Top 10 Richest Sports Leagues In The World Currently

Abira Dutta Abira Dutta Apoorva Bajj Apoorva Bajj
May 18, 2023 10 min read
Top 10 Richest Sports Leagues In The World Currently

Whether cricket or football, sports have continued to entertain every generation. And over the years, the sport has become an industry generating billions of dollars in revenue each year. The global sports market has grown tremendously from $486.61 billion in 2021 to $512.14 billion in 2023. And by 2026, the numbers are expected to cross the $700 billion mark.

Lodging at the forefront of innovation and adaptation, sports leagues are a significant part of the global market with showbiz glamor and attract fans widely.

Here's the list of the 10 richest Sports Leagues in the world.

National Football League
Indian Premier League
Major League Baseball
National Basketball Association
English Premier League
National Hockey League
La Liga Santander
Bundesliga
Serie A
UEFA Champions League

National Football League

League National Football League
Sport Football
Formed In 1920
Revenue $18 billion
Partners PepsiCo, Nike, Visa, and others
Top 10 Richest Sports Leagues - NFL
Top 10 Richest Sports Leagues - National Football League

Formed in 1920, the National Football League, or NFL, tops the chart with total revenue of $18 billion in 2022, with Dallas Cowboys having the highest value of     $7.64 billion and Aaron Rodgers from the Green Bay Packers taking the highest salary of $50.3 million for the 2022 season.

With the NFL's 32 franchises receiving the lion's share of the revenue, the league also houses 29 of the world's 50 most expensive stadiums. The NFL is known for its intense competition and high-stakes games. It is the highest level of professional American football, making it one of the most-watched sporting events in the world.

Most of its revenue comes through broadcasting rights, sponsorship and ticket sales, and the league's long-term contracts with telecom companies like ESPN, Fox, NBC, and others which fetch billions of dollars annually. The NFL has also partnered with several MNCs as PepsiCo, Nike, and Visa, to name a few. During the 2020 COVID-affected season, the league experienced pandemic-related shortfalls that decreased the revenue, causing the NFL to tune down the salary cap. But after two great seasons, the NFL is back on track with an ambition to reach $25 billion in revenue by 2027.

Shakira & J. Lo's FULL Pepsi Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show

Indian Premier League

League Indian Premier League
Sport Cricket
Formed In 2008
Revenue $11 billion
Partners Vivo, Paytm, Tata, Dream 11, and others
Top 10 Richest Sports Leagues - IPL
Top 10 Richest Sports Leagues - Indian Premier League

The Indian Premier League, better known as IPL, is second to NFL as the second richest sports league— after hitting the $11 billion mark. With Mumbai Indians (MI) as the most valuable IPL team with a brand worth $1.3 billion, IPL  is also second in cutting big fat cheques— with players earning an average of $5.3 million annually.

The Indian T20 league, which commenced in 2008 as India’s first unicorn with a $1.1 billion valuation, has seen a 16-fold jump since its inception. Played each year during the Indian summer with ten teams in a 70-match tournament followed by playoffs and the IPL Trophy for the past 15 seasons, the second-most lucrative league in world sports is now rubbing shoulders with the NFL, NBA, EPL, etc.

With uncontrollable popularity, the IPL has brought lucrative media and sponsorship deals, thus emerging as a premier sporting event with global viewership and popularity. IPL has partnerships with several major companies like VIVO, Paytm, TATA, and Dream11, to name a few. And this year, at $6.2 billion for the 2023–2027 cycle, IPL recorded a three-fold jump in media deals, breaking Walt Disney Star's monotony which had continued for the previous 5-year cycle in 2017. And this media rights deal made IPL the second biggest sporting event after the NFL on a per-match basis.

Most Valuable Teams in the Indian Premier League in 2023
IPL offers a unique blend of diversity, sports, and commerce, providing a platform for startups to showcase their products and connect with industry leaders, boosting the economy as a whole.

Major League Baseball

League Major League Baseball
Sport Baseball
Formed In 1876
Revenue $10.3 billion
Partners Chevrolet, Mastercard, Nike, and others
Top 10 Richest Sports Leagues - MLB
Top 10 Richest Sports Leagues - Major League Baseball

In the third number, we have America's Major League Baseball, or MLB, with an estimated $10.3 billion in revenue, with the Los Angeles Dodgers earning the most remuneration of $5 million.

