We all know footballers can earn some serious cash and are often jetting around town in their luxury sports cars, decked out in designer clothes before heading home to their mansions. But are these professional footballers more cashed up then their rugby playing cousins? Let’s find out!
Do Footballers Earn More Than Rugby Players?
Footballers earn on average nearly 20 times more than rugby players. The average EPL salary is $3,000,000 while the average Rugby premiership salary is just $160,000. The highest paid footballer, Ronaldo earns $35.6 million while the top rugby player, Pollard earns $1.3 million.
Nobody can argue with the facts, footballers earn way more than rugby players that it isn’t even a fair comparison. There are only a hand few of rugby players around the entire world who are able to crack the 7 figure salary mark whereas there are thousands of footballers around the world pulling in millions.
Now of course just because footballers are paid more than rugby players that doesn’t mean they are superior athletes or that rugby is some minor sport. In the next section we will break down why footballer players are able to command such huge salaries.
Why Do Football Players Earn More Than Rugby Players?
Football players earn more than rugby players because football is a much more popular sport than rugby. Due to the higher levels of popularity football clubs sell more tickets, sign bigger sponsorship and TV rights deals than rugby clubs which translates into higher salaries.
The EPL is watched by 4.7 billion people around the world every year and the average match is viewed by 1.9 million people in the UK. In comparison the rugby premiership recorded an average viewership of just 120,000 and a season total viewership of 7.88 million.
If you were a sponsor who would you pay more to a football club who’s matches are going to be watched by 1.9 million Brits every week or a rugby club who might get 120,000 if they were lucky? The answer is obvious!
Major companies are willing to throw millions of dollars in sponsorship money at football clubs because they know their products, services and brand will be seen literally around the world and be recognized by billions of people. With all this extra cash football clubs are able to pour millions and millions of dollars into footballers’ salaries.
Another reason that footballers are paid more than rugby players is because the top football clubs are all owned by multi billionaires who are obsessed with winning. To ensure their clubs perform well they are willing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on salaries even if they end up losing lots of money.
Football club owners are able to spend as much as they want on salaries because most major football leagues do not have salary caps. This is in stark contrast to rugby leagues where there are very tight and closely regulated salary caps which limit the amount players can earn.
For example in the Rugby Premiership each team must stick to a salary cap for the whole roster of $6.7 million which may seem like a lot but there are numerous individual players in the EPL who are making that and more. If rugby removed the salary cap, rugby salaries would increase but due to the lack of TV rights and sponsorship money the salaries would still be much lower than what footballers make.
How Much Does An Average Rugby Player Earn?
The average rugby player earns $100,000 to $200,000 per year. The top professional rugby players who represent their countries earn between $500,000 and $800,000 per year.
Rugby players who play in top professional leagues on average earn over $100,000 per year. Rugby salaries can vary greatly with star players earning as much as $1 million per year.
A rugby player’s salary depends on their popularity, their skill, current form, age and whether or not they represent their country. The highest paid rugby players are able to draw in fans and have incredibly high levels of skill.
While the average professional rugby player may only make between $100,00 to $200,000 per year from their official club salary they can significantly boost their earnings through sponsorship deals. With the rise of Instagram more and more rugby players are supplementing their club wages by signing sponsorship deals and becoming social media influencers.
For example Sonny Bill Williams has 1 million followers on Instagram which he uses to boost his income by hundreds of thousands of dollars each year!
Do Rugby Players Make Good Money?
Rugby players do make good money with the average professional earning $160,000 per year and the star players taking home $1 million per year. With the average salary in the UK being $42,000 and and in the US being $50,000, pro rugby players earn 3 to 4 times as much as the average person.
Most rugby players may not be balling out of control like many EPL footballers but they still earn salaries which are way higher than the average person. Due to their high salaries they are able to live comfortable upper middle class lives and enjoy owning a couple of luxury cars, a nice home, a few investment properties and of course a healthy stock portfolio.
While rugby players won’t be flying private and booking out private islands they still can afford to fly business class and stay in 5 star hotels as they go on frequent international holidays! So while many rugby players are broke compared to footballers they can still afford to live a great lifestyle that many could only dream of!
Wrapping Things Up
The evidence is clear footballers make on average 20 times more than rugby players and the gap in salaries isn’t looking like it will close anytime soon. The disparity in footballer salaries and rugby player salaries is due to football being far more popular and attracting much higher TV rights and sponsorship deals. Footballers also don’t have to worry about a salary cap which limits the amount rugby players can be paid.