I think you will agree with me when I say a career in sports today is unlike anything it used to be.
Television broadcasts and the consequent competition among broadcasters have driven boatloads of money to the world of sports.
I am not exactly a sports aficionado, but, I do like the other dynamics, especially financial, that sports of today bring to the table. Personally, I like watching football. I think I have mentioned somewhere in my profile about my love for the beautiful game.
Unless you have been living under a rock, you would know that FIFA tournaments are some of the biggest money-spinners and FIFA, the richest sports organization in the world.
This is owing to their ever-expansive global fan base. While the status of football as the insurmountable force remains undisputed, other sports such as poker, horse racing, and motorsports are also upping their ante.
The following list of the top ten richest sporting events is a result of my second-hand research. I have applied the Total Prize Money filter to draw this list. Just for clarity: a) Figures in the brackets indicate the ‘Prize pool’ for the whole tournament and b) all figures are for the most recently held tournaments.
So without further ado, here are the top ten richest sporting events in the world:
10. US Open Golf ($17.50 million)
The US Open Golf tournament pips the British Open this time for the 5th year in a row. The prize money for the British Open moved up to $14 million – a raise of almost 22% over the previous year, yet it wasn’t enough to surpass the US Open
The prize money for the US Open was split among 60 golfers with the winner Matt Fitzpatrick bagging $3.15 million.
9. Dubai World Cup ($30.5 million)
Organized by the Dubai Racing Club, Dubai World Cup is the richest race meeting on the planet. The total prize pool of $30.5 million was spread across 9 races. The grand prize of the night carried a staggering $12 million payday.
There used to be a time when Dubai had tough competition from the Pegasus World Cup. The grand prize of the Florida-based race was $16 million in 2018, however, it dropped to $12 million in 2022.
The Dubai World Cup clearly rules the roost with an overall $30.5 million kitty and the grand prize of $12 million.
8. FedExCup 2022 ($57.9 million)
The PGA tour championship culminates in the FedEx playoffs competition every year since 2007.
Once the tour is over, the top 125 players get into a progressive, four-phase elimination competition – The Northern Trust championship (125 players), the Dell Technologies Championship (100 players), and the BMW Championship (70 players).
The first three playoffs cut down the number of players to 30 who then enter the last playoff, the Tour championship called the FedExCup.
The winner, Rory McIlroy, of the FedExCup walked away with a whopping $18 million purse.
7. US Open 2022 ($60 million)
Contrary to popular perception, the Wimbledon tournament held in England every year is not the most remunerative one. The US open pips its English counterpart in the world’s richest sporting events.
The 2022 tournament, as reported, had a record prize pool of $60 million.
Both winners, Carlos Alcaraz (men’s) and Iga Świątek (women’s) banked a cheque of $2.6 million each.
Source: Bleacher Report
6. World Series of Poker ($81 million)
This one totally blew my brains. I know that professional poker players make loads of money but I never thought a poker tournament will be one of the richest sporting events.
The annual World Series of Poker in Las Vegas offers an astounding sum of money. The 2022 winner Espen Jordstad walked away with a jaw-dropping $10 million in award money.
Source: Bleacher Report
5. The World Series Championship ($107.5 million)
The World Series is the annual championship of MLB (Major League Baseball). Don’t be fooled by the name though. Despite being called the World Series, the tournament is restricted to North America and is played amongst all-American teams.
When it comes to splurging prize money, MLB beats the other US sports leagues like NFL, NBA and MLS. The estimated prize money for the 2022 champions Houstan Astros was $35 million.
4. FIFA World Cup 2022 ($440 million)
FIFA World Cup secures the place of the most spectacular, hi-decibel event in the world of sports. The buzz generated around the event is unparalleled. The first World Cup was played in 1930 and ever since, it has been held after every 4 years, of course, barring a few exceptions in between.
The 2022 FIFA World Cup broke all the previous records. The prize pool increased to $440 million this time – a hike of $40 million from the 2018 edition’s $400 million.
The Qatar World cup 2022 saw the winner Argentina took home $42 million whereas the runner-up, France secured $30 million.
3. UEFA Europa League 2018/19 ($561 million)
Europa League for years has served the second fiddle to the much bigger Champions League competition. Every year in May, with the respective conclusion of seasons in various leagues, fans get to know where their favorite clubs would play.
Honestly, a qualification for Europa League barely creates a buzz unless your team has never qualified for Europe or is qualifying after many years.
Despite the League not enjoying the same stature as the Champions League, the financial part doesn’t look all that bad. The best part is it continues to grow.
This figure of $561 million for 2021-22 edition includes both the fixed payments and the media rights money.
Eintracht Frankfurt , the winners of the 2021/22 Europa League banked $8.6 million for coming out tops in the final. Overall, the club is expected to have taken home $40-50 million including both the fixed money and the media rights payments.
Source: Sports Review
2. Formula One ($900 million)
The total prize pool for 2022 Formula One season was $900 million.
Curiously, Formula one follows a secret revenue distribution formula designed by the former CEO Bernie Ecclestone.
Scuderia Ferrari, apparently, is one of the biggest beneficiaries of this formula.
Despite the fact tha it has’t won a single championship in the last decade, Ferrari tops the earnings chart every year. It receives a special cut from the revenues for its long-term contribution to the sport. The 2022 cut was being pegged at $117 million.
1. UEFA Champions League 2021/22 ($2.14 billion)
The big one. The insurmountable. The richest sporting event. The glamorous parade of the best football clubs on planet Earth. UEFA’s elite tournament brings together 32 of the best football clubs in nine months long competition.
Unlike other competitions, the mathematics behind the prize money is a little complex. That is unless you are an ardent football fan, you know.
Real Madrid who were crowned the European champions this time are expected to have received around $89 million for their superlative performance during the entire tournament.