There are those who play their sports professionally, and then there are those who make their fortune from it. As Conor McGregor nets another big payday from his latest UFC win, Teams on Tour have gone back through the bank statements to find the biggest paydays in the history of sports.
Brock Lesnar, UFC 200 – $2.5 Million
There’s no denying that Brock Lesnar was the star attraction of UFC 200, an MMA (mixed martial arts) card that was plagued by injuries and contract disputes. At the time, this was the highest guaranteed paycheck for any appearance in the world-famous fighting promotion. And even after all the post-fight controversy (Lesnar was accused of taking performance-enhancing medication), “The Beast” must’ve been laughing all the way to the bank.
Germany, Fifa World Cup 2014 – $35 Million
You would have thought lifting the famous old Jules Rimet trophy would be enough for the German footballers who must’ve dreamt of that day since they were just Jurgen Klinsmann wannabes. So imagine their shock to hear that not only did the prize money for winning 2014’s World Cup add up to $34,000,000, but each player would also receive a handsome $408,000 bonus. Sehr gut, jah?
Leicester City, Premier League 15/16 – $93 Million
That’s right folks. Leicester City earned more for winning the Premier League than Germany did for lifting the World Cup (if you ever wondered why so many players look like they’re giving more effort for club than country, this is why). That’s nothing compared to Arsenal though, who, thanks to television revenue, took home a whopping $100 million.
Evil Geniuses, The International 2015 982 – $6.6 Million
The next time you call out your mate for spending too much time playing video games, think about this incredible story. The International 2015 was an eSports tournament bringing the best DOTA players in the world together to find the best of the best. That turned out to be Evil Geniuses, and the five team members (who’s gamer names we won’t even attempt to spell) took home a total jackpot of $6,634,660.68. Achievement unlocked?
Mercedes – Formula 1 (2015 Season) – $98.97 Million
Think about it, would you risk life and limb racing at speeds of over 200mph if the prize money wasn’t worth it? With a total pool of prize monies reaching a jaw-dropping $797.5 million, Formula 1 has become one of the most lucrative sporting contests on the planet, and when Lewis Hamilton won Mercedes the World Championship in 2015, the German manufacturers went from 0-$98 million in less than a few seconds.
Real Madrid, Uefa Champions League 15/16 – $75 Million
After winning La Decima in 2014, Real Madrid re-established dominance in Europe’s top competition. So, after El Clasico rivals FC Barcelona took the title in 2015, the pressure was on the Spanish giants to reclaim the most storied prize in European football. And because that wasn’t motivation enough, the prize money earned by Real after beating noisy neighbours Atletico Madrid in the final reached up to $75 million.
Denver Broncos, Super Bowl 50 – $11 Million
For all the fanfare, hype and the sheer size of the occasion, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the prize money for winning the 50th annual Super Bowl wasn’t bigger. $11 million was the jackpot taken home by the Denver Broncos after drubbing the Carolina Panthers 10-24 in the biggest game of the NFL season. Which could only buy you just over 10% of a Paul Pogba. Think about that, just for a second. It’s absolutely bonkers.
Andy Murray, Wimbledon 2016 – $3.9 Million
When Andy Murray won Wimbledon again in 2016 after breaking the anti-British curse that had been set upon the All England Tennis Club since Fred Perry’s third and final championship victory on home soil in 1936, nobody was happier than him. Why? Because not only had he made sporting history, but he’d also just pocketed a whopping $3.9 million in prize money. Aced it.