Top 10 Largest Sports Leagues by Revenue 2020, Which Sport Makes the Most Money? (2022)

1. National Football League – NFL

Which sport makes the most money? The National Football League (NFL) ranks number 1 on this list of the top 10 largest sports leagues by revenue, generating USD 16 billion last year. The National Football League (NFL) consists of 32 teams that share football-related income — as per the CBA — between players and owners with 52% split going to owners and 48% to the players. NFL earns its revenue mostly from TV deals, but also merchandising, licensing, rickets sales, and more. Local revenue consists of ticket sales, concessions, and corporate sponsors — this is money earned by the teams themselves. The cost of running an NFL is very high, for example, the Packers spent over USD 420 million on expenses last year. The NFL consists of 32 teams, divided equally between the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC). The NFL is among the four major North American professional sports leagues along with the NBA, MLB, and NHL. Out of the 4 major sports leagues, the NFL has long been the most profitable, heading towards a goal of USD 25 billion very soon.

  • Founded: 1921
  • NFL Headquarters: New York City, USA
  • NFL Revenue: USD 16 billion
  • NFL Total Attendance: 17,788,671
  • NFL Average Attendance: 67,405
  • Most titles: Green Bay Packers (13)
  • Most recent champion(s): Kansas City Chiefs

NFL TV Partners

  • CBS
  • Fox
  • NBC
  • ESPN
  • NFL Network
  • Telemundo Deportes

2. Major League Baseball – MLB

Ranking 2nd on this list of the top 10 largest sports leagues by revenue in the world for 2020 is Major League Baseball (MLB), an American professional baseball organization and the oldest of the major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. Last year the MLB generated a record USD 10.7 billion in revenues— making it one of the most profitable sports leagues in history. MLB consists of 30 teams: 15 teams in the National League (NL) and 15 in the American League (AL). MLB revenue primarily comes from media rights, sponsorships, TV deals, and ticket sales at gates. As new TV deals kick in, league revenues will soar again in the coming years. In total attendance, the MLB is the top sports league in the world in attendance with 69,625,244 people attending games annually.

  • Founded: 1903
  • MLB Headquarters: New York City, USA
  • MLB Revenue: USD 10.7 billion
  • MLB Total Attendance: 69,625,244
  • MLB Average Attendance: 28,830
  • Most titles: New York Yankees (27)
  • Most recent champion(s): Washington Nationals

MLB TV Partners

United States:

(Video) Biggest Sports Leagues in the World

  • ESPN/ESPN2
  • Fox/FS1
  • TBS
  • MLB Network
  • YouTube (live streaming)[7][8]

Canada:

  • Sportsnet
  • RDS
  • TVA Sports
  • TSN/TSN2
  • MLB Network

3. National Basketball Association (NBA)

Ranking 3rd on this list is of the top sports leagues by revenue is the National Basketball League — arguably the fastest growing sports league in modern history. The is an American men’s professional basketball league, composed of 30 teams (29 in the United States and 1 in Canada) and is one of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. Last year the NBA generated USD 8.8 billion mostly secured from lucrative TV deals, sponsorships, merchandising, ticket sales, and more.

NBA is the fastest growing and most lucrative league among the 4 major sports for investment, as NBA franchise values continue to soar, up 14% in the past year to an average of $2.12 billion. The annual increase for the NFL is 11% and 8% in the MLB for comparison. Why is NBA revenue so high and soaring? NBA is among the most innovative and progressive sports leagues and very popular with younger demographics. Additionally, the marketability of its players rivals only Soccer, as names like LeBron James. Michael Jordan, and Kobe Bryant rival the likes of soccer’s most notable players such as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

  • Founded: 1946
  • NBA Headquarters: New York City, USA
  • NBA Revenue: USD 8.8 billion
  • NBA Total Attendance: 21,972,129
  • NBA Average Attendance: 17,864
  • Most titles: Boston Celtics (17 titles)
  • Most recent champion(s): Toronto Raptors

NBA TV Partners

United States:

  • ABC/ESPN
  • NBA TV
  • TNT

Canada:

(Video) 10 Most Expensive Sports Leagues by Revenue

  • NBA TV Canada
  • TSN/TSN2
  • Sportsnet/Sportsnet One

4. English Premier League (EPL)

The English Premier League (EPL) ranks 4th on this list of the largest sports leagues by revenue in the world generating USD 7.3 billion last year — a record high for the league. The English Premier League is the top level of the English football league system, consisting of 20 club teams. The EPL was founded in February 1992 and is operated as a corporation and is owned by the 20 member clubs. The majority of Premier League revenue is generated through broadcasting fees, commercial and sponsorship deals.

