Photo by Unsplash

What Are the Most Profitable Sports in the World?

Bigger broadcasting deals, marketing opportunities and sponsorships have dramatically raised the profitability of numerous sports.

In recent times, the sporting world has adopted a more financially-driven approach. As a result, bigger broadcasting deals, marketing opportunities and sponsorships have dramatically raised the profitability of numerous sports. Compared to prior years, modern-day organisations are generally registering record-breaking year-on-year profits as they continue to grow in an era of digitalisation. This poses a question; which are the most profitable sports in the world? 

Domestic Football 

According to World Atlas, football has amassed a worldwide following of approximately 4 billion people. Because of the sheer size of the sport’s audience base, it’s currently the most popular game in the world, with 1.5 more followers than cricket. Unsurprisingly, along with being a supporter-heavy sport, football is also one of the most profitable games of the 21st century.

Photo by Unsplash

Athletic Panda states that the English Premier League alone generates the fifth-highest revenue figures of any sporting entity. The report, which dates June 3rd 2020, indicates that England’s top-flight division makes around £3.9 billion each year in revenue. Upon factoring in other major European leagues, football surpasses the revenue figures of Major League Baseball. As per the earlier report from Athletic Panda, La Liga, Ligue 1, and Serie A generate a combined £4.1 billion. Added to the Premier League’s total, this sees football register a collective £8 billion from just four primary European divisions. 

From a profit standpoint, alongside broadcasting deals and sponsorship opportunities, football undoubtedly benefits from a close relationship with sports betting. Fundamentally, this is because it retains a sense of interaction that allows fans an additional means of engaging with their respective teams. Now, many of the best sports betting sites, such as those listed at Asiabet, offer in-play betting which, for some, can give a sense of immersion. Along with real-time betting markets, bet365 also hosts live streams of the latest matches. Given that the Premier League possesses an audience base of over four billion people, sports betting has aided in digitally connecting supporters to top-level sports, which has had a knock-on effect on the game’s profits. 

National Football League 

At the time of writing, the NFL is the most profitable sports league in the world. Currently, the 101-year-old division boasts revenue figures of £11 billion. Along with leading the way from a financial standpoint, the NFL also tops the list regarding average attendance figures. According to Sporting Free, the American sport predominantly registers in-stadium totals of 67,400 fans. Although this had dropped by 2,124 since 2007, it’s still around 24,000 more than the Bundesliga, which ranks second for attendance figures. 

Following a period of modern-day success, the NFL has cemented its status as the most successful sports league in America’s history. Much like the Premier League, the most-watched sport earns the bulk of its profits through broadcasting. Investopedia states that more than 50 percent of the league’s total revenue stems from television deals. 

In the future, the Commissioner of the National Football League, Roger Goodell, believes that sport can enjoy 6 percent annual growth until 2027. Should this be achieved, the NFL’s profits will rise to over £18 bn over the coming years. To put this into perspective, this will be just shy of double the total amassed in 2018. 

Major League Baseball 

Unlike football, and, to an extent, the NFL, Major League Baseball doesn’t enjoy similar levels of global popularity. Despite that, at present, it ranks second regarding the most profitable sports leagues. Annually, the MLB earns around £7.38 billion. Although it’s not the US’ leading franchise, many people feel that local communities, in the US and in Canada, particularly those in Montreal, need the sport.

Photo by Unsplash

Regarding specific teams in MLB, the New York Yankees were the most profitable outfit in 2019. As per Statista, The Bronx Bombers earned £504 million, followed by the Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox, who recorded revenue totals of £410 million and £383 million, respectively. 

Figures that are Forecast to Grow 

If the NFL’s ambitions are a collective sign of things to come, the above sports will target greater profits throughout the next decade. Should progression occur, then top-level American football, baseball, and football will likely extend their profit advantage over other sports. Not only that, but if MLB seeks to explore global expansion, then there’s scope to surpass the NFL.