Sports can be a highly rewarding career, as top sportspersons easily make millions and get fame and recognition across the globe. Over the years, the prize money associated with sporting events has been consistently rising. To better understand the stakes involved, let’s take a quick look at some of the richest sporting events in the world.
FedEx Cup – An annual golfing event, FedEx Cup is held as a championship trophy for the PGA Tour. As the name suggests, the event is sponsored by FedEx. It was announced in 2005 and the first event was held in 2007. The most recent event was in 2020, which was won by Dustin Johnson, an American professional golfer. Total prize money pool of FedEx Cup is USD 35 million.
Wimbledon – The most prestigious tennis tournament, Wimbledon is organized annually at All England Club in Wimbledon, London. With beginnings in 1877, it is the oldest tennis event in the world. It is the only Grand Slam tennis event to be played on grass. Total prize money pool of Wimbledon is around USD 45 million.
US Open – A hard court tennis tournament, the origin of US Open can be traced back to 1881 when it was first organized as the U.S. National Championship. In 1987, it was recognized as the fourth Grand Slam tournament. The US Open is organized and is owned by the United States Tennis Association (USTA), which is a non-profit organization. As of 2020, total prize money pool is USD 53.4 million.
World Series of Poker – This event, held in Las Vegas on an annual basis, comprises a series of poker tournaments. It was first held in 2004 and is sponsored by Caesars Entertainment. Over the years, the World Series of Poker has undergone several changes. As of 2020, it comprises a total of 101 events. More than half of the events involve different variations of Texas hold ’em. Total prize money pool of World Series of Poker is estimated to be USD 62 million.
World Series (Major League Baseball (MLB)) – Started in 1903, World Series is held annually in United States and Canada. The participating teams include the American League (AL) and National League (NL) champion teams. The winner is chosen via a best-of-seven playoff. The team that wins the tournament is awarded with the Commissioner’s Trophy. As per estimates, total prize money pool of World Series MLB is USD 66.5 million.
UEFA Europa League – This is a second-tier football competition in Europe that is positioned below the UEFA Champions League. It is held annually to decide the champion among European football clubs. The first tournament was held in 1971 and since then it has undergone several changes. In its current format, UEFA Europa League championship comprises both group matches as well as knockout phase. Total prize money pool of UEFA Europa League is estimated to be USD 237 million.
UEFA European Championship – This football tournament is held to decide the continental champion among European national teams. It is held every four years, with the first one organized in 1960. While the host nation gets automatic entry in this tournament, other national teams have to go through a qualifying process. After FIFA World Cup, the UEFA European Championship is the second most viewed football event in the world. The last one held in 2016 was won by Portugal. The 2020 tournament has been shifted to 2021 due to Covid-19 pandemic. Total prize money pool of UEFA European Championship is estimated to be USD 245 million.
FIFA World Cup – Organized every four years, FIFA World Cup is the most viewed football tournament in the world. Its global viewership is even more than the Olympic Games. Also known simply as World Cup, this tournament is organized by Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), which is the primary governing body of this event. It is contested by national teams across the globe that are selected via a qualification round. FIFA World Cup was first organized in 1930 and the last one was in 2018, which was won by France. Total prize money pool of FIFA World Cup is estimated to be USD 576 million.
Formula 1 – Owned by Liberty Media and organized by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), Formula 1 or F1 is the top class of single seater auto racing at the global level. The term ‘formula’ refers to a set of rules that all participants need to follow. A Formula 1 season comprises multiple racing events known as the Grands Prix. The results are declared on a point based system and separate winners are announced for drivers and car constructors. It is estimated that Formula 1 has total prize money of USD 800 million.
UEFA Champions League – This is an annual football tournament where top-division European clubs compete against each other. It is considered among the top football championships in the world. The tournament is organized by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). When it was first organized in 1955, the matches were played in a knockout format. In its present form, the tournament has both group level matches as well as knockout stage. Total prize money pool of UEFA Champions League is in access of USD 1.3 billion.