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Which are the 15 richest sports leagues in the world currently?
As time passed, sports flourished into a successful business. The sports sector generates billions in revenue globally. Consequently, professional sports leagues are sizable enterprises in modern society, with multiple income streams. People will invest time and money to watch their favourite players or teams live. So, which are the richest sports leagues in the world?
Sports are popular with people of all ages, especially among the young adult demographic. Many people are regarded as the world's wealthiest because they are prepared to spend time and money watching their favourite and most famous MLB players.
The 15 richest sports leagues in the world currently
Some of the richest sports leagues in the world are characterized by their global popularity and lucrative broadcasting rights deals. Here is a list of the world's top 15 richest sports leagues today.
15. Nippon Professional Baseball - $35 million
Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) is the highest level of baseball in Japan. It is a men's professional baseball league that consists of two separate leagues: the Central League and the Pacific League. NPB is considered one of the highest-quality baseball leagues outside of Major League Baseball (MLB) in the United States.
The Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) organization generated approximately 5.38 billion Japanese yen (approximately $35 million) in ordinary revenue. The organization oversees various baseball-related activities and initiatives, including the administration of the professional baseball league in Japan.
14. Italy’s Serie A - $69.35 million
Napoli was previously the most expensive team in Italian Serie A, but now Juventus has that title. This has come to fruition thanks to the masterful planning of Cristiano Ronaldo's super move. And then there are other superstars like Romelu Lukaku.
The Italian Serie A is not the best telecom bargain compared to the people and the German Bundesliga. If an improved transmission agreement were approved in 2019, I would start receiving an annualized €1.3 billion. It is projected to generate an annual sponsorship revenue of $69.35 million for the 2023/24 season.
13. Australian Football League - $91.16 million
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The AFL consists of 18 teams, with the league expanding over the years. Some of the prominent teams include the Collingwood Magpies, Essendon Bombers, Carlton Blues, Richmond Tigers, Hawthorn Hawks, and the Sydney Swans.
In 2022, the Australian Football League (AFL) disclosed an operating profit of AUS$20.7 million (US$14.33 million), indicating a significant year-over-year (YoY) surge with a boost of AUS$66.8 million (US$46.25 million).
12. Major League Soccer - $116 million
MLS began play in 1996 with ten teams. Over the years, the league has expanded, and there were 28 teams in total. The league is divided into the Eastern and Western Conferences, and teams compete in a regular season followed by the MLS Cup Playoffs.
The team with the best regular-season record is awarded the Supporters' Shield. The playoffs culminate in the MLS Cup, which determines the league champion.
In 2022, Los Angeles FC emerged as the MLS team with the highest revenue, boasting a total of approximately 116 million U.S. dollars. Additionally, in 2023, LAFC retained its status as the league's most valuable club.
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11. Belgian Pro League - $408 million
The Belgian Pro League, also known as the Jupiler Pro League for sponsorship reasons, is the top professional football division in Belgium. It consists of 18 teams, and the competition operates on a system of promotion and relegation with the Belgian First Division B.
In the 2021-2022 period, operational revenues surged to €381.5 million (approximately$408 million), marking a substantial 31% growth equivalent to an increase of €90.8 million. This surpasses the operational revenues recorded in all seasons scrutinized prior to this.
10. Russian Premier League - $869 million
The Russian Premier League stands as one of the top 10 richest sports leagues in the world. The league comprises 16 teams, with Zenit Saint Petersburg securing consecutive championships from 2018–19 to 2022–23. Its estimated revenue is €813 million (approximately$869 million).
9. UEFA Champions League - $3.3 billion
Each year 32 teams are invited to compete here depending on their performance in their respective games. The teams are randomly divided into eight groups of four using an algorithm. The total revenue of the UEFA Champions League amounted to over 3.1 billion euros ($3.3 billion)
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After that, each group play the other twice. Twenty-two teams have been crowned champions since the tournament was founded in 1955. Every team in Europe's leagues aspires to win this trophy, the ultimate prize in European football.
The current record for most Champions League titles is held by Real Madrid (13 European cups). BT Sports has paid for airing its Europa League and Champions League matches.
8. Germany's Bundesliga - $3.8 billion
In Germany, spectators regularly fill stadiums to watch games in the Bundesliga; on average, they sell 42,738 tickets for every game. The German Football Association announced that the combined revenues of the country's professional teams topped 4 billion euros ($4.33 billion) in 2018, an increase of 5.4% from the previous football season.
During the 2021/22 season, the Bundesliga's overall revenue surpassed 3.6 billion euros ($3.8 billion), indicating a modest uptick from the prior year. Bayern Munich has clinched the German first division title 33 times.
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7. La Liga Santander - $5.33 billion
The Spanish La Liga is the best football league in Spain and is #7 on our list of the best in the world. La Liga is not as well-known as the English Premier League; it is home to two of the best football teams in the world: Real Madrid and Barcelona.
La Liga generates revenue from commercial deals, player transfers, ticket sales, and broadcasting deals. The 2017–18 season saw a record-breaking increase of 20.6% in revenue for La Liga clubs, with a total of €4.479 billion earned. With the relaxation of capacity restrictions in the previous season, the total revenue for La Liga experienced a substantial 23% surge, reaching $5.33 billion in the 2021-22 period.
6. National Hockey League - $5.93 billion
Although the Public Hockey Association (PHA) may be one of the weaker games in Northern America, compared to other parts of America, it has a massive fanbase. During the 2017–2018 season, the NHL generated €4.2 billion, making it the most lucrative hockey league in the world.
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That figure grew to $5.09 billion in the 2018–19 season thanks to an extra $2 billion, or $200 million per season, paid by NBC and NBC SportsNet as part of a (decade-long) licensing deal. In the 2021/22 season, the total league revenue of the NHL was $5.93 billion.
