Worldwide, sports are big business. Each league has its own way of earning a profit, which comes down to fans, corporate deals, and other sponsorships. Individual players can earn top dollar through independent sponsorships, but there’s nothing quite like a championship title or trophy.
Though often divided up amongst teams on the field and behind the scenes, championship titles and trophies earn an athlete more than just glory. They also come with an unbelievable check.
UEFA Champions League (Football)
As the most popular sport in the world, it should come as no surprise that football (soccer in some places) involves some of the top championship prize pools. The UEFA Champions League is an international competition that takes place between top-placed national clubs throughout Europe.
The winning team of the Champions League in 2019 took home $86.5 million USD. Though this figure is split between the team and then the staff, the prize money is enough to keep filling pockets at an individual level.
Just behind the UEFA Champions League are other football leagues, like the FIFA World Cup and UEFA Europa League, which have prize pools of $576 million and $237 million respectively.
Cricket World Cup
Much like the FIFA World Cup for football, the Cricket World Cup is a popular global tournament that takes place every four years. However, unlike football, the Cricket World Cup tends to be competed for between commonwealth nations, which limits the global impact of the sport.
Still, the prize winnings (and glory) offered to the winner are nothing to scoff at, along with viewership numbers in the millions. The prize purse, divided between the winners and runners-up, totals $10 million USD.
World Series of Baseball (MLB)
The World Series of the MLB (Major League Baseball) tops out US major league sports with a payout of $62 million USD. Compared to European football and F1, this may not seem like much. However, there’s still plenty of money surrounding US leagues like the MLB or NFL.
Not only are there championship prizes, but spectators themselves can also get involved by wagering on major league sports with trusted sites that offer expert analysis. Then there’s retail, season tickets, and TV broadcasting deals that also bolster the worth of leagues like the MLB.
Still, compared to other prize pools mentioned, the MLB has one of the longest lists of accounts payable. Much like F1, a bulk of this money goes straight to franchise bank accounts rather than an average player.
Formula 1 Racing
Much like the cricket and football competitions mentioned above, Formula 1 racing includes a long list of recipients for the prize money. First and foremost, winners must help pay out their sponsors (like Ferrari and Red Bull) in order for them to continue producing winning racecars.
That being said, champions like Lewis Hamilton take home a pretty penny—especially considering they receive prizes that reach nearly $800 million. However, Formula 1 tournaments are staggered throughout the year, which means there’s no one massive payout for a champion.
US Open & Wimbledon (Tennis)
Of the sports listed here, tennis qualifies as the most insular sport. Though F1 drivers regularly command their vehicles alone, they have an entire team on standby to offer assistance through an intercom and to change their wheels in a matter of seconds.
Tennis, on the other hand, is singularly lost or won on the efforts of a single athlete (or two in the case of doubles matches). While tennis players, like any athlete on this list, have a team of trainers, nutritionists, and other professionals on standby to keep them in top shape, they will likely never know the adrenaline of gameday.
The US Open and Wimbledon occur annually in the United States and England respectively. There, male and female singles and doubles battle it out for some of the largest prize pools in the world.
Though prize money is split across a variety of categories of play and a number of first and lower-placing athletes, tennis stars can earn big if they win. The US Open purse stood at $47 million in 2019, while Wimbledon came close with a pool of $45 million USD.