The Top 10 Most Expensive Sports in the World

Most Expensive Sports
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Sport is a universal pastime that brings millions of people together every year. With countless games and events happening all across the globe, it's no wonder why people are so passionate about their favourite teams and star players!

It’s no secret that the sporting world generates a lot of money but have you ever wondered what the most expensive sports are in the world? These aren't just ordinary games - these are the elite of sports, where participating or even just following can be a huge hit to the wallet.

From the latest high-tech equipment to training fees and competition expenses, these sports demand a lot when it comes to cash.

So, let’s delve into the world of the top 10 most expensive sports from the Ask Genie blog. Whether you're an athlete or a curious observer, this post will give you a glimpse into the glamorous world of sports.

What Is the Most Expensive Sport in the World?

So what are the most expensive sports in the world? Let’s take a look, starting with the cheapest of the list (still very expensive!).

10. Wingsuit Flying

Wingsuit flying is not only one of the most expensive sports in the world, but it's also one of the most dangerous. Very few sports can match up to the adrenaline and risk that comes with this sport.

But unlike the other expensive sports on this list, the actual equipment for wingsuit flying is one of the cheapest expenses of the sport. 

The real cost comes from the transportation to the jump site and up into the air as well as the extensive training and necessary safety equipment. Jump sites are usually in remote locations, making it tricky to travel to and from. 

Hiring a helicopter is also not cheap, but it is a crucial element in wingsuit flying. If you want to become a skilled wingsuit flyer, you'll need to pay around $20,000 to $30,000 for the initial training.

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9. Bobsledding

Bobsledding is one of the most unforgiving sports when it comes to your wallet. Similar to Formula 1, this Winter Olympics sport requires bobsledders to secure corporate sponsorships if they wish to compete at a professional level. Adding more to this bill is whether it's played individually or as a team sport of two or four.

The cost of a bobsled alone can reach a staggering $100,000. On top of that, training for the sport can also be equally as expensive. Considering the wintery conditions for this sport, you’ll also need to book specific lodgings and facilities which provide a bobsled track to practice on.

Another aspect that makes bobsledding such an expensive sport is the danger that comes with it. This is a high-speed sport that sees individuals whisking along ice-covered tracks at speeds of up to 80 mph. High-quality and costly protective equipment and gear are a must to keep yourself protected.

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8. Golf

Golf is well-known for being a rich person's sport. You’ve undoubtedly seen the stereotypes of business people discussing plans and finances over a jolly good game of golf. 

For beginners to the sport, there are three major expenses one could expect, which include a set of clubs, apparel, and shoes. Clubs are easily the biggest expense of the sport, with the most expensive costing around $20,000-30,000 in annual dues. 

Golfers must also pay for lessons or practice, green fees, and club memberships - which can significantly turn a 4-figure price tag into five or even six figures! This sport is not so much about the game itself but rather the social aspect you get from memberships and the network of wealthy people you could find yourself mingling with.

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7. Polo Equestrian

Polo equestrian is a sport known for its high-end reputation and association with the wealthy. This expensive sport combines soccer, croquet, and equestrian, where, as you may have guessed, the primary expensive purchase is the horse.

Polo ponies are among the most expensive horses to buy, with prices ranging from a steep $50,000 to a whopping $200,000 for a well-trained horse in its prime. You must also consider how much time, effort and equipment it will take to maintain the horses’ fitness and ensure they are well-fed and looked after. 

However, unlike equestrian sports, polo also requires a polo mallet, access to a polo pitch and appropriate riding gear.

Those looking to participate in the sport can expect to fork out thousands of dollars. The cost of sponsoring polo teams in tournaments alone can cost upwards of $1,000,000!

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6. Ski Jumping

As the second Winter Olympic sport on this list, Ski Jumping is arguably even more dangerous and expensive than Bobsledding. In order to perform well, participants must jump from a height of 50 metres, reaching speeds of up to 120 kph. 

If done right, you’ll have travelled a fair distance and landed back down successfully. But as you can imagine, if done wrong, you can experience some really serious injuries. With this in mind, the cost of protective and special equipment can be expensive. 

To be successful in this Winter Olympics sport, you need top-notch equipment, proper training, a ski jumping slope, and experienced coaches, which can all add up to an incredible sum of money. Ski jumpers can easily spend over $100,000 just to get started, from custom-fitted skis, aerodynamic suits, and helmets to travel expenses and training.

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5. Hot Air Balloon Racing

If you've ever wanted to fly in a hot air balloon (or already have), you likely already know how expensive a flight is. Now imagine the cost of this in the form of a sport.