  • Founded: 1992
  • EPL Headquarters: London, England
  • EPL Revenue: USD 7.3 billion
  • EPL Total Attendance: 14,503,954
  • EPL Average Attendance: 38,168
  • Most titles: Manchester United (13)
  • Most recent champion(s): Liverpool

EPL TV Partners

  • Sky Sports, BT Sport, Amazon Prime Video (live matches)
  • Sky Sports, BBC Sport (highlights)

5. La Liga

The Campeonato Nacional de Liga de Primera División — commonly referred to as La Liga — ranks 5th on this list of the highest-grossing sports leagues. La Liga is the men’s top professional football division of the Spanish football league system. The league is contested by 20 club teams and last year generated revenues of USD 5.26 billion —making it one of the top sports leagues by revenue in the world. La Liga’s revenue primarily comes from TV and broadcasting rights.

  • Founded: 1929
  • La Liga Headquarters: Madrid, Spain
  • La Liga Revenue: USD 5.26 billion
  • La Liga Total Attendance: 10,200,458
  • La Liga Average Attendance: 26,843
  • Most titles: Real Madrid (34)
  • Most recent champion(s): Real Madrid

6. National Hockey League (NHL)

Ranking 6th on this list of the top 10 largest sports league by revenue is The National Hockey League (NHL), a professional ice hockey league in North America, currently comprising 31 teams: 24 in the United States and 7 in Canada. Last year the NHL brought in revenue of USD 5.09 billion — making it one of the most valuable sports leagues in terms of annual revenue and profits. The NHL is one of the 4 major sports leagues in America and has an annual attendance of 21,501,156 people coming to games annually.

  • Founded: 1917
  • NHL Headquarters: New York City, USA
  • NHL Revenue: USD 5.09 billion
  • NHL Total Attendance: 21,501,156
  • NHL Average Attendance: 17,481
  • Most titles: Montreal Canadiens (25)
  • Most recent champion(s): St. Louis Blues

NHL TV Partners

  • Canada: Sportsnet, TVA Sports
  • United States: NBC/NBCSN, NHL Network

7. Bundesliga

Bundesliga sometimes referred to as the Fußball-Bundesliga, ranks 7th on this list of the top 10 largest sports leagues by revenue, generating USD 4.74 in revenue last year. Bundesliga is a professional association football league in Germany, consisting of 18 teams. 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.

(Video) Which Football Club Is The Most Valuable In The World? (2007 - 2022)

  • Founded: 1963
  • Bundesliga Headquarters: Frankfurt, Germany
  • Bundesliga Revenue: USD 4.74 billion
  • Bundesliga Total Attendance: 13,298,147
  • Bundesliga Average Attendance: 43,458
  • Most titles: Bayern Munich (29 titles)
  • Most recent champion(s): Bayern Munich

8. Serie A

Serie A ranks 8th on this list of the top 10 largest sports leagues by revenue in the world, generating USD 3.62 billion in revenue last year. Serie A is a professional league competition for football clubs located at the top of the Italian football league system and the winner is awarded the Scudetto and the Coppa Campioni d’Italia.

  • Founded: 1898
  • Serie A Revenue: USD 3.62 billion
  • Most titles: Juventus (36 titles)
  • Most recent champion(s): Juventus

9. UEFA Champions League

Ranking 9th on this list of the top 10 largest sports leagues by revenue is the UEFA Champions League, an annual club football competition organized by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) and contested by top-division European clubs, deciding the competition winners through a group and knockout format. Last year UEFA Champions League generated USD 3.31 billion — making it one of the top 10 sports leagues in the world by revenue. UEFA Champions League has a total attendance of 6,163,044 and an average attendance of 49,304.

  • Founded: 1955
  • UEFA Champions League Headquarters: Nyon, Switzerland
  • UEFA Champions League Revenue: USD 3.31 billion
  • UEFA Champions League Total Attendance: 6,163,044
  • UEFA Champions League Average Attendance: 49,304
  • Most titles: Real Madrid (13 titles)
  • Most recent champion(s): Liverpool

10. Ligue 1

Rounding out BizVibe’s list of the top 10 largest sports leagues by revenue in the world in 2020 is Ligue 1, a French professional league for men’s association football clubs. Last year Ligue generated USD 2.99 billion — making it one richest sports leagues in the world. Ligue 1 seasons run from August to May. Clubs play two matches against each of the other teams in the league – once home and once away – totaling to 38 matches throughout the season.

