Sports Business/Sports Career


Hello, I'd like to know whether sportsmen still earn money if they lose the tournament they participated in. Thanks!

Hi, Jade. Thanks for the question, it is a very interesting one.

I will start out by citing some of the scenarios of different sports in terms of their prize monies. You'll see it varies by team versus individual sport and is influenced by television rights, gate revenue (tickets), and sponsorship.

Here is a link to an article giving the prize earnings for professional tennis players. You can see a sizable increase in the earnings percentage and how deep in the rounds the earnings are awarded. But this is a professional sport and I am not sure if you are referring to amateur sport competitions.

In 1972, the famed chess championship between Fischer and Spassky had a purse of $250,000 (USD). The winner, Bobby Fischer, brought unprecedented interest and money to the world chess championship. In addition to the gigantic purse, Fischer demanded, and received, 30 percent of the television rights and the gate (ticket sales). Because Fischer won the match, he was awarded over $150,000, a significant take of the total purse.

Fast forward to 2014, and in the sport of chess, the champion takes home a cool $750,000 and the loser takes home $500,000. The sport is able to attract $1.25M. Television contracts add nicely to the winner’s pot.

In the 2014 World Cup, the 700+ athletes were paid with sizable prize winnings awarded to the competing (i.e., losing) teams as well as to the German team. A breakdown of how FIFA awards the competitors, the national sport governing bodies of the participating countries, and the top winners is found in this article which appeared in the daily publication, USA Today.

The question of whether competitors are awarded even if they lose is based on the status of the competition. Is this an amateur event? And, how deep are the pockets of the event?
If you are looking to increase the prize monies, so that you can reward more players, you need to raise revenues. And, you need to determine if there are bonuses or a percentage or cut from the revenues that can be shared with the competitors.

Ask the players what will make them compete in your tournament or event? They will tell you exactly what they want and need in terms of revenues, winnings, shared revenues, and bonuses in order to make their appearance worthwhile and in order for you, as an event planner or producer or owner, worth the effort to attract the best competition possible.

I would begin by taking a look at your sponsorship package. Is there room in the package to include prize money? And how will the underwriting of the prize money be of benefit to your sponsor? You can easily build a sponsorship package around the prize money and give the sponsor lots of exposure.

Secondly, consider an increase in fees either athlete registration fees or a slight increase in spectator ticket prices to cover the additional cost of additional prize money.

From an event owner or producer’s perspective, what does awarding losers in the sport competition do for the event? Does it make it less appealing or more appealing from an athlete’s point of view as well as from an event producer’s point of view? If I produce a sport event and I am only awarding the top finishers, how does this affect my ability to attract a top rate field of players?

The increase in award monies can be a positive spin you can put on your event. And it is newsworthy. So if you are looking to gain media exposure, you can announce the increase in the prize winnings to the media. They should, with a carefully crafted media relations release, publish the announcement thus giving your event more exposure.

Bottom line, increasing the number and depth of awards to “losers” can be a positive initiative for your event. But you need to always ask yourself if the sport is set up to handle such an initiative and if you, as the influencer of the event, are equally prepared to take your event to new level.

I hope this insight helps. Best of luck in your event planning and marketing. Let me know how else I can assist you in your marketing and promotional planning and implementation.

Yours in sport business,

Margy Lang
Sportive Marketing  

Sports Business

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Margy Lang


Sports marketing and promotions. Sports sponsorship and partnership programs.


Founder and President of Sportive Marketing, Inc. a sports marketing and event management agency headquartered in Northeast Florida who services a variety of clients in the areas of marketing and promotions of sport properties and events as well as the facilitation of product rollouts and sales driven programs for sport and recreation products. Author of several articles and series of white papers (The Stratagem Series)on sport marketing, specifically trends in marketing and promotion, and event marketing, including ticket and membership sales. Adjunct visiting instructor at Flagler College (St. Augustine FL) Sport Management Department, teaching upperclass Sport Marketing and Promotions course. Past chair and founder of the City of Jacksonville's Olympic Development Committee.

The Sport Marketing Association Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International

B.A. Sport Communications from Bethany College, Bethany WV M.S. Sport Management from Indiana University of Pennsylvania M.B.A. Concentration in Marketing from Clayton University, MO

Awards and Honors
2006 Alumni Achievement Award, Butler County Community College, Butler PA

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