With an average player salary of $4.9 million, the salary cap jumped 11.1% to record the largest since 2001. In the history of MLB, Aaron Judge became the highest-paid position player with a $360 million nine-year contract with the New York Yankees. With 1992 as the starting point, the baseball league houses 30 teams that play 162 games each year, followed by playoffs and the World Series attracting millions of viewers.

After being adversely impacted by the pandemic, America's baseball league rebounded and hit a home run in 2022, propelling itself to record a spike in revenue. The MLB generates most of its revenue through broadcasting rights, sponsorships, and ticket sales and has a long-standing deal with television networks that brings in billions of dollars each year. The league is in partnership with several major companies– Chevrolet, Mastercard, and Nike, to name a few.

National Basketball Association

League National Basketball Association
Sport Basketball
Formed In 1946
Revenue $10 billion
Partners Nike and others
Top 10 Richest Sports Leagues - NBA
Top 10 Richest Sports Leagues - National Basketball Association

With just over $10 billion as their revenue, the NBA or National Basketball Association comes fourth on the chart. North America's NBA is the world's most prestigious and affluent basketball league, with the average team worth around $3 billion and the Golden State Warriors being the most valuable, worth $7.56 billion.

After being adversely affected by the pandemic for two consecutive years and posting $6.4 billion in revenue for the COVID-impacted 2020/21 season, the NBA jumped to record a $10 billion revenue last year. This implies that the NBA's annual income has nearly tripled over the past decade—going from $3.7 billion in 2012 to $10 billion in 2022.

In addition to the world’s wealthiest players playing in this league, it has secured national television broadcasting contracts worth $500 million in international media revenue. But the main driver of this increase is the NBA’s jersey deal with Nike and their jersey patch program with individual teams, which reportedly fetched above $200 million in revenue last year alone.

Nike x NBA JERSEY UNVEILING | Partnership Launch Event

English Premier League

League English Premier League
Sport Football
Formed In 1992
Revenue $5.3 billion
Partners Sky, BT Sport, Amazon Prime Video, and others
Top 10 Richest Sports Leagues - EPL
Top 10 Richest Sports Leagues - English Premier League

The English Premier League is the fifth richest and biggest sports league, which generates an annual income of $5.3 billion. With the average Premier League club worth $1.51 billion, the collective value of the league's 20 clubs comes to a whopping $30.3 billion.

Excluding the COVID-impacted 2020/21 season, the revenue generation of EPL teams has increased significantly, mainly due to the successful acquisition of high-profile players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Romelu Lukaku by Manchester United. Television broadcasting licenses, business operations, and sponsorship deals have leveraged EPL's revenue, and this increase in media attention, global fan engagement, and lucrative sponsorship deals have boosted the financial prospects of EPL clubs. For the first time in 30 years, EPL witnessed more revenue generated from overseas broadcasters than domestic stations. With £ 5.1 billion generated for domestic rights after the pandemic, the league signed agreements to roll over the existing deals with Sky, BT Sport, and Amazon Prime Video through 2025.

Why Do Companies Invest So Much in Sports Advertisements?
Sports marketing is using the content of sports for marketing. One of the main reasons for brands to invest in it is to take advantage of the athletes’ popularity.

National Hockey League

League National Hockey League
Sport Hockey
Formed In 1917
Revenue $4.8 billion
Partners Adidas, Coca-Cola, Discover, and others
Top 10 Richest Sports Leagues - NHL
Top 10 Richest Sports Leagues - National Hockey League

In sixth place comes North America's National Hockey League or NHL— one of the most popular ice hockey leagues, with an estimated value of $4.8 billion, with the New York Rangers being the most valuable team, worth $2.2 billion.

The ice hockey league is home to 32 teams that play an 82-game season each year, followed by playoffs and the Stanley Cup Finals. NHL generates most of its revenue through broadcasting rights, sponsorships, ticket sales, and lucrative deals with television networks that bring in billions of dollars each season. With the new ESPN TV contract and the addition of the Seattle Kraken, NHL has projected to cross the $5 billion mark. It has also partnered with MNCs like Adidas, Coca-Cola, and Discover, to name a few.

