The richest sports in the world are determined by the kind of reach and acceptance each sport has. While sportsmen are usually quite well paid compared to other professionals, there is an established hierarchy in the monetary value of sports as a general industry; each sport has its own place on the list.
As a general rule, salaries earned by individual professionals do not make for a reliable scale by which to measure the value of individual sports. This is because players who are exceedingly talented can earn salaries that are several times what others in the same profession can command.
Instead, a more straightforward measure can be gained by establishing what sports have the widest reach, and the most acceptance throughout the world. This is because all sports have become advertising platforms; and it is this reach that determines how much each sport is able to make in revenue.
Richest Sports In The World
1. Football Or Soccer
Net Value: $600 billion
Football is the biggest sport is the world by brand value, revenue, audience size, and any other metric perhaps except one. Nevertheless, there is no shortage of superlatives which with to describe the sheer dominance this sport has over the world. Football is the most popular sport, as shown by the figures below.
The World Cup had a combined estimated viewership of 3.57 billion viewers, and about $1.5 billion people tuned in to watch the final live on TV. Several millions more streamed the games, and they watched them multiple times. The world cup only happens once every four years; there are more regular football tournaments with which to assess the game’s strength.
Other important football tournaments include the UEFA Champions League; which grossed 380 million viewers from 200 countries at the last count. The English Premier League, Spanish La Liga, and German Bundesliga are all worth more than $3 Billion each, with some of the top clubs worth the same figure.
A professional athlete in this sport can earn an average of $4 Million in his career, but some of the most established stars make that figure and even more every month. Some of the highest paid individuals in this sport include Christiano Ronaldo with a net worth of around 450 million dollars, Lionel Messi with around 400 million, and Neymar with about 190 million.
There is no bigger advertising platform in the world; and the ever flowing advertising revenue makes football the richest sport in the world.
2. American Football
Net Value: $200 billion
American Football is more identical to rugby than football. This is a contact sport that is not for the faint-hearted; perhaps that is why some of the players are so rich; they are very well rewarded for the hard fighting they do on the field. An irony is that American Football is actually played a lot more with the hands than with the feet.
American Football is mainly played in America, but the sport has been exported to many other countries such as Canada, Japan, The United Kingdom, Switzerland, and Germany.
Nevertheless, the biggest ground for this sport is still the US; and the biggest event is The SuperBowl. According to statistica it received viewership amounting to 113 Million people.
The average salary for NFL players was recently estimated at $860,000 per season. However, as always, top players make far more than that. Top Brady is worth $512 Million, Aaron Rodgers is worth around $200 Million, and Aaron Donald is worth around $60 Million.
The top 30 players in the NFL earn an average of $20 million per season.
Net Value: $90 billion
Basketball is an extremely popular sport in the USA; the states have long dominated the game, although it is now increasing popular in countries like Canada, Spain and Australia. Basketball is more of an indoor game; and it is played in a party atmosphere.
Basketball now has a market worth $90 billion in value. The NBA is made up of teams that are worth an average of $2.67 Billion. As for the reach; the NBA final was watched by at least 12 million viewers on the average as per recent estimates. Players earn an average of $3.8 million a year; but some of the outstanding players can make ridiculous amounts of money.
Lebron James earns around 41 million per year, and is estimated to be worth 1 billion dollars. Kevin Durant is worth around 200 million, while Dwight Howard is worth around 140 million.
4. Ice Hockey
Net Value: $60 billion
Ice Hockey is surprisingly popular and lucrative. The term “surprisingly” is used here because it seems unlikely that the sport will have a global appeal; because it is played on ice- a luxury not afforded to every country. Nevertheless, this sport that is fast paced and thrilling is one of the richest sports in the world.
Ice Hockey is played in Canada, America, Russia, Sweden, and Finland. Believe it or not, it is also played in Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa and many other places. Canada is the biggest ground for this sport.
In the National Hockey League (comprising America and Canada) players earn an average of 3 Million a year. However, just like any other sport, outstanding players can earn ridiculous amounts of money. Wayne Gretzky is worth around $250 million, Mario Lemieux is worth $150 Million, while Chris Pronger is worth $75 Million.