  • Founded: 1930
  • Ligue 1 Revenue: USD 2.99 billion
  • Most titles: Saint-Étienne (10 titles)
  • Most recent champion(s): Paris Saint-Germain

This is BizVibe’s list of the top 10 largest sports leagues by revenue in the world in 2020. The top sports leagues continue to innovate by capturing global audiences like never before seen in history. With the advent of streaming and the importance of broadcasting deals, expect these companies to get even more profitable in the future.

Connect with the people behind these sports leagues on BizVibe

(Video) TOP Professional Sports Leagues by Revenue | Timeline | Top 60

FAQs

What sport makes the most money revenue? ›

With only 30 teams in the league and an unrivaled system in place to make money through television, sponsorships, merchandising, and, of course, ticket sales, the NBA is the king of money-making in the sports world.

Which sport has highest generating revenue as of 2020? ›

The NFL ranks number 1 on this list of the top 10 largest sports leagues by revenue in the world in 2020. The NFL generated USD 16 billion last year leading the way for the most profitable sports leagues.

Which is the richest sports league? ›

In 2021, the league earned $16 Billion and the amount is only expected to rise. Thus the National Football League is the world's richest and biggest sports league.

What sports team brings in the most revenue? ›

1) Dallas Cowboys

The NFL dominates the list of sporting riches and the Dallas Cowboys are at the top of the list for the third successive year. They have a current value of $5.7 billion, with their success down to the money-making vision of owner Jerry Jones.

What sport pays the most in 2022? ›

American Football

Lovers of the National Football League (NFL) will have something to smile about as American Football earns its rightful place on the list of highest paid sports in 2022. Considering the demanding nature of this sport, many will consider it as befitting that the salaries of these players keep growing.

Which sport makes the most money 2021? ›

Basketball (Source: NBA)

As one of the top three popular games globally, Basketball is also the wealthiest sport, with a global market value of $90 billion. Its popularity has crossed over 2 to 2.5 billion fans worldwide.

Which is the biggest sports league in the world? ›

Top 10 Biggest Sports Leagues in the World
  • National Football League. The National Football League (NFL) is a federation of professional American football associations. ...
  • Indian Premier League. ...
  • Major League Baseball. ...
  • National Basketball Association. ...
  • English Premier League. ...
  • National Hockey League. ...
  • La Liga Santander. ...
  • Bundesliga.
4 Aug 2022

Who makes more money NFL or NBA? ›

The NFL makes more money than NBA players. NFL players average about $14 million a year, almost twice what NBA players make.

Who makes more money NFL or Premier league? ›

Since 2001, it has grown markedly from around $4.3bn to $15.26bn in 2019, just before the pandemic struck. In contrast, the EPL generated around $6.1bn in 2021, making it far smaller financially than the NFL.

Which sports is most popular in world? ›

Football/Soccer

The sport has roughly 3.5 billion fans worldwide and 250 million players across 200 countries around the world. The next most popular sports in the world are cricket (2.5 billion fans), basketball (2.2 billion fans), and field hockey (2 billion).

What is the most popular sport in the world 2021? ›

Football/Soccer

Commonly known as football and sometimes soccer, the game is played by approximately 250 million players spread over 200 countries, making it the world's most popular sport. And now in 2021, it also holds its place among the richest sports in the world. Around 3.5 billion follow football.

Who are the 5 highest paid professional athletes in 2021? ›

Forbes' highest-paid athletes
  • Lionel Messi (soccer), $130 million.
  • LeBron James (NBA), $121.2 million.
  • Cristiano Ronaldo (soccer), $115 million.
  • Neymar (soccer), $95 million.
  • Stephen Curry (NBA), $92.8 million.
  • Kevin Durant (NBA), $92.1 million.
  • Roger Federer (tennis), $90.7 million.
  • Canelo Alvarez (boxing), $90 million.
18 May 2022

Who is the most successful sports team in the world? ›

Statistically, Glasgow Rangers are the most successful sports team in the world with a total of 55 league titles.

What is the highest paying job in the world? ›

The highest paying career in the world is a Neurosurgeon. This is a highly trained surgeon that has chosen to specialise in, diagnose and surgically treat disorders of the central and peripheral nervous system.

