The world of sports is one of the most lucrative industries worldwide, generating billions upon billions in revenues across every continent on the planet. But there are a few sports leagues that stand head and shoulders above the rest. Through merchandising, ticket sales, illustrious ad campaigns, and players that pique fan interest to generate more buying power, these leagues are a hot commodity and their stock continues to rise.
1. National Football League (NFL)
Revenue (2017): $11.3B
The most popular sport in America is also the biggest earner of all leagues worldwide. The NFL generated in 2017 more than $11 Billion through ticket sales and lucrative deals of broadcast rights, merchandising and licensing rights. The Superbowl is the most watched television event in the US and generates tens of millions to the league and the teams participating in it in just one night.
2. Major League Baseball (MLB)
Revenue (2018): $8.9B
Noted for being one of the most diverse and inclusive leagues in the world, the biggest sports stars in the world come from this league, and they have generated interest that spans generations and continents.
3. National Basketball Association (NBA)
Revenue (2017-2018): $6.3B
Basketball is quickly gaining traction as one of the bigger and most popular sports worldwide and the reason for this is because of the history of the sport with players from all around the world representing their countries in the American based league.
4. Premier League
Revenue (2016-2017): $5.3B
Football (soccer) is still the biggest sport in the world, so it is only natural that the Premier League, one of the most popular European football leagues, make one the top spots. As Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, and Chelsea remain popular within the country and abroad, the league generates billions upon billion of dollars internationally for their owners.
5. National Hockey League (NHL)
Revenue (2017-2018): $4.1B
As the biggest hockey league in the world, the United States based hockey league boasts some of the biggest players in the world, and includes a few Canadian teams thrown into the mix too for added measure. The league makes its income from broadcasting rights, merchandising and various sponsorships.
Revenue (2017-2018): $3.8B
The second European football league on this list, the German league includes Bayern Munich as one of the most famous teams worldwide. Popular players include Thomas Mueller, Marco Reus, Robert Lewandoswki, and Manuel Neuer, who have made names internationally for their playing and lucrative sports contracts and commercials.
7. La Liga
Revenue (2016-2017): $3.4B
Another lucrative football league is the Spanish La Liga, which has three of the biggest teams in the world in Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, and Barcelona. Popular players playing in La Liga include Lionel Messi, Iniesta, Marcelo, Modric and many others.
8. Serie A
Revenue (2016-2017): $2.3B
Another financial giant is the Italian football league. Serie A is huge in Italy and also has many fans worldwide. Juventus, Milan and Internazionale are the leading teams in the league. After landing Christiano Ronaldo the revenue of the popular league are only expected to grow.
9. Formula One
Revenue (2017): $1.8B
That Formula One made the list may shock many that are unfamiliar with the league, but for those that are in the know, it doesn’t because it is popular within certain circles, and the money it generates outshines NASCAR in America in several ways.
10. Nippon Professional Baseball
Revenue (2012): $1.3B
As one of the most closely followed sports in the world it is only fitting that the Japanese league make the list, with several Major League Baseball players claiming roots in Japan, including Ichiro Suzuki, Shohei Ohtani, and Hideki Matsui.