List of Expensive Sports A-Z

List of Expensive Sports

The sporting life has always been expensive. Sports were traditionally viewed as either important ritual ceremonies or exclusive leisure activities reserved solely for the rich aristocracy. In today’s world, sports are much more accessible to people of all backgrounds. However, certain sports remain so costly that the ability to participate in them is truly a luxury.

Some sports are relatively cheap to play casually, at an amateur level, such as soccer, basketball, and tennis. It is only when an athlete attempts to reach elite levels of professional competition that these sports become expensive. For example, coaching and travel cost a professional tennis player around $100,000 per year. Other sports are inherently expensive at any level due to their extravagantly priced gear. Bobsled, wingsuit flying, motorsports, sailing, and air racing all require vehicles costing in the thousands to millions of dollars each. Many sports require a large upfront investment in equipment, such as skiing, golf, and lacrosse. Any sport utilizing horses, such as equestrian, polo, and pentathlon, is expensive due to their high cost of upkeep. 


What are expensive sports?

Expensive sports are those athletic activities that require a relatively large amount of money for participation. Consequently, expensive sports are less affordable to the average person, except as a spectator. Equipment is a major factor in making a sport expensive; these sports require costly gear like aircraft, boats, bespoke automobiles, and specially made competition suits. Some expensive sports, like equestrian and wingsuit flying, have a limited following and appeal. Others, like ice hockey and golf, command massive worldwide audiences. 

Some expensive sports are niche pursuits because of their high cost of entry. Others, like golf and tennis, draw large television audiences. The Masters, one of golf’s premier tournaments, and Wimbledon, one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments, are two of the most-watched sporting events on television. Some expensive sports, like baseball and American football, carry particularly massive participation and viewership rates within the United States. Inclusion in the Olympics adds to the exposure and popularity of some expensive sports, such as ski jumping, bobsledding, modern pentathlon, and equestrian. Other popular expensive sports are automobile racing (and motorsports in general), sailing, and hot air balloon racing.

Are there cheaper alternatives for more expensive sports?

There are many cheaper alternatives to expensive sports. Beyond basic exercise clothes, running and other track and field sports require only a pair of athletic shoes. Simple ball sports like soccer, basketball, and handball only require a single ball among a team, and fields of play and goals can be improvised or accessed for free at public parks. Alternately, some typically expensive sports, like tennis, baseball, and football, can be practiced more cheaply by seeking out free online instruction, used or discounted gear, and free or cheaper public venues.

What contributes to how expensive a sport is?

Equipment, training, and access are the major contributing factors in making a sport expensive. Sailboats used in sailing and aircraft used in air racing can cost several millions of dollars each, and a single Formula 1 race car costs around a million dollars each. Thoroughbred horses cost upwards of $100,000 each, with maintenance costs of $200,000 per year. Many expensive sports, like golf and tennis, require hiring full-time coaches and trainers in order for athletes to reach elite levels. Access requirements, such as charter fees, country club memberships, and tournament entry fees also make sports expensive.