When the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs suited up in Los Angeles in early 1967 for the first Super Bowl it was admittedly a new concept, but that did not stop 50 million Americans from tuning in and advertisers paying $40,000 for a 30-second television spot. Fast forward more than fifty years later and the Super Bowl is watched by more than 100 million Americans and the price for a 30-second advertisement has soared all the way to $5 million.
That kind of financial largesse is not limited to a single sport either. When Jack Nicklaus won his first Master’s Tournament in 1963, he took home $20,000. Considering that today, the inflation-adjusted amount would be $160,000, it was not a bad haul for a twenty-three-year-old. But, when Sergio Garcia won the same tournament in 2017 his take was $2 million.
What’s behind the astonishing growth? Television. Sport’s is must see – or stream – television whether it is English Premier League Football or the NFL. Not only are advertisers sure that viewers will tune in to prime time sporting events, but that they will watch them live, mitigating concerns over viewers ability to fast-forward through those advertisements. Major League Baseball attracted only 73 million people to ballparks last year, down from a peak of 80 million in 2007. But, that has not stopped the league from earning more and more income as broadcasting rights swell the coffers of teams.
Below are estimates for the revenue for the top earning sports around the world for 2017. Despite, American football having the benefit of having both a professional and a college league that earns large amounts of money, no sport can match Football’s (Soccer) impact around the world and the lucrative leagues that are a mainstay in both Europe and South America, and now with Major League Soccer, even the United States.