How Much Do Badminton Players Earn? | Paddle2Racket

Badminton is a widely loved sport but there is a doubt whether badminton is as high paying as it is thought to be.

Sports are usually considered extremely lucrative but it is not always the case. There are some sports that do not pay very highly, compared to others.

So, you might probably be wondering how much badminton players earn. Depending on where you are located, professional badminton players can either earn a lot or very little. Their earnings can be anywhere between $400,000 to $5.5 million.

There are several reasons why there is a difference in earnings in badminton based on geography. We will look at all these reasons along with the earnings of both male and female badminton players.

As an experienced badminton player, I have often considered the option to make it a career. However, based on the advice of my fellow badminton players and the research we did together, I have had to change my mind.

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How Much Do Professional Badminton Players Earn?

Badminton is not a very popular sport in the United States, but it is extremely popular in Asia. In 2015, Lin Dan, a Chinese professional badminton player, was ranked as the world's highest-paid badminton player by Forbes. He earned an estimated $5.5 million in endorsements and prize money that year.

In contrast, most professional badminton players in the United States earn very little money from the sport. In fact, many of them have to supplement their earnings with other jobs just to make ends meet.

Despite the low earnings of most professional badminton players in the United States, there are still some who make a decent living from the sport. These players typically earn their income from a combination of prize money, sponsorships, and coaching fees.

For example, Howard Bach, a former Olympic gold medalist in badminton, now earns most of his income from coaching fees.

Highest Earning Male Badminton Players

  • Lin Dan – $5.5 million
  • Lee Chong Wei – $5.4 million
  • Chen Long – $5.2 million
  • Saina Nehwal – $2.5 million
  • PV Sindhu – $1.6 million
  • Taufik Hidayat – $1.4 million
  • Kidambi Srikanth – $800,000
  • Viktor Axelsen – $700,000
  • Parupalli Kashyap – $600,000

Highest Earning Female Badminton Players

  • Carolina Marin – $560,000
  • Li Xuerui – $500,000
  • Wang Yihan – $400,000
  • Saina Nehwal – $2.5 million
  • PV Sindhu – $1.6 million
  • Tai Tzu Ying – $1 million
  • Nozomi Okuhara – $800,000
  • Sung Ji Hyun – $700,000
  • He Bingjiao – $600,000
  • Akane Yamaguchi– $570,000

Is a Professional Badminton Player a Lucrative Option?

Based on the earnings of the world's highest-paid badminton players, it is clear that the sport can be quite lucrative for those who are at the top of their game. However, for most professional badminton players, the sport is not a very high-paying option.

In fact, many of them have to supplement their earnings with other jobs just to make ends meet. If you are considering becoming a professional badminton player, you should be aware that it is not a guarantee of financial success.

Governing Body of Badminton

The Badminton World Federation (BWF) is the international governing body for badminton. It was founded in 1934 with nine member nations. As of 2018, it has 176 member nations. The BWF's headquarters are in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The BWF organizes several international competitions, including the Thomas Cup, the Uber Cup, the Sudirman Cup, and the BWF World Championships. The BWF also regulates the sport of badminton at the Olympic Games.

Badminton was first included in the Olympic Games as a demonstration sport at the 1972 Games in Munich. It became an official sport at the 1992 Games in Barcelona. Since then, it has been included in every Summer Olympic Games.

As of 2018, China is the most successful nation in Olympic badminton, with a total of 12 medals (4 gold, 5 silver, and 3 bronze). Indonesia is second with 9 medals (2 gold, 4 silver, and 3 bronze), followed by Denmark with 6 medals (1 gold, 1 silver, and 4 bronze). The United States has won a total of 2 medals: one silver medal and one bronze medal.

Badminton World Tours

The BWF World Tour is a circuit of international tournaments that are organized by the Badminton World Federation. The tour was launched in 2007 with 12 tournaments. As of 2018, it has grown to 29 tournaments.

Levels of BWF World Tour

The BWF World Tour features three levels of tournaments: Super 1000, Super 750, and Super 500. The top-level Super 1000 consists of only four tournaments: the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals, the All England Open Badminton Championships, the Indonesia Open, and the China Open.

The second level of the tournament on the BWF World Tour is Super750. There were 7 Super750 tournaments on the 2018 BWF World Tour calendar. These tournaments have a total prize money pool of US$1 million.

The third and final level of the tournament on the BWF World Tour is Super500. There were 18 Super500 tournaments on the 2018 BWF World Tour calendar. These tournaments have a total prize money pool of US$750,000.

BWF Grand Prix Gold and Grand Prix

The BWF Grand Prix is divided into two separate levels, the Grand Prix and the Grand Prix Gold. At both levels, there are different tournaments for badminton which are organized by the Badminton World Federation (BWF). These tournaments have been held since 2007.

Grand Prix Gold tournaments have minimum prize money of US$120,000 per event, while Grand Prix tournaments have minimum prize money of US$50,000 per event. There are currently 12 Grand Prix Gold and 24 Grand Prix tournaments on the BWF World Tour calendar.

BWF International Challenge/Series

The BWF International Challenge, formerly known as the IBF International Challenge until 2006, is a badminton tournament managed by the Badminton World Federation (BWF).

The tournament was first held in 1977. It was originally called the IBF International Championships. It was renamed IBF International Challenge in 1991. In 2007, it was renamed again to its current name of BWF International Challenge.

There are currently 8 BWF International Challenge tournaments on the BWF World Tour calendar. These tournaments have a total prize money pool of US$50,000 per event.

Factors Affecting the Earnings of Professional Badminton Players

There are a few factors that can affect the earnings of professional badminton players. The level of the tournament, the prize money of the tournament, and the player's ranking can all affect how much a player earns.

The level of the tournament refers to the BWF World Tour levels discussed earlier. The higher the level of the tournament, the higher the prize money. Therefore, players who compete in Super 1000 tournaments will earn more than players who compete in Super 500 tournaments.

The prize money of the tournament is also a factor that affects earnings. The bigger the prize money pool, the more money there is to be earned by the players. The player's ranking is another factor that affects earnings. The higher a player's ranking, the more likely they are to be invited to compete in higher-level tournaments with bigger prize money pools.

Comparison of Badminton Earnings with Other Sports

Badminton earnings are relatively low when compared to other sports. For example, tennis players can earn millions of dollars in prize money and endorsements. The top badminton players in the world make a fraction of what the top tennis players in the world make.

This is due to a number of factors. Badminton is not as popular as other sports such as tennis, football, or basketball. Badminton also does not have the same global appeal as other sports; consequently, there are fewer sponsors and endorsement opportunities for badminton players.

Lower Tiered Badminton Players

While the earnings of the top badminton players in the world are relatively low, the earnings of lower-tiered players are even lower. Players who compete in BWF International Challenge and BWF International Series tournaments earn very little prize money.

These tournaments have prize money pools of US$50,000 and US$25,000, respectively. The winner of these tournaments only takes home a fraction of the prize money. The majority of the prize money goes to the higher-ranked players who reach the later rounds of the tournament.

As a result, lower-tiered players often have to supplement their income with other jobs. Many players rely on their family or friends for financial support. Some players even have to take up coaching jobs to earn a living.


Michael Stevens

Michael Stevens

Since initially playing at the collegiate level, I have amassed several decades of experience playing racquetball, tennis, and pickleball. I have played thousands of matches and games, and won medals and awards in multiple tourantments. I am constantly improving my game and enjoy mentoring and coaching other players in strategy and technique. I have authored dozens of articles on the sport.

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