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Jockey

Ruby Walsh and Ryan Moore might be regularly winning six-figure prize money, but it’s a different story for most professional jockeys. The average salary equates to around £26,000 – the same as a restaurant manager in Walthamstow. Given the high number of yearly rides and chance of injury, it’s quite a risky career choice.

Golfer

Golfing superstars such as Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods earn millions from lucrative sponsorship deals with major brands. Less established golfers rely more on tournament prize money, and might earn a hefty one-off sum depending on their finishing position. Of course, if a player has to sit out a tournament through injury, they miss out on the winnings too. This can have a big impact on annual takings for players without sponsors.

Cricketer

Strains and pains are common in cricket, but they’re rarely career threatening. Many players enjoy playing well into their late thirties – not a bad innings compared to other sports. International stars earn seven-figure sums, but other sports hit them for six on salary, with Virat Kohli the only cricketer just inside the 100 best-paid athletes.

Tennis Player

As Andy Murray’s early retirement shows, recurring injuries can cut short a tennis career. For a non-contact sport, there’s still a risk of getting seriously hurt and spending time away from the profession. As competition appearance fees, prize money and sponsorship make up most of a tennis player’s salary, injuries can really hamper earnings.

Darts Player

The more tournaments darts players enter and the better they perform, the more they stand to earn. The cream of the crop also line their pockets with endorsements. A professional career in darts can last decades – just look at Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor who played for 30 years. What’s more, darts players rarely get injured, meaning they can pretty much carry on earning cash around the clock.

Snooker Player

While elite snooker players have sponsors, prize money is where most of them pocket their annual income. However, tournament winnings are not on the same level as other sports such as golf and tennis. Taking into account the entry fees and travel expenses, players not reaching the final rounds won’t be pocketing millions any time soon. Is it worth it though, considering the low-risk nature of snooker?

Rugby Player

Both rugby union and league clubs have a cap on players’ salaries, meaning only a few top players earn over a million in wages alone. However, there’s a big divide, with the salary cap for rugby union over three times that of rugby league in the UK. Muscle injuries are unavoidable in this sport of flying tackles and brutal scrums, but regular wages can soften the pain.

Premier League Footballer

The stereotype of footballers receiving outrageous wages rings true in the Premier League. The average salary for a footballer in the top flight is easily into the millions. While some (mentioning no names) can regularly be seen rolling around in pain on the pitch, injury types vary in severity and rarely have much impact on their earnings.

F1 Driver

The contracts of top Formula One drivers are worth tens of millions of pounds, with race bonuses and sponsorship deals the diamond-encrusted cherry on top. However, it’s clearly one of the most dangerous sports. Crashes occur in every race and are sometimes fatal – the sport is still mourning the loss of Jules Bianchi, who died from injuries sustained at the 2014 Grand Prix in Japan. Such tragedies are rare in the modern era, with many drivers making millions across a relatively long sporting career.

Field Hockey Player

Despite its increasing popularity since the 2012 Olympics, Field Hockey players are among the lowest earning sportspeople. While more known players, such as John-John Dohmen, a Belgian midfielder, are recognised during big competitions, the average yearly salary for Field Hockey competitors is as small as £18,000 per year. When injuries such as ankle sprains and knee twists are so common, it’s clear that the love of the game is what really drives the players.

  • Yearly Salary
  • Yearly Appearances
  • Career Length
  • Injury Risk

Jockey

Ruby Walsh and Ryan Moore might be regularly winning six-figure prize money, but it’s a different story for most professional jockeys. The average salary equates to around £26,000 – the same as a restaurant manager in Walthamstow. Given the high number of yearly rides and chance of injury, it’s quite a risky career choice.

Golfer

Golfing superstars such as Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods earn millions from lucrative sponsorship deals with major brands. Less established golfers rely more on tournament prize money, and might earn a hefty one-off sum depending on their finishing position. Of course, if a player has to sit out a tournament through injury, they miss out on the winnings too. This can have a big impact on annual takings for players without sponsors.

Cricketer

Strains and pains are common in cricket, but they’re rarely career threatening. Many players enjoy playing well into their late thirties – not a bad innings compared to other sports. International stars earn seven-figure sums, but other sports hit them for six on salary, with Virat Kohli the only cricketer just inside the 100 best-paid athletes.

Tennis Player

As Andy Murray’s early retirement shows, recurring injuries can cut short a tennis career. For a non-contact sport, there’s still a risk of getting seriously hurt and spending time away from the profession. As competition appearance fees, prize money and sponsorship make up most of a tennis player’s salary, injuries can really hamper earnings.

Darts Player

The more tournaments darts players enter and the better they perform, the more they stand to earn. The cream of the crop also line their pockets with endorsements. A professional career in darts can last decades – just look at Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor who played for 30 years. What’s more, darts players rarely get injured, meaning they can pretty much carry on earning cash around the clock.

Snooker Player

While elite snooker players have sponsors, prize money is where most of them pocket their annual income. However, tournament winnings are not on the same level as other sports such as golf and tennis. Taking into account the entry fees and travel expenses, players not reaching the final rounds won’t be pocketing millions any time soon. Is it worth it though, considering the low-risk nature of snooker?

Rugby Player

Both rugby union and league clubs have a cap on players’ salaries, meaning only a few top players earn over a million in wages alone. However, there’s a big divide, with the salary cap for rugby union over three times that of rugby league in the UK. Muscle injuries are unavoidable in this sport of flying tackles and brutal scrums, but regular wages can soften the pain.

Premier League Footballer

The stereotype of footballers receiving outrageous wages rings true in the Premier League. The average salary for a footballer in the top flight is easily into the millions. While some (mentioning no names) can regularly be seen rolling around in pain on the pitch, injury types vary in severity and rarely have much impact on their earnings.

F1 Driver

The contracts of top Formula One drivers are worth tens of millions of pounds, with race bonuses and sponsorship deals the diamond-encrusted cherry on top. However, it’s clearly one of the most dangerous sports. Crashes occur in every race and are sometimes fatal – the sport is still mourning the loss of Jules Bianchi, who died from injuries sustained at the 2014 Grand Prix in Japan. Such tragedies are rare in the modern era, with many drivers making millions across a relatively long sporting career.

Field Hockey Player

Despite its increasing popularity since the 2012 Olympics, Field Hockey players are among the lowest earning sportspeople. While more known players, such as John-John Dohmen, a Belgian midfielder, are recognised during big competitions, the average yearly salary for Field Hockey competitors is as small as £18,000 per year. When injuries such as ankle sprains and knee twists are so common, it’s clear that the love of the game is what really drives the players.