It’s in the true nature of sportsmen and women to win trophies and tournaments – that’s the fuel to their fire.
But prize money? It goes without saying that a handsome paycheckalso puts a smile on the face, and the modern era plays host to some of the biggest prize pools in history.
So which sports are the best earners? Let’stake alook at the highest prize funds available today.
With so many leagues and cups played around the world, it’s no surprise that football (soccer) boasts one of the highest prize pools on the planet.
Much of that can be won in the sport’s most prestigious competitions. Two of the UEFA-sanctioned tournaments, the Champions League and Europa League, account for a huge chunk of the overall prize pot – a cool $1.5 billion can be won here.
The main international events offer the various national bodies in soccer the chance to win some much-needed cash too, with the World Cup ($576 million) and the European Championships ($245 million) among the main contributors. Interest in these flagship events in the sport are truly global, with huge interest in searches like “월드컵베팅” (world cup betting in Korean, for example) peaking during the tournaments.
The total grows even higher when you factor in commercial deals and bonuses based on a player’sperformance on the pitch.
While sports like soccer have several different competitions that feed into the total prize pool, Formula 1 does not have many revenue streams to call upon.
But what a lucrative sport this is. Thanks to the commercial interest in F1 and the number of sponsors that are on board, prize money per race can equal as much as $50 million, and over the course of a whole season, the drivers and their constructors are battling it out for up to $800 million.
Individual drivers are allowed to pen sponsorship deals of their own, and that helps to explain why Mercedes legend Lewis Hamilton alone is worth a reported $217million!
Despite their immense popularity, it’s amazing that neither the NFL nor the NBA pay huge sums of prize money – despite the mammoth salaries that their players earn.
So, sliding its way into the top spot as the best sport in North America for prize money is baseball, with the MLB – and its World Series – the most lucrative of the bunch.
There’s more than $66 million up for grabs across the World Series, with around $32 million of that going to the team that lifts the Commissioner’s Trophy.
When you look up the 10highest-paying individual sporting events on the planet, two of them take place in tennis.
The Australian Open leads the way with a prize pool of $56 million, with the US Open also paying $47 million – this is money well and truly earned given the blistering temperatures each year in Melbourne and New York.
Next on the list is Wimbledon, the summer extravaganza at the spiritual home of the sport, which pays $45 million, while the French Open is hardly a drop in the ocean at approximately $37 million.
And as if the prize money on offer isn’t enough, many of the sport’s leading players are able make astronomical sums from sponsorship deals as well – Roger Federer once signed a mind-boggling $300 million deal with Uniqlo.
The average PGA tourevent has a prize pool of between $5 million and $10 million, which increases markedly for the majors – the Masters sees around $11.5 million shared between the field.
All PGA tourprofessionals are also involved in the FedEx Cup, the season-long ranking-points race thatsees the most consistent player rewarded with a handsome paycheck. The total fund available for the FedEx Cup is more than $35 million.
The PGA tourhas also introduced itsPlayer Impact Program, a $50 million prize pool that is paid out according tothe traction that each player gains on their social media channels.
While not a sport per se, professional poker offers playersa chance to battle it out for some huge prizes.
In 2019, the World Series of Poker (WSOP) was the seventh highest-paid sports competition, with a staggering $80 million up for grabs for those able to outlast their opponents.
The WSOP is only one facetof a burgeoning poker scene, and there are other high-roller tournaments often paying out prize funds more than $20 million.