Despite its expense, hot air balloon racing is rapidly gaining popularity because it offers both the thrill of competition and the fun of flying. Pilots race to complete a course as quickly as possible by navigating their balloons through predetermined waypoints or "gates."

Participating in the sport requires a great deal of skill, strategy, and of course, investment. Becoming a pro at hot air balloon racing can cost over $2,000 while purchasing and operating a hot air balloon alone can reach up to $20,000.

Hot air balloon racing is well worth the price for those passionate about flying and adventure!

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4. Modern Pentathlon

Participating in a sport at an elite level can be an expensive affair. But when it comes to the Pentathlon, you're spending money on not one but five games.

A Pentathlon combines five different athletic challenges - fencing, swimming, show jumping, running, and pistol shooting - into one thrilling event. Training for each of these five events can be costly, with the various types of equipment and skills required to master and compete in each one.

For example, to excel in fencing, you'll need to invest in fencing equipment. Show jumping will require equestrian gear, and you'll need a high-quality pistol, ammunition, and range time for pistol shooting. All of these equipment expenses make the Modern Pentathlon one of the most expensive sports.

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3. Sailing

Owning a boat has always been seen as a sign of wealth, so it's no surprise that sailing makes the list of the most expensive sports in the world. While sailing itself is not a costly sport, acquiring a boat is where the real costs start coming in. Some boats can cost more than even the most luxurious supercars.

On average, a new cruising sailboat can cost anywhere from $100,000 to over $1 million, and that's not including the equipment and accessories needed to participate in competitions. 

Sailing is not for the faint of heart or those on a tight budget.

But the thrill of the sport, gliding through the water, is unmatched. This sport requires precision, strategy, and a deep understanding of the physics of winds and sails. It takes years of practice and investment to master, but the reward is worth every penny.

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2. Equestrian

Equestrianism, otherwise known as horse riding, is a sport that requires grace, skill, and a deep love for horses. But any sport that relies on an animal, especially a horse, comes with high expenses.

Equestrian encompasses a range of skilled activities and routines performed by a rider and their horse. The most well-known are the competitive sports of dressage, eventing, jumping, and endurance. This sport, however, is not for everyone. It demands extensive training and a significant investment in both time and money.

Since its introduction as a modern Olympic sport in 1900, equestrianism has become a symbol of wealth and privilege. The cost of training and maintaining a horse for international competitions can easily reach up to $200,000 a year, not including the cost of purchasing a horse.

Additionally, the expenses of travelling to events, providing appropriate stabling, and ensuring the horse's well-being can go into the millions.

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1. Formula 1 Racing

It goes without saying that there’s a lot of big money in Formula 1. From the cost of engineering and building the cars to the drivers' salaries and Grand Prix weekends, it's no surprise it's the most costly sport.

For starters, the cars are technological marvels, with engines capable of reaching speeds up to 350 kph. The calculated design and engineering that goes into each car make them a work of art in their own right. But it also means each one is a significant investment.

On average, Formula 1 vehicle development typically costs between $150 million to $400 million US dollars. Other costs include flights, hotels, transportation of people, equipment and precious cargo.

Considering most racers begin driving expensive karts from a very young age, it's clear that the sport of car racing demands a minimum investment of a million dollars. 

Even as a beginner, the expenses begin to rack up. From your own kart to racing suits and travel, you’re up for a costly ride if you want to get into karting.

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FAQs About the Most Expensive Sports

What are the most expensive sports events in the world?

Some of the most expensive sports events in the world include:

  1. The Olympic Games
  2. The Whitianga Festival of Speed (includes helicopter, car, power boat, and jet ski racing)
  3. The UEFA Champions League
  4. The FIFA World Cup
  5. The Superbowl

These are just a few examples of the many sports events that take place around the world. The cost of these events is driven by factors such as venue, media rights, following, and player salaries.

What sport makes the most money?

Basketball is the highest-paid sport in the world as of 2023. Each team in the National Basketball League (NBA) has an average valuation of over (US) $2 billion, while the league itself generates a staggering $8.76 billion in revenue annually.

Discover a Little Luxury 

The world of sports has seen exponential growth in terms of popularity and cost. From motor racing and horse riding to bobsledding and wingsuit flying, these high-class sports all come with a hefty price tag.

Maybe you'll get lucky and get the chance to invest in one of these sports for yourself - or just head to an exclusive event!

Take a look at some of our other blogs for inspiration on how to bring a little luxury into your life:

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