Last Updated on 13/10/2023 by Kriss
In the grand global theatre of sports, a handful may stand out as the usual giants — football, basketball, tennis, just to name a few. These are the sports that usually dominate headlines with multi-million dollar contracts and staggering endorsement deals. But what about badminton player earnings? More specifically, we’ll delve into an intriguing question: How much do pro badminton players actually earn?
The Financial Landscape of Badminton
Unlike the salaries in some other popular sports, determining what badminton players earn can be a slightly more complex task. There are multiple avenues of income – prize money from competitions, sponsorship deals, coaching, and more.
One of the richest (ex-) badminton players is Lee Chong Wei, with a net worth estimated at around $16 million. However, it’s important to note that this is not the norm. Lee Chong Wei won an enormous amount of tournaments during his career. The average earnings of professional badminton players tend to hover around $20,000 to $75,000 annually.
Tournament Earnings: High Stakes for High Fliers
A significant portion of a badminton player’s income comes from tournament prize money. Let’s take, for example, the All England Open – often dubbed the “Wimbledon of Badminton”. In 2023, the total prize fund stood at a whopping $1,250,000, with the winner of the singles event walking away with $87,500.
But remember, not all tournaments offer such sizable rewards. Lesser-known circuits often present much more modest winnings, and only the top players regularly compete (and win) at the most prestigious events.
Sponsorships and Endorsements: The Power Behind the Shuttle
The real game-changer in a badminton player’s earnings often comes in the form of sponsorships and endorsements. Brands find value in associating their products with successful athletes, and the players, in turn, benefit financially from these partnerships. For instance, Kento Momota, a top-ranked Japanese player, had several sponsorship deals with brands like Yonex and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone, considerably boosting his income.
Beyond the Court: Coaching and Other Streams of Revenue
When players are not actively competing, many supplement their income through coaching or launching their own training academies. Some players have even leveraged their fame to venture into the entertainment industry.
Some players also generate income by participating in matches or entire seasons for other clubs that compensate them for their services.
What Pro Players Earn
A significant portion of a badminton player’s income comes from tournament prize money. For players ranked in the top 32 in the world, the average prize money is $25,000 for singles players and $15,500 for doubles players. With additional income from leagues and sponsorships, the total income ranges from $34,000 to $152,000 a year.
For players ranked in the top 10 in the world, the average prize money is even higher, ranging from $66,000 to $149,500 for singles players and from $31,000 to $70,000 for doubles players. With additional income from leagues and sponsorships, the total income can reach up to $6.24 million a year.
In 2022 Victor Axelsen (at that time world number 1) earned a total of 404,125$ from tournaments (source). Note that this only includes price money – no sponsorships or any other income streams. Axelsen won six HSBC BWF World Tour titles that year. Not only is this a remarkable achievement – but it is also a full schedule over the whole year.
For the women – Akane Yamaguchi was the top earner with a total of 268,300$ price money. Closely followed by Tai Tzu Ying with 263,170$.
Putting The Earnings of Badminton Players Into Perspective
Comparing badminton to other popular sports is difficult. The best sport to compare it to would be tennis, since disciplines are the same and both are racket sports.
For the most famous tennis tournament – Wimbledon – the prize money for the winner is a whopping 2,350,000 GBP (source). That’s 2,868,735$. That is more than 20 times what the winner of the All-England Open gets in badminton.
There is more money flowing into tennis, but the difference is still staggering. Especially when you compare the player numbers worldwide: Tennis has 87 million people playing tennis worldwide, while badminton has 220 million.
Badminton player earnings vary wildly, with only a handful of top players making substantial sums from the sport. Nevertheless, players can boost their income through various means, from securing sponsorship deals to offering coaching services.
Remember, these figures are ever-changing. As the popularity of badminton grows worldwide, there’s every chance that the prize money and sponsorship deals will also increase. If you’re an aspiring player, don’t be disheartened by these figures. Instead, let them be your motivation. There are plenty of opportunities in the world of badminton, both on and off the court. So grab your racket, and who knows, you might be the next to make a smash in the world of professional badminton.