La Liga Santander

League La Liga Santander
Sport Football
Formed In 1929
Revenue $4.5 billion
Partners Santander, Nike, Coca-Cola, and others
Top 10 Richest Sports Leagues - LaLiga Santander
Top 10 Richest Sports Leagues - LaLiga Santander

Spain's La Liga Santander is one of the most popular football leagues in the world, with an estimated value of $4.5 billion. It houses Real Madrid, the richest football club in the world in 2023, with a net worth of $5.1 billion.

The La Liga Santander is home to 20 teams that play a 38-game each year, attracting millions of viewers annually. Comprising some of the top European clubs like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atlético Madrid, Sevilla, Valencia, Villarreal, etc., the football league generates the majority of its revenue through broadcasting rights, sponsorships, and ticket sales.

With lucrative deals with television networks, the league has also partnered with several major companies, such as Santander, Nike, and Coca-Cola, to name a few. Estimated, the La Liga club sponsorship revenue is $930.95 million.

Bundesliga

League Bundesliga
Sport Football
Formed In 1962
Revenue $4.3 billion
Partners Adidas, Coca-Cola, Puma, and others
Top 10 Richest Sports Leagues - Bundesliga
Top 10 Richest Sports Leagues - Bundesliga

Home to 18 teams that play a 34-game each year, Germany’s Bundesliga generates about $ 4.3 billion to rank eighth in the list, with FC Bayern Munich having a value of about 815.25 million euros. The German football league that draws large crowds to its stadiums— on an average of 42,738 tickets sold per game– has reported a 5.4% increase in combined revenues for the country’s professional teams.

Generating most of its revenue through broadcasting rights, sponsorships, and ticket sales, the league has a lucrative deal with television networks. Earning €1.1 billion ($1.2 billion) yearly from national television rights, Bundesliga has partnered with several major companies such as Adidas, Coca-Cola, and Puma.

Serie A

League Serie A
Sport Football
Formed In 1898
Revenue $2.8 billion
Partners Puma and others
Top 10 Richest Sports Leagues - Serie A
Top 10 Richest Sports Leagues - Serie A

Italy's top-tier football league Serie A is the ninth wealthiest sports league generating a revenue of $2.8 billion and is at the bottom of the list. With its rich and storied history, Serie A's AC Milan franchise has the highest market value of 571.4 million euros.

Home to 20 teams that play a 38-game, Serie A is known for its strategic play style over high-speed thrills. The Italian football league is gearing up to increase the revenue flow. It currently holds a domestic deal with sports streaming service DAZN for €2.5 billion (US$2.7 billion) that will run till 2024 along with Pay-TV broadcaster Sky Italia Serie A has reported a €262.5 million (US$280.9 million) deal over three years.

UEFA Champions League

League UEFA Champions League
Sport Football
Formed In 1955
Revenue $2.8 billion
Partners Adidas, Vivo, and others
Top 10 Richest Sports Leagues - UEFA Champions League
Top 10 Richest Sports Leagues - UEFA Champions League

Sitting at the bottommost, we have the UEFA Champions League with an estimated revenue of $2.8 billion, with Manchester City squad having the highest value squad worth €1.01 billion.

Featuring the top club teams from across Europe— the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, and the Bundesliga, UEFA Champions League is the tenth biggest sports league in the world. For the 2021-22 season, UEFA suffered a drop in revenue of almost €2 billion after setting a record mark in the previous year— notably boosted by the delayed European Championship.

Despite the downfall, UEFA still recorded its second-best financial year since 2016-17, with most of the media revenue coming from UEFA's four-year deal with global streaming service DAZN signing in June 2021. The hike figures come after UEFA adopted a new competition structure for the UWCL that included a group stage and a centralized commercial and broadcast rights model for the 2021-22 to 2024-25 cycle.

FAQs

Which are the top 10 richest sports leagues currently in the world?

Here's the list of the 10 richest Sports Leagues in the world-

  • National Football League
  • Indian Premier League
  • Major League Baseball
  • National Basketball Association
  • English Premier League
  • National Hockey League
  • LaLiga Santander
  • Bundesliga
  • Serie A
  • UEFA Champions League

What is the revenue of the richest sports league?

The National Football League, or NFL, tops the chart with total revenue of $18 billion in 2022.

Great! Next, complete checkout for full access to StartupTalky.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
You've successfully subscribed to StartupTalky.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.
Success! Your billing info has been updated.
Your billing was not updated.