Who is the richest sport man in the world? ›

Lionel Messi

What sport is the hardest? ›

Boxing. The Sweet Science. That's the sport that demands the most from the athletes who compete in it. It's harder than football, harder than baseball, harder than basketball, harder than hockey or soccer or cycling or skiing or fishing or billiards or any other of the 60 sports we rated.

Is basketball richer than football? ›

To answer the question directly, basketball players earn more on average than football players. An NBA basketball player salary, on average, is $7.7 million in 2021 (that's even lower than the two previous years), while the average NFL salary is $860,000.

Which sports league has the most fans? ›

Top-10 List of the World's Most Popular Sports
rankSportEstimated Fans
1.Soccer / Association Football3.5 Billion
2.Cricket2.5 Billion
3.Field Hockey2 Billion
4.Tennis1 Billion
6 more rows

Which league has the highest prize money? ›

The UEFA Champions League had the highest prize money pool at 1.3 billion U.S. dollars as of 2022.

Which league is the best in the world 2022? ›

Top 50 Football Leagues in 2022 Full List
RankLeague NameCountry
4BundesligaGermany
3Serie AItaly
2La LigaSpain
1Premier LeagueEngland
46 more rows

Who is the richest NFL player? ›

There are now 53 NFL players who have made at least $100 million in their careers. The list is loaded with quarterbacks, with Tom Brady recently taking over the top spot. Below are the 34 highest-paid players in NFL history, heading into the 2022 season and updated with the help of data from Spotrac.com.

Is NFL bigger than NBA? ›

So, based solely on revenues, the NFL would be considered bigger than the NBA. Forbes reports that the Dallas Cowboys are the world's most valuable sports team, valued at $700 million more than the New York Knicks, the most valuable NBA team.

Who makes more money baseball players or football players? ›

The average salary among the top 100 players in MLB is $4.5 million more than the average for the NBA ($11.9 million) and nearly twice as much as the NFL ($8.9 million).

Is NFL richer than soccer? ›

Because so many more countries invest in soccer rather than football, the player salaries are sometimes similar to NFL salaries. But when combined across the globe, soccer players typically earn more money than American football players.

Why is NFL so rich? ›

The NFL is one of the most successful sports leagues in the United States. Although it is a private entity, which means that it isn't obligated to release how much it makes, there is plenty of evidence of the enormous revenue that it generates. Much of the league's money comes from TV and marketing deals.

Is FIFA or NFL worth more? ›

For example, in 2018, total revenue from the World Cup was about $5 billion, about $78.1 million per game, whereas that same year the NFL brought in $14 billion, or roughly $52.2 million per game.

What is the best sport in the world 2020? ›

In 2020 the most popular sport in the world is soccer. With more than 4 billion worldwide this sport is in fact the most loved by players and players around the globe.

Who is No 1 football player in the world? ›

Lionel Messi

Which country is best at sports? ›

Best Countries Rankings
  • #1. Canada.
  • #2. Japan.
  • #3. Germany.
  • #4. Switzerland.
  • #5. Australia.
24 Feb 2016

What is the most popular sport in America 2022? ›

What is the most popular sport in America in 2022? With 112 million Americans tuning in to watch the NFL 2022 Super Bowl, American football is America's most popular sport.

What is the fastest growing sport in the world? ›

A hybrid of badminton, pingpong and tennis, it was the fastest-growing sport in the country from 2019 to 2021, according to an industry group that tracks sport participation. Wendy Siegel had never played a sport in her life.

Which country has the most football fans? ›

Most Number of Fans
LocationPopulation “Interested” or “Very Interested” in Soccer
Brazil60%
Germany60%
Hungary54%
Russia52%
16 more rows
19 Sept 2022

What is the best sport? ›

Top-10 Greatest Sports List — greatest sports as voted online (updated 2020). Top-10 favorite Sports List — another based on online votes (updated 2020).
...
Comparing All Lists.
SportFootball / Soccer
110
210
310
410
22 more columns

Who are the top 5 highest paid athletes in the world? ›

100 Highest-Paid Athletes in the World 2022
2022 RankAthlete2021 Rank
1LeBron James5
2Lionel Messi2
3Cristiano Ronaldo3
4Neymar6
58 more rows

Who is the top 10 richest athletes? ›

The World's 10 Highest-Paid Athletes for the Last Year, per...
  • Cristiano Ronaldo, $115 million.
  • Neymar, $95 million.
  • Stephen Curry, $92.8 million.
  • Kevin Durant, $92.1 million.
  • Roger Federer, $90.7 million.
  • Canelo Álvarez, $90 million.
  • Tom Brady, $83.9 million.
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo, $80.9 million.
26 May 2022

