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Top 6 richest sports leagues in the world 2023

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Sport has become big business, and major revenue earners for owners, clubs and players. 

Some sports and leagues are more lucrative than others, so here are the richest sports leagues in the world, as measured in revenue, based on 2022 data. Perhaps not surprisingly, it is American sports that lead the way.

 

1. The NFL (National Football League)

By far the most lucrative is American Football the NFL. Comprised of 32 teams that play in two Conferences, in 2022 the 285 matches generated a combined revenue of £15.1 billion. That works out at an average of £53 million a match, with the annual Superbowl worth even more. The economic benefit to a city of hosting a Superbowl can be worth anywhere between £25 million to five times that.

 

2. MLB (Major League Baseball)

Second in terms of revenue generated is Major League Baseball, which, in 2022, generated some £8.6 billion in revenue. However, because the baseball season is long, and there are so many matches – there were 2.467 played in the course of the 2022 season – the amount per match does not compare with an NFL game. In fact, the Premier League in England, although only fourth in terms of overall revenues generated, is second in the amount of income per match. That was estimated to be close to £18 million a match.

Read: Football (soccer) tournaments with the biggest prize money in the world

Although teams are primarily from the United States, there are also Canadian franchises as well.

 

3. NBA (National Basketball Association)

Third on the list is NBA, the world’s premier basketball competition. That is very close to MLB in terms of annual revenue generated – £8.5 billion, but with significant fewer matches -1,3224 in 2022 – the revenue per match works out higher – £8 million a match.

 

3. The Premier League

The Premier League is the first non-American league on the list, and is the richest domestic football (soccer) league in the world.

Read: Top 10 highest paid football managers in the world

The Premier League has the highest prize money in football as teams could share as high as 60 million euros based on their standings at the end of the season.

 

4. NHL (National Hockey League)

The fourth of the American major sports (although as with MLB, there are also some Canadian franchises), the National hockey League is made up of 32 teams, who, in 2022, played a total of 1.358 games generating £4.3 billion in revenues.  The average revenue per match, though is comparatively low – around a fifth of what a Premier League match can generate.

 

5. La Liga

Sixth in the list, but, in revenue terms, a distant second to the Premier League, is La Liga 9and the gap is continually growing). They generated close to £3 billion in revenue from the same number of matches, but the amount clubs earned on average per match was just 57% of their Premier League equivalent.

This tallies with a recent study which found that 16 of the 30 richest clubs in Europe came from the Premier League.

 

6. Bundesliga

Rounding out this list is the top flight of German football, the Bundesliga. Their annual revenue for 2022 was £2.6 billion, but their revenue per match was some 30% higher than La Liga, despite the league having a deliberate policy of aiming to keep ticket prices affordable.

I'm a sports enthusiast, love writing about football. I have been writing about top teams in Europe, the Premier League and La Liga.

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