5. English Premier League - $6.6 billion
Each English club earns money even through business operations and sponsorship deals. Approximately $5.3 billion is the result of the English Head Association's leveraging of television broadcasting licenses. In 2016, for instance, the Chief Association approved a television contract for $13.6 billion.
Each of the 20 teams in the league received an equal share of these resources. Using publicly available data, the Head Association earned €5.3 billion in the fiscal year 2016/17. The advantages increased due to Man United's Association's acquisition of Cristiano Ronaldo and Romelu Lukaku in the past seasons.
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During the 2021/22 season, the cumulative revenue of clubs in the English Premier League surged to around 5.45 billion British pounds (approximately $6.6 billion). This marked a notable 11 percent increase in total revenue compared to the preceding year.
4. Indian Premier League - $8.4 billion
Cricket is not among the most popular sports in the world, and it is 3-year quite surprising that the seasons have landed it on our list of essential sports federations. Remarkably, they are in fourth place, with attendance much-exceeding hockey and, unexpectedly, the most significant football associations. Prominently feature the Indian Head Association in their discussions.
A staggering $7 billion is earned by an organization with only two bands, each of which typically performs for only two of the year's twelve months. However, when you realize that cricket is the most popular sport in India, a country with a population of 1,339,000,000, you may begin to see the gravity of the situation. India is so dedicated to cricket that a significant match often delays other activities.
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In 2022, the Indian Premier League's worth reached approximately $8.4 billion, reflecting a notable upturn from the pandemic years. This resurgence was propelled by a new media rights auction and the addition of two extra teams
3. Major League Baseball - $10.32 billion
Baseball, like soccer, has a minimal international fan following because most players are drawn from regional support bases. We have repeatedly seen that having many North Americans on your side is a considerable advantage, and MLB is among the wealthiest sports leagues in the world.
With 1992 as the starting point, $1.2 billion has been generated through several cross-income streams. Averaging 2018's growth rate of $10.7 billion and 2019's projection of $10.8 billion, it has grown to $10.3 billion. Therefore profit made by each team in the 2017-18 season was above $300 million.
Considering that in 2018 the average price of a baseball ticket was $32.44 million, you can see how the MLB teams make millions of dollars off ticket sales. This exemplifies MLB's consistent and predictable expansion since around 2006.
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Since just six of the top 50 clubs are affiliated with this league, MLB and the NFL do not share stadiums. The current MLB's revenue is generated from several sources such as broadcast rights, merchandise sales, ticket sales, and sponsorships.
2. National Basketball Association - $10.58 billion
The Public Basketball Association enjoys greater global and North American fame than National Football League or Major League Baseball. It is not surprising, considering that football is among the top five most popular sports world's games group, with an estimated 800 million supporters.
So, it stands to reason that the world's top ball association would be among the top three best in revenue. The National Basketball Association (NBA) generates an estimated $500 million in global media income thanks to lucrative broadcasting deals with public television networks.
Every year in 2019, NBA fanatics place a valuation of $1.87 billion on the league's three best teams, with the average valuation of each several being $1.87 billion.
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In the 2022/23 season, the 30 franchises of the National Basketball Association (NBA) collectively generated a revenue of $10.58 billion, marking a notable rise of over 500 million dollars compared to the preceding year.
Regular attendance and discounted tickets reveal the unstoppable rise of NBA games with a value of above $2 billion, including the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls, and Brilliant State Warriors.
1. National Football League - $18.6 billion
The National Football League (NFL) ranks first on this list of richest sports leagues in the world in 2023. From a financial perspective, the NFL is far more powerful than European football in terms of how the game is generally viewed and well-known.
Given that a sizable chunk of its fanbase is North American, most of its long-haul audience consists of people from the United States and Canada because no one outside those countries cares about it.
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Most of the National Football League's annual revenue comes from long-term contracts with telecom companies like ESPN, Fox, NBC, and others. The NFL's 32 franchises receive the lion's share of the revenue, and the company is home to 29 of the world's 50 most expensive stadiums.
Summary table of richest sports leagues in the world
National Football League
National Basketball Association
United States and Canada
Major League Baseball
United States and Canada
Indian Premier League
English Premier League
National Hockey League
United States and Canada
La Liga Santander
UEFA Champions League
Russian Premier League
Belgian Pro League
Major League Soccer
United States and Canada
Australian Football League
Italy’s Serie A
Nippon Professional Baseball
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Which is the richest of the sports leagues in the U.S. on an annual revenue basis?
The richest sports leagues in the U.S. is the National Football League. It consists of 32 teams, divided equally between the American Football Conference (AFC) and the National Football Conference (NFC). It generates an annual revenue of $18.6 billion.
What sports league is the richest?
Some of the richest sports leagues include the National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), National Basketball Association (NBA) and the Premier League (PL/EPL).
Is the NFL worth more than the Premier League?
While the NFL ranks in terms of revenue, the English Premier League (EPL) stands as the undisputed premier league in the world's most beloved sport. The NFL makes more money from sponsorship deals than the Premier League.
What is the most watched sports league in the world?
The Premier League is the world’s most popular watched sport in the world. It boasts the most lucrative television contract in sports, securing its global reach and bringing in fans from anywhere and everywhere.
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The richest sports leagues in the world generate substantial revenue from ticket sales and merchandise. They also benefit significantly from broadcasting rights, merchandise sales, and sponsorship agreements.
Sportsbrief.com listed the best streaming services for soccer fans. It makes sense that football fans would want to watch their preferred teams and leagues from around the world live on TV, especially if they enjoy watching with friends.
These football live-streaming websites or the best soccer streaming services will work just fine with an active internet connection.