Who is the highest paid player in the world 2021? ›

Lionel Messi

What is the second most popular sport in the world 2022? ›

Top 10 Trending Popular Sports in the World 2022
RankSportWorldwide Estimated Fans
1Soccer (Football)3.5 billion
2Cricket2.5 billion
3Basketball2.2 billion
4Field Hockey2 billion
6 more rows

Who is the greatest team of all time? ›

1972 Dolphins

The Dolphins want recognition as the greatest team of all time simply because they went through the regular season and the playoffs undefeated, ending up with a 17-0 record. We don't deny this is a great accomplishment -- a singular one, in fact. But this is, ultimately, a thin argument.

Who is the most successful football club in the world? ›

Real Madrid – 91

Lifting the Champions League on 13 occasions, Real are record holders in the world's most famous club competition and their 34 La Liga titles is unmatched.

Is NFL bigger than NBA? ›

So, based solely on revenues, the NFL would be considered bigger than the NBA. Forbes reports that the Dallas Cowboys are the world's most valuable sports team, valued at $700 million more than the New York Knicks, the most valuable NBA team.

Is IPL bigger than NFL? ›

A game of NFL costs a broadcaster about $17 million, which is the highest for any sports league in the world at the moment. The IPL is now second with $13.4 million. IPL is followed by the English Premier League ($11 million), and the Major League Baseball figure is almost the same as well.

What sport athletes make the most money? ›

Here are the top-10 highest paying sports.
  1. Basketball.
  2. Combat Sports.
  3. Auto Racing.
  4. Golf.
  5. NFL.
  6. Soccer.
  7. Tennis.
  8. NHL.
21 Jul 2022

Whats the most expensive sport? ›

1. Whitianga Festival of Sports. The Whitianga Festival of Sports is an annual event held in New Zealand that is unquestionably the most costly sport in the world.

Who is richer NFL or NBA? ›

As per revenue, the NFL is the wealthiest professional sports league.

Who is the richest NFL player? ›

There are now 53 NFL players who have made at least $100 million in their careers. The list is loaded with quarterbacks, with Tom Brady recently taking over the top spot. Below are the 34 highest-paid players in NFL history, heading into the 2022 season and updated with the help of data from Spotrac.com.

Is college football bigger than NFL? ›

As for the football used: In overall circumference, college footballs can be up to 1-1/4 inches smaller than NFL footballs. To get more detailed, the circumference of a college football ranges from 20-3/4 inches to 21-1/4 inches lengthwise from end to end, vs. the 21 inches to 21-1/4 inches in the NFL.

Is f1 the richest sport? ›

Football is the richest sport in the world with a Net Worth of around $600 Billion. Football is played by around 250 million people, often known as soccer, throughout 200 nations around the world. It is one of the most well-known sports, with a $600 billion global market value.

Which is bigger NBA or IPL? ›

In a recent report published by Forbes, the growth of IPL franchises has outpaced the NBA and NFL teams. After India's historic 2007 World Cup win, the concept of the Indian Premier League (IPL) came into action.

What is the most watched sports league in the world? ›

English Premier League

The most popular sport in the world deserves the most popular league. Composed of 20 teams, the season runs from August to May. The Premier League has the most lucrative sports television contract, reaching fans worldwide. Also, it draws the best sport odds betting globally from various bookies.

What makes the most money? ›

The highest-paying job in the world, in a traditional sense, holds the number one spot in this article: anesthesiologist. They are also the only job listed above $300,000 a year. The list, however, does not take into account mega-CEOs like Warren Buffett and Jeff Bezos, who make considerably more than that.

Who is the number 1 paid athlete 2022? ›

LeBron James

What sport is the hardest? ›

Boxing. The Sweet Science. That's the sport that demands the most from the athletes who compete in it. It's harder than football, harder than baseball, harder than basketball, harder than hockey or soccer or cycling or skiing or fishing or billiards or any other of the 60 sports we rated.

What is the most expensive sport in USA? ›

Tennis is undeniably one of the most expensive sports on the planet. In fact, a 2010 study by the U.S. Tennis Association showed that the average season as a professional would cost a player $143,000 in expenses.

What's the most expensive car? ›

On 5 May 2022, a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé was auctioned by Sotheby's in Stuttgart, Germany, and sold for $142 million (£115 million; €135 million).

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