How Much Does A Tennis Chair Umpire Make?

How Much Does A Tennis Chair Umpire Make

Tennis chair umpires have perhaps one of the most stressful referee jobs in all of sports. They are the ones who have to decide the match’s controversial points and are often seen getting into spats with the players on the court. Read on to learn the different types and levels of chair umpires and how much a tennis chair umpire can make.

Types of Tennis Chair Umpire

There are two types of umpires at tennis matches: chair umpires and line umpires. Line umpires stand at the baseline and assist the chair umpire in calling points. The chair umpire has the final say over points. You’ll see them sitting in the tall chair in the middle of the court. They announce points, address the crowd, and even have the authority to penalize players. 

Badge Level

Tennis chair officials are divided into three different badge levels based on experience and expertise. Those who wish to become umpires first need to pass a baseline certification process known as the L3. Passing the baseline certification process will result in the umpire being awarded the bronze badge.

The next badge is silver, which can only be earned after the umpire has accumulated enough experience in match officiating. Gold badges are awarded after an umpire has years of experience and demonstrated certain officiating skills

Chair umpires are up for an annual performance review conducted by the ITF (International Tennis Federation), WTA (Women’s Tennis Association), and ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals). However, moving on from one level to the next can still take a lot of time. For example, it took Greek chair umpire Eva Asderaki four years to go from a bronze to a silver badge.

There are currently just 33 chair umpires who have a gold badge. These umpires officiate every Grand Slam match from the quarterfinals to the finals.

ATP Chair Umpire Salary

A chair umpire will get paid more depending on their badge level, and the payout also depends heavily on the event. For example, a chair umpire on the ATP Tour earns $1,000 to $1,500 per week. Over a year, assuming the umpire works international tournaments like the Davis Cup as well, they can expect to bring in $72,000 to $84,000 annually. However, the highest-paid ATP chair umpires can make well over this amount, up to around $485,000.

Chair umpires working at Grand Slam matches can expect to earn about $3,700 per match. Grand Slam final matches are worth the most, however, and chair umpires usually earn $6,200 for officiating these.

WTA Chair Umpire Salary

Unfortunately, there is a huge pay discrepancy between male and female umpires. Female umpires will typically earn half the salary that a male chair umpire does in any given year. 

The highest-paid WTA chair umpire can make a salary of around $280,000, about half the salary of the highest-paid ATP umpire. Similarly, the most a female chair umpire can expect for a single match is around $925 and around $2,875 for a Grand Slam match, which is almost $1,000 less than their male counterparts.


How much do tennis chair umpires make on average?

On average, tennis chair umpires can expect to make $72,000 to $84,000 per year. This applies to the chair umpires you’ll see regularly covering matches on the ATP Tour. Chair umpires who cover the big Grand Slam matches can make a lot more. Female chair umpires, however, make a lot less than this. They make half the yearly salary that their male counterparts do, even if they both have the same badge level.

Is a tennis chair umpire a good career?

Becoming a tennis chair umpire can be a good career if you make it big. If you dedicate a lot of time to learning how to officiate and referee a lot of games, it is possible for someone to get a gold badge. Gold badge chair umpires earn the highest amount of money. Bronze or silver chair umpires usually don’t make enough money for it to be a long-lasting and valuable career.