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. There is no shortage of superlatives which with to describe the sheer dominance this sport has in the world; The World Cup had a combined estimated viewership of 3.57 billion viewers at the last count. There are continental tournaments which are almost just as important, albeit with less viewership.
Other important football tournaments include the UEFA Champions League; which grossed 380 million viewers from 200 countries at the last count.
There is no bigger advertising platform in the world; and therefore no richer sport in the world than Football. 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.
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 rewarded for the hard fighting they do on the field.
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.
The biggest market of American Football however, is America. The SuperBowl is the biggest event in American Football; at last count it garnered 114.4 million followers from 180 countries.
The average salary for NFL players was recently estimated at $860,000 per season. However, as always, top players make far more than that; the top 30 players reportedly earn an average of $20 million per season.
Perhaps the most impressive figure is how much the NFL League generated in revenue in the past year; $11,394 million- a staggering amount.
Net Value: $90 billion
Basketball is an extremely popular sport in the USA, as well as other countries like Canada and Australia. One thing that must be noted about Basketball is that it is played in a party atmosphere; indoors.
On the global scale; the sport was completely dominated by the USA for several years, until recently. While the sport is played all over the world, the biggest market is America.
Basketball now has a market worth $90 billion in value. As for the reach; the NBA final was watch by at least 12 million viewers on the average. Players earn an average of $3.8 million a year; but Lebron James earns around 41 million per year, and is estimated to be worth 1 billion dollars.
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.
In the National Hockey League players earn an average of 3 Million a year. However, just like any other sport, a person can earn several times more; depending on the players’ caliber.
High caliber in Ice Hockey doesn’t necessarily mean dribbles and points; it could mean the ability to whack opponents several yards away from you on impact. This is a contact sport; and the gear the players wear to play shows that they are ready to take knocks.
Net Value: $40 billion
Baseball is quite similar to hockey; but there is very little contact. This is one of the games that has produced prominent sportsmen who earn unreasonably high salaries. Even baseball cards became popular among investors long before any other sport started making cards with images of players.
Even today, a professional baseball player currently earns an average of $8.5 million per year. The highest earning baseball player at the moment is Max Scherzer of the New York Mets; who makes $43 million per year. That figure does not include what he makes from sponsorships, or other add-ons.
Net Value: $7 billion
No surprises here; Golf is often seen as a game for the rich. Courses, and clubs often charge exorbitant fees even to new players with very little knowledge of the game. 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 that value is fast rising because the sport is growing in popularity. In the US alone; 2.6 million beginners were welcomed into the fold. Major tournaments host thousands of people, and golf courses are very busy.
There are several tournaments of different categories all over the world now, and they are all well sponsored.
7. Auto Racing
Net Value: $6.5 billion
Auto Racing brings together different types of racing competitions; by grouping them together it is hoped that Auto Racing can compete favorably with some of the bigger sports. 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.
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. For one thing; interest in the sport is increasing; many young people from all around the world are starting to show interest; no doubt they want to be like Roger Federer and Serena Williams.
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. Serena Williams is worth around 250 million, while Roger Federer is worth around $550 Million.
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.