There are many reasons why people love sports — they are fun, exciting, healthy, unpredictable, and they make us feel alive. But for sports executives, the most profitable sports leagues are primarily profitable businesses. Check 10 Most Profitable Sports Leagues In The World.
Today, sports have become one of the most lucrative parts of the entertainment industry, earning billions of dollars from various sources. Sports leagues and sports teams profit from sponsorships, ticket revenues, transfers, stadium rentals, broadcasting deals, merchandise, and much more.
Professional sports generate massive amounts of revenue all over the world, but the popular leagues are not all created equal. If you have caught yourself wondering which of the leagues you watch generate the most cash
Check out the top ten most profitable sports leagues in the world.
10 Most Profitable Sports Leagues In The World
10. UEFA Champions League
UEFA stands for Union of European Football Associations, and their Champions League is one of the many competitions that bring European soccer teams head-to-head around the country. This yearly competition sees 32 soccer teams competing, and it generates an estimated $2 billion in revenue every year.
UEFA Champions League has a total attendance of 6,163,044 and an average attendance of 49,304. They are contested by top-division European clubs, deciding the competition winners through a group and knockout format.
9. Serie A
Serie A is an Italian football league that is hugely popular throughout Europe. Some of its popularity is due to the large number of world-renowned players who play for teams in the country. This league generates an estimated $2.3 billion in revenue every year.
The largest percent of Serie A’s income comes from broadcasting rights. Commercial and sponsorship incomes are second, which makes sense considering the success of Serie A teams in major competitions.
The Bundesliga is Germany’s national soccer league, and it is one of the biggest on the continent. Back in 2019, the German league reported $4.33 billion in revenue.
Founded in 1963, Bundesliga attendances peaked at over 13,298,147 last year with an annual attendance of 43,458 —making it one of the most popular sports leagues in the world.
7. La Liga
The La Liga Santander is their national sports league, and it reported $4.5 billion in revenue back in 2018. The popularity of the league is helped by the fact that the country is the home to two of the biggest soccer teams in the world: Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Two big factors that influence La Liga’s profits include commercial revenues and revenues from transfers. However, there are also ticket sales and broadcasting revenues, which are key for every league.
6. National Hockey League
The reason is that ice hockey is one of the most popular sports in North America and the northern, richest countries in Europe. Therefore, there are a lot of fans out there who are willing and capable of pouring tons of money into the biggest ice hockey league in the world.
Though hockey is not the first sport that comes to mind when people talk about the United States, the sport is still massively popular in the country. Back in 2019, the NHL reported it had made over $5 billion in revenue, and it holds the honor of being the biggest hockey league in the world.
5. English Premier League
The global popularity of the Premier League leads to the event generating massive amounts of money in advertisement revenue. The league frequently reports earnings of over $4 billion, with the latest reports estimating earnings of $5.3 billion for the league’s 2017 season.
The Premier League is one of the most valuable leagues because it is home to some of the most expensive clubs in the world, such as Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool, and so on.
The Premier League makes around $5.3 billion a year in revenues, largely coming from TV broadcasting rights, as is the case with almost all other most valuable sports leagues on this list.
That’s still only a third of what the top #1 league on this list generates. But it’s still more than enough money to make sure players in this league won’t need to worry about their credit scores or their mortgages.
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4. Indian Premier League
Cricket is one of the least popular sports on our list of the most profitable sports leagues. But the Indian Premier League is the fastest-growing sports league in the world. That makes a lot of sense considering that India is home to 1.339 billion people and cricket is their favorite sport.
The IPL earns an estimated $7 billion every year, even though the league is composed of just 8 teams that only play for two months a year. And what sport do they play? Cricket. That may sound odd at first, but when you consider that India has a population of over 1 billion people and cricket is the most popular sport in the country, it all starts to make sense.
Even though the Indian Premier League consists of just 8 teams that play during a 47-day period, the league has reached a value of $6.3 billion. However, none of these is on the list of the richest sports teams in the world.
A big part of IPL’s annual revenue comes from the broadcasting deal with Star India, worth $2.55 billion.
3. National Basketball Association
The NBA earns an estimated $8 billion in revenue every year. It is also home to some of the most well-paid athletes in the world, with multimillion-dollar contracts being common among top players.
The NBA, just like the other leagues on this list, has valuable deals signed with national TV broadcasters. They’ll be in place until 2024/25 and bring in more than $2.6 billion every year.
The most valuable of them all is the New York Knicks, who are worth $3.6 billion. Close behind them are Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State Warriors, and Chicago Bulls.
When it comes to attendance and ticket revenues, there’s nothing NBA can complain about. Ticket sales are higher than ever and ticket prices are on a consistent rise as well.
2. Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball is another sports league that is not popular globally. Its fan base is mostly centered in the United States. However, that does not stop the MLB from taking the second position on our list of the most profitable sports leagues in the world.
The MLB generates around $10 billion in yearly revenue. Of the world’s 50 most valuable sports teams, 6 belong to this league. A large portion of the MLB’s profits come from lucrative deals with regional sports networks. Each year, the most popular baseball teams rake in millions of dollars from these contracts.
Attendance is another major source of funding for Major League Baseball. That explains why the price of an average MLB ticket has risen consistently every year since 2006.
1. National Football League
At $16 billion in revenue, the NFL is just a couple of billion dollars short of being worth more than all the soccer entries in this list combined. A fact that is made even more impressive when you consider that the NFL isn’t all that popular outside of the US and Canada. But despite that limited appeal, the league has managed to create the richest teams and players in the world.
The majority of the NFL’s revenue is generated by its TV contracts. The league sells broadcasting rights for billions of dollars to the biggest media companies in the world, such as FOX, CBS, NBC, ESPN, and so on.
The biggest American football league also earns billions from different brand endorsements and sponsorships from financial enterprises, sports brands, health companies, and so on. This significantly increases its sports franchises’ values.