Fancy a career in sport? Here’s a look at the Costs and Probabilities

Ross Gibson

Professionalism in sport is reaching all sports in all corners of the world, with even sports considered to be niche, in both the male and female game, now attracting sponsorships and contracts that allow their players to be professionals.

With this professionalism, comes attention from wider audiences. Now reaching the same heights of film-stars and musicians, professional athletes have embraced the growing fame following their careers and made it into a lucrative part of their lifestyles.

For parents in all corners of the world, although a career in Sport can bring fame and fortune it can be physically, emotionally and financially draining. Depending on the sport the child is focused on the costs can become astronomical.

While being fantastic at many sports is wonderful (and we all had a friend who was), it does present a few struggles. Being aware of which sport holds the best potential future career is not easy to know, but being able to have the information at hand can help make any future decisions a little bit easier.

It is true that in many sports there remains a financial barrier that can be a hurdle to a large proportion of potential sportsmen and women.

 

The Facts

Football: £620 Rugby: £925 Hockey: £1,175 Golf: £15,970 Cricket: £3,040 Tennis: £12,017

Football: 8 years Rugby: 7 years Hockey:  7 years Golf: 4 years Cricket: 10 years Tennis: 8 years

Football: £2.6 m Rugby: £70,000 Hockey: £20,000 Golf: £498,851 Cricket: £37,000 Tennis: £36,450

Equivalent Earnings = The amount a professional would have to earn throughout the average career length to equal the same amount, including earning back professional expenses, as an individual on the national average wage. *Formula = (national average salary + total development cost) / average career length*

Football: £35,650 per year (£690 per week) / Rugby: £41,535 per year / Hockey: £41,535 per year / Cricket: £30,229 per year / Golf: £109,675 per year / Tennis: £49,896 per year.

Professional Probability = The number of people per 25,000 players of the sport, that will become a professional. Formula = * Current UK Professionals / Total UK Players *

Football:  3 = 0.012% / Rugby: 9 = 0.036% / Hockey: 10 = 0.28% / Golf: 6 = 0.025% / Cricket: 40 = 0.16% / Tennis: 0.8 = 0.0032%

Football

Average Cost £6,200
 
Cost Per Year £620
 
Participants in the UK 8.2 million
 
Probability of becoming a professional 0.012% = 3/25,000 (Premier League Footballer) “the sort of chances of you being hit by a meteorite on your way home.”
 
Potential Development Costs Between £7,440 & £20,000 (dependent on track taken eg. private school with football academy, foreign football academy)
 
Average Career Earnings Premier league – £50,000p/w, Championship £11,000p/w , League One – £2,300, League Two – £1,100.
 
Top UK Earners Harry Kane – £200,000 p/w  Lucy Bronze: £3,000p/w

 

The odds are tough in making it to UK football’s highest league. Out of every 1.5 million that attempt the feat, only 180 make it as Premier League Professionals, 1396 as League Football Professionals and 3,664 as Semi-Professionals in Non-League. One of the surprising facts Money Pug found was how cheap the route to professionalism is in football thanks to the subsidised academy system.

 

Rugby

Average Costs £9,250 (10 years)
 
Cost Per Year £925
 
Participants in the UK 1.99 million
 
Probability of becoming a professional 0.036% = 9/25000 (Premiership Rugby Player)
 
Potential Development Costs Between £9,250 & £20,000 (dependent on track taken eg. private school with rugby academy)
 
Average Career Earnings Premiership – £200,000 (mean) £70,000 (median) Championship £15,000 – 25,000
 
Top UK Earners Owen Farrell £750,000

 

The mean wage in the premiership is a pleasing £200,000. But this figure has been distorted by the few payers earning significantly high sums of money. The median wage of £70,000 is still a respectable figure and a healthy salary.

 

Golf

Average Costs £159,700 (10 years)
 
Cost Per Year £15,970
 
Participants in the UK 1.5 million
 
Probability of becoming a professional 0.025% = 6/25000 (European PGA Tour Golfer)
 
Potential Development Costs £150,000-250,000
 
Average Career Earnings £498,851 European Tour, £54,000 Head Pro, £30,000 Club Pro
 
Top UK Earners Rory McIlroy $37.7 million, Georgia Hall – $837,678

Although there is a lot of money to be made, the cost of surviving on the top global golf tours is around £207,000 per year. This goes some way to understanding why sponsorship in Golf is so lucrative and fought after by each and every player.

Tennis

Average Costs £120,175 (10 years)
 
Cost Per Year £12,017
 
Participants in the UK 825,343
 
Probability of becoming a professional (0.0032%) 0.8/25000 (Touring Tennis Professional)
 
Potential Development Costs £120,000-200,000
 
Average Career Earnings £36,450 Touring Professional
 
Top UK Earners Andy Murray – £1.6m , Johanna Konta – £2.3m

 

Despite its continuing efforts to make tennis a less elitist and more open, the average cost shows there is still a long way to go. Currently, there are only 27 UK professionals on tour challenging to make a living from tennis.

 

Cricket

Average Costs £23,290 (10 years)
 
Cost Per Year £3,040
 
Participants in the UK 278,600
 
Probability of becoming a professional 0.16% = 40/25000 (Professional Cricket Player)
 
Potential Development Costs £23,290 – £30,000
 
Average Career Earnings £37,000 (National Championship)
 
Top UK Earners Joe Root – £900,000

While those on international duty will most likely earn well over £30,000, a fond few even up to £1million, there are many hovering around the divisions barely scraping by in country cricket.

 

Hockey 

Average Costs £11,750 (10 years)
 
Cost Per Year £1,175
 
Participants in the UK 142,000
 
Probability of becoming a professional 0.28% = 10/25000 (Professional Hockey Player)
 
Potential Development Costs £11,750-15,000
 
Average Career Earnings £20,000 (National Professional)
 
Top UK Earners Ashley Jackson – £80,000

It seems that if you want to be a high-earning hockey player, heading to the Netherlands is your best option with some players earning around 100,000 euros in the Dutch league.