(By Monte Burke)
“The Champions League pays out more than twice that of the most prestigious tournament in soccer—and the world—the FIFA World Cup. Spain, which won the most recent World Cup in 2010, received $31 million for the victory, good enough for number two on our list.“
Have any doubts that soccer is the world’s sport? Then look no further than the money.
In the third annual Forbes list of the ten richest sporting events in the world, soccer again reigns supreme. Four of the top five spots on the list are occupied by soccer tournaments. The richest sporting event in the world? The UEFA Champions League. This year’s title winner, Bayern Munich, lifted the 20-pound trophy and a cool $65 million to go along with it.
The Champions League pays out more than twice that of the most prestigious tournament in soccer—and the world—the FIFA World Cup. Spain, which won the most recent World Cup in 2010, received $31 million for the victory, good enough for number two on our list.
To construct this list, we focused on the prize money paid out to the winner of either a single event or a tournament (and one that’s either annual, biannual or quadrennial). We did not include an event’s total prize money, or any season-long competitions that do not end in a playoff tournament, like theBarclays Premier League. We also did not include boxing matches, which are generally one-off events (and not annual, biannual or quadrennial “tournaments”) with fluctuating purses.
The highest-ranking American sporting event? It’s not the Super Bowl. It’s the World Series. In last year’s event, the San Francisco Giants swept the Detroit Tigers, earning $377,000 per player for a total of $19 million, good enough for number four on the list. The Super Bowl-winning Baltimore Ravens made $11 million (number 6 on the list), for a total of $11 million.
Find below, the list of the World’s Highest-Paying Sporting Events:
10. FIFA Club World Cup
Brazilian side Corinthians defeated Chelsea in Japan last year in the international tournament that features the top club teams in the world. The 2013 tournament will be played in Morocco.
9. Dubai World Cup
The richest horse-racing event in the world was created by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the prime minister of UAE. Animal Kingdom (above, center), the 2011 Kentucky Derby winner, triumphed this year, winning the $6 million first prize in a race that took just a little more than two minutes to complete.
8. World Series of Poker
Is poker even a sport? Sure, there is zero physical activity (unless sweat counts). But there are also heavy helpings of psychology and game theory involved. And it’s considered a sport by ESPN and other outlets. So we’ll call it one. Greg Merson (above), a 25-year-old college dropout, won this year’s WSOP main event.
7. FedEx Cup
The PGA Tour’s season-ending four tournament playoff series is funded by the shipping giant. Tiger Woods has won it. So has Vijay Singh. Brandt Snedeker (above) pulled off a neat trick last year, winning the playoff series and the final event (The Tour Championship), which earned him $11.4 million combined.
6. Super Bowl
The $10 billion NFL doesn’t pay its champ that much, all things considered. Baltimore Ravens players each made $172,000 for beating the San Francisco 49ers this year. That total $88,000 for the Super Bowl, plus aggregated playoff earnings. But in the NFL, with its superb revenue-sharing plan, all teams come out winners in the end.
5. UEFA Europa League
The Europa League plays second fiddle to the Champions League, but the money is still pretty good. Chelsea topped Benfica on a last-minute-of-stoppage-time header by Branislav Ivanovic (above). The team celebrated by getting a new coach, welcoming back Jose Mourinho nearly six years after he left the team to coach Internazionale and Real Madrid.
4. World Series
The San Francisco Giants swept the Detroit Tigers, earning $377,000 per player, more than twice what individual players on the Super Bowl-winning Baltimore Ravens made.
3. UEFA EURO
Spain won its second consecutive Euro title, thrashing Italy 4-0 in the finals. France will host the 2016 iteration of the tournament, which many consider to be the second-most prestigious in the world after the World Cup.
2. FIFA World Cup
The most prestigious tournament in soccer—and the world—doesn’t rank first when it comes to the purse. But the money for the winner more than makes up for it. This title is also held by Spain, which beat the Netherlands 1-0 in extra time. The 2014 World Cup will be played in Brazil.
1. UEFA Champions League
Not surprisingly, the most celebrated club soccer tournament in the world pays like it. Bayern Munich beat Borussia Dortmund in the final after losing in the title game last year.
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