Press enter to see results or esc to cancel.

Salaries in (fringe) sports that might surprise you

We’ve talked about salaries in commercially most popular sports, like football, basketball, and tennis, that have most worldwide media exposure and are cheered by millions of fans all around the globe. It’s obvious that money is talking big time there, but let us tell you something. Although paychecks in many other less popular sports don’t reach this kind of vertiginous numbers, they still aren’t bad at all! In fact, some athletes are able to make quite a good living out of it.   


Professional cycling is considered as one of the toughest sports and is probably also one of the most underestimated according to athlete’s salaries. Big teams like Etixx – Quick-Step, Astana, Katusha, Team Sky, etc., spend around 75-80 % of their budget on riders, and there are few riders whose yearly earning are truly worthy of envy.

According to Bike Chaser, major team captains secure salaries of around $2,35 million since having high chances to score on top three on the biggest tours, like Tour de France and Giro d’Italia. Alberto Contador and Vincenzo Nibali, for example, both pocket around $4,70 million, while the highest paid pro rider Chris Froome earned approximately $5,37 million per year until 2018. Remember Lance Armstrong? He made $28 million in 2005, although most of that comes from endorsement deals and as a spokesperson. The average earnings of new professionals and support riders are, however, up to $100,000-$200,000 a year.


Cricket rules might not be known to quite a few countries, in fact, there are no pro leagues in many of them (only 12), but it is a big thing in India. And salaries of highest paid players are not that far from the bunch of “three musketeers” mentioned in the preface. The highest paid cricket player of 2018, Virat Kohli, earns around $22 million yearly, from which $1 million comes from the national team contract, $2 million from his associations with the IPL gig, and $19 million from endorsements with companies like Manyavar, Cinthol, 3C Company, Celkon Mobiles, Clear, and many more. Yep.


Volleyball is one of the few sports where top-earning women are actually paid higher than top-earning man. And while many see volleyball as a hobby or a fun activity for kids, pro players actually sustain quite a comfortable lifestyle. There is, of course, a different scale in paychecks that differ from countries and leagues, so again, salaries can be as big as to cover the expenses with some extra, to millions of dollars per year.

One of the most popular and famous volleyball player, Gabrielle Reece, for example, banks $1,8 million yearly, Russian Katerina Gamova, two times FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship winner, earns $1,4 million, and Sheilla Tavares de Castro, two times Olympic gold winner, a total of $1,16 million.

Table Tennis

Salaries in table tennis, commonly known as ping pong, can vary a lot based on the country. It is mostly celebrated in Asia, but it’s also relatively popular in India, Africa, and part of northern Europe.  During regular season matches, players earn between $3,000 and $35,000 per win. And if you are one of top 10 players, the salary is again in millions.

Dimitrij Ovtcharov and Timo Boll, for example, currently ranked second and third on the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), got paid $16,000 per match in the Chinese Super League. Earnings are higher per tournaments. Top players pocket between $100,000 and $320,000 per month, which is $300,000 to $960,000 per season (3 months).



That’s right. Bowling players can make big money, professional stars are in fact multimillionaires. The record holder for all-time standard PBA Tour titles (47), Walter Ray Williams Jr., had the total earning of more than $4,5 million through the 2015 season. It is important to note here though, that professional bowler’s salary depends upon placement and winning, so there is no secure paycheck in the end if they don’t deliver. Also, yearly salaries can’t really reach millions. Top earner of 2017, Jason Belmonte, for example, got $238.912 that year, while his career earnings are of about $1,25 million.  


Professional skateboarders can earn about $1,000 to $10,000 a month, and lots of them sign contracts with companies that offer sales percentage of equipment with their names, not to mention their pictures used in different magazines. While that may not seem a lot in comparing to others, it can become with a business mindset in addition to talent.

Tony Hawk, the godfather of skateboarding, made $12 million in 2008 with his brand, including video games, clothing, equipment, and commercial appearance. And he’s not the only one. Shaun White earned $9 million the same year, and Ryan Sheckler was pocketing $5 million a year by the time he was 18, also thanks to MTV reality show appearance. But believe it or not, money here don’t come only from endorsement and branding, there are some nice purses also based on competition. The Maloof Money Cup, for example, offers the prize of $100,000 at the end to the winner.    

Here you go. Few examples of astonishing paychecks that you probably wouldn’t guess. Try to think of that when deciding to invest in athletes on our platform, and do a bit of research also by yourself. There are still several more sports that pay quite generously, but let’s leave that for some of our next blogs.  

Sources: Investopedia, Sky Sports, Bike Chaser, The Daily Records, Sports Flu, Sporteology, Career Trend, PBA, Healthfully, Forbes.