaming scene. Ninja's dad seemed to be a major influence in Ninja's life, bringing him and his older brothers new games and consoles to experiment with. Halo was the game Ninja really enjoyed, competing with his brother who he would eventually surpass as he improved at the game. After a while, Ninja's skill was undeniable and his family encouraged him to pursue video games as a career.
In 2009, he started off playing Halo 3 in Orlando, Florida. In 2011, he was streaming and competing in Halo Reach competitions in Anaheim, California, Dallas, Texas, and Columbus, Ohio. During this timeframe, Ninja was making about $100 a day on Twitch.
By 2012, Ninja and his team brought home the Halo 4 MLG Fall Championship. Ninja even boasted the highest score in the final game of Halo 4.
After this, Ninja went on to partner with Luminosity Gaming, Team Liquid, Renegades, and Cloud9. He tackled both H1Z1 and PUBG, winning the PUBG Gamescom Invitational Squads distinction in August of 2017.
After winning this tournament, Ninja moved on to the recently released Fortnite Battle Royale in late 2017. In 2020, Fortnite would create a Ninja skin in the Icon Series, paying homage to the streamer that helped blast their game into the public eye. When he began playing Fortnite, the number of Twitch subscribers he had skyrocketed from 500,000 to a whopping 2,000,000. Later, this number would grow to well over 13 million. Ninja became (and still is) the most subscribed user on Twitch, but here's the catch... Ninja no longer streams on Twitch anymore.
In August of 2019, Ninja announced he would be leaving Amazon-owned Twitch for Microsoft's Mixer platform. The exact details of this contract are not known, but it has been suggested that the deal was anywhere from $20-$30 million in total. Ninja and Shroud are the most notable of the Twitch detractors, leaving the platform after receiving huge contracts from Microsoft.
Microsoft is trying to get as many well-known streamers as it can on their new platform, offering streamers with an average of 10,000 viewers each time they're live on Twitch around $10 million dollars to move to Mixer.
Smaller big-name streamers can expect contracts of at least $1 million. These numbers are not officially verified and are just estimates, however, one thing is for certain: this made Ninja's net worth (and popularity) shoot up, as the Mixer deal put him in the spotlight once more.
Twitch got into a spell of notoriety when it started placing ads on Ninja's dormant Twitch channel shortly after he left for Mixer. These ads would link the page's viewers to other recommended Twitch channels. One of these ads led to a streamer live-streaming pornography, much to the anger of Ninja fans and even Ninja himself. Due to the major public uproar that Twitch's ads caused, the streaming platform stopped linking to other streamers entirely on Ninja's page.
Before leaving the platform, Ninja's final stream focused on the 2019 Fortnite World Cup, and has since amassed over 1.2 million views. Ninja's Twitch channel still exists, despite him exclusively streaming on Mixer, however, he can no longer stream on the platform.
Throughout the years, Ninja's manager and wife Jessica Blevis made it her goal to make Ninja a "household name," and by helping him secure lucrative sponsorships and celebrity-filled streaming events, he is becoming just that.
According to Jessica Blevins, Ninja's contract with Twitch was limiting what Ninja could do outside of the realm of video games, which is why he broke from the platform to pursue Mixer. Jessica Blevins wants to help Ninja grow his brand and make him into a recognizable public figure.
An insanely famous Ninja moment occurred during a 2018 livestream, in which Ninja played in a four-man Fortnite squad with Travis Scott, Drake, and JuJu Smith Schuster. Months later, Ninja and three Tottenham Hotspurs players played in another iconic four-man squad. These players were Harry Kane, Dele Alli, and Kieran Trippier.
Over the years, Ninja has donated to various charities and organizations. The first of which was The American Association for Suicide Prevention, which he donated $110 million to. During the Fortnite Battle Royale Esports Event in 2018, Ninja donated $50,000 of his prize money to charitable causes, including the Alzheimer's Association. In E3 2018, Marshmello and Blevins won Fortnite Pro-Am and donated $1 million of their winnings to charities. Ninja even helped MrBeast with the Team Trees campaign, in which $20,000,000 was raised by both YouTubers and viewers collectively to plant 20,000,000 trees.
Still being updated daily, Ninja's YouTube channel has made him about $6 million since its creation in 2011, which is massive income on its own. Also related to the platform, Ninja appeared in the 2018 YouTube Rewind as the Battle Bus driver. Ninja's presence on YouTube might not be as big of a priority to him as his Mixer channel, however, many still watch his content on the platform, whether it be his stream highlight reels, announcement videos, or supercuts from longer Mixer streams.
Ninja's net worth is expected to be somewhere in the range of around $15 to $20 million. Various sponsorship deals, YouTube and streaming revenue, various contracts, and merchandise sales are factored into this estimate, however, with his Mixer deal being worth above $20 million and his 2019 total earnings being above $17 million, it seems Ninja's net worth might be much more than that.
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From Twitch subscribers alone, Ninja was making well over $500,000 a month. With everything from Ninja's new contract deals to his sponsorships and ad revenue, we do not know for sure how much the streamer is making.
These net worth calculations do not take into account the various shows and interviews Ninja has done, any Twitch donations, and EA's rumoured offer of $1 million dollars for Ninja to stream Apex Legends. Ninja's coverage of this up-and-coming-game helped shoot it into popularity.
Exact figures from sponsorship deals are also hard to put an exact number on, however, Ninja has certainly teamed up with a lot of brands over the years. From NZXT to Red Bull to Uber Eats, Finalmouse, and Adidas. Teaming up with these brands has placed the streamer in the public eye, making it so more than just gamers know who Ninja is. People outside of both the gaming and esports scene now know the popular streamer, and might even dive into esports or Fortnite themselves, due to Ninja's influence. Ninja’s legacy is not only inspirational, but it is also incredible and it will be exciting to see what heights the streamer will rise to in the coming years.
Images via Fortnite Team | Epic Games | Tyler Blevins