Net Value: $40 billion
Baseball is a game quite similar to hockey; but there is very little contact. This is one game that has made many players as well as fans immensely rich. Baseball is mostly played in America, but also in Canada, Mexico, most Caribbean countries, Central America, South America, Japan, Korea and Taiwan.
A professional baseball player (in the MLB) currently earns an average of $8.5 million per year, and as you can find in any other sport, the best players earn very much higher than what the average players.
Max Scherzer of the New York Mets is worth $120 Million, Alex Rodriguez is worth $350 Million, and Derek Jeter is worth $200
Net Value: $7 billion
Golf is often seen as a game for the rich, and so it is no surprise that this game is worth a lot of money. Golf courses require a lot of money to build and maintain; and so they often charge a lot of money in fees and membership dues. However, if one can pay those fees, gain the skills, and turn professional, there is a lot of money to be made as a golfer.
Golf as a sport is now valued at 7 billion; and as always that money comes from advertising. You will find that the types of goods being advertised on Golf courses are mostly luxury goods.
In the US alone; 2.6 million beginners were welcomed into the fold. Major golf tournaments include The Masters, US PGA Championship, US Open, The Open Championship.
Some of the richest golfers include Tiger Woods with $800 million, Phil Mickelson with $400 million, and Jack Nicklaus with $320 million.
7. Auto Racing
Net Value: $6.5 billion
Auto Racing as a term actually refers to many different types of racing competitions; by grouping them together it is hoped that Auto Racing can compete favorably with some of the bigger sports even though it is a much smaller sport when compared to the likes of Football and Basketball. Whatever be the case, Auto Racing is estimated to be worth 6.5 Billion in value.
Some of the big events in this industry include the British Grand Prix, Austrian Grand Prix, and the Italian Grand Prix, all of which are well televised and sponsored. All the major car makers have teams and cars on these competitions, and on the average, drivers can earn $200,000 per race. The richest car racers include Lewis Hamilton with $285 million, Fernando Alonso with $260 million, and Kimi Raikkonen with $250 million.
Net Value: $6.06 billion
Tennis is now worth $6.06 Billion as a Sport. However, with the rising popularity of the sport, it is surely going to exceed that figure in no time. Tennis can be played indoors as well as outdoors; it draws in large crowds.
Tennis is played on grass, clay and hard surfaces; but top players battle it out on all courts and in all major tournaments. Winning these tournaments come with huge prize monies and big trophies, and endorsement deals usually follow.
Some of the important tournaments in this sport include the Australian Open, French Open, and Wimbledon. These tournaments are well televised, and the winners are showered in money and fame.
Some of the top tennis players are Roger Federer ($550 million), Rafael Nadal (200 million dollars), and Serena Williams (250 million dollars).
Net Value: $6 billion
Cricket is similar to baseball. However it seems that this game has more following, especially among former British Colonies. Around 15 countries participate in international competitions in this sport, but some of the powerhouses include England, South Africa, Australia, and Pakistan.
Cricket is worth around 6 Billion in value; and because the sport is rising in popularity, there is even more room for improvement. Another thing to remember is that the game is played in large open aired stadiums, and in countries where it is popular, the games are well attended. That means there is room for advertising on the grounds.
The average Cricket player earns between £12,000 per year up to £625,000 per year, depending on several factors such as the league they are playing in, their status and so on.
Net Value: 438 Million
Boxing is a rather difficult industry to measure; but it is a very lucrative one non-the-less. Officially, boxing is said to be worth around 438 Million, but that cannot be the complete picture.
Boxing has a lot to do with status; in order to land a big fight one has to gain a bit of reputation. This is why the average boxer earns between $1,000 and $4,000 per battle as an amateur, and somewhere around $50,000 per fight as a professional. That explains why one must never be average in boxing.
The goal should be to gain the reputation as quickly as possible, so as to land the big fights. Some of the biggest boys in boxing are Floyd Mayweather Junior, with a net worth of about $550 Million, George Foreman with around $300 Million, and Mike Tyson who once had $300 Million to his name but squandered it all.
The richest sports in the world are not just those that produce the most revenue for the organizing bodies; they are also those that offer the best opportunities to players to make wealth.
The particular order in which the sports appear may change from time to time, but it would be rather difficult to unseat any of them, and then come into reckoning among the top 10.