Last updated on April 2nd, 2019 at 05:55 am
It will no doubt come as little surprise to hear that many of the world’s most successful sports stars earn huge amounts of money. I’m sure you would not be that surprised to learn that many earn far more outside of their chosen sport than from within it. Sure they need the sport in order to achieve these vast sums. However those figures coming from endorsements can be truly eye watering.
So what does this all have to do with our sport of badminton I hear you ask? Well certain top badminton players are also earning these huge sums that put many tennis players’ earnings into the shade. This article was prompted by a recent piece on the BBC sport website by writer Michael Emons in which he takes a look at Indian star badminton player PV Sindhu’s (Pusarla Venkata Sindhu) immense earnings and I encourage you to give it a read.
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Badminton Player PV Sindhu Off-Court Success
We all know badminton is not a sport most take up expecting to make a huge amount of money even if they are rather good. You need to be regularly in the world’s top 10 to be making a good living solely from the sports earnings. But back to our example of PV Sindhu, according to the article her on-court winnings for last year came to around £387k ($500k) but sponsorship deals and endorsements saw her take a further £6.2 million ($8m) mindboggling figures I’m sure you will agree.
As pointed out, that was more than the world number one women’s tennis player Simona Halep as you can see in the Forbes – Highest earning female athletes table below. Another thing worth mentioning is just how racket or racquet sports dominate the women’s sports earnings list with tennis accounting for eight of the ten while badminton and Nascar are the others.
Forbes – Highest Earning Female Athletes
|1||Serena Williams (USA)||Tennis||£48,050||£13.9m||£14m|
|2||Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark)||Tennis||£4.6m||£5.4m||£10m|
|3||Sloane Stephens (USA)||Tennis||£4.4m||£4.2m||£8.6m|
|4||Garbine Muguruza (Spain)||Tennis||£4.2m||£4.2m||£8.5m|
|5||Maria Sharapova (Russia)||Tennis||£773,500||£7.3m||£8.1m|
|6||Venus Williams (USA)||Tennis||£3.2m||£4.6m||£7.9m|
|7||PV Sindhu (India)||Badminton||£387,000||£6.2m||£6.6m|
|8||Simona Halep (Romania)||Tennis||£4.8m||£1.1m||£6m|
|9||Danica Patrick (USA)||Nascar||£2.3m||£3.5m||£5.8m|
|10||Angelique Kerber (Germany)||Tennis||£2.3m||£3.1m||£5.4m|
Badminton’s Other Stars
Off-court earnings for men’s badminton are a similar story with the likes of Lee Chong Wei making serious money. I’ve yet see a detailed break-down of the latest men’s games top earner’s with all their endorsements and sponsorships deals added in but you can assume those figures will be pretty high. Figures quoting Lee Chong Wei’s lifetime earnings are around $35m whilst China’s Lin Dan comes in with around $24m.
Of course India is particularly badminton mad making the likes of PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal in the women’s game and Kidambi Srikanth from the men’s game are extremely marketable. I’d also have to say the same is true for a lot of Asian countries hence those earnings. However you will also note the lack of any household names from United Kingdom in the singles. Although English pair Chris and Gabrielle Adcock are regularly ranked inside the top ten in the mix doubles. They are currently ranked seventh at the time of writing. Whilst I’m sure they are doing rather well it’s unlikely to be anywhere close to that of India’s PV Sindhu. That’s because despite being played in schools, clubs and gardens up and down the country, badminton in the UK is still seen as minor sport unlike in India.
Badminton player PV Sindhu is hugely successful both on and off-court but it’s the latter that really shows how much badminton needs to engage more with the viewing public in places like Europe. But there lies the problem, its competing in an already saturated world of TV/internet sports content. Currently only the top few stars are earning real money and most of that comes from endorsements and it’s difficult to see how this will change over the coming years, BWF President Poul-Erik Høyer recently revealed his plan to focus on the players.