The cost of raising a pro

Toggle below to compare the cost of raising various professional athletes against other careers.

Select Professions

  • F1 Driver
  • Boxer
  • Olympic Swimmer
  • Tennis Player
  • Jockey
  • Golfer
  • Soccer
  • Basketball Player
  • American Football
  • Ice Hockey

Select Expenses

  • Training / Exams
  • Equipment
  • Specialist Healthcare
  • Travel

Scroll to see more professions

F1 Driver

Total Cost:

£595k

Avg Salary:

£12m

Formula 1 is a very expensive sport and it requires a lot of luck and money to make it to the top. Karting is the route into competitive driving followed by people such as Lewis Hamilton, but to get to the top youngsters will need around 10 years of training at £50,000 a year, starting around the age of seven. After competing in karting and successfully acquiring the right licences to turn into a professional driver, it'll take millions of pounds of investment to graduate to the highest level of racing. Often that comes from a team if they put you in a talent scheme, but it could take as much as £8,000,000 of your own money to buy your way in.

Training / Exams

  • Karting - £585k
  • Driving School (one day) - £2k
  • Licensing - £310

Equipment

  • Kart (age 7-13) - £3k
  • Kart (age 12-16) - £4k
  • Race suit - £430

Specialist Healthcare

  • Gym membership (per month) - £100
  • Personalised nutrition programme (annual) - £760

Boxer

Total Cost:

£17k

Avg Salary:

£36k

Boxing is a sport that is relatively easy to take up. All you need is membership at a local gym and a knowledgable coach before you can move into low-level fights and work your way up. The hard part is keeping your body in peak physical condition and doing the hard yards in amateur competitions. Joining a boxing club with personal training sessions in London will cost around £15,000 but it can be a long road before you start seeing a significant return on your investment. With each fight, boxers are lucky to break even after paying expenses such as healthcare, paying promoters and booking a venue.

Training / Exams

  • Boxing club and personal training - £16k
  • Pro licence - £1k

Equipment

  • Boxing gloves - £75
  • Punching bag - £250

Specialist Healthcare

  • Full body massage (Per Session) - £60
  • Physio (per week) - £100

Olympic Swimmer

Total Cost:

£45k

Avg Salary:

£15k

It takes at least 10,000 hours of intense training to raise a swimmer to a level where they can compete in the Olympics. The training, specialist equipment and healthcare required can bring the cost of swimming up considerably, making it an expensive profession to get into. There's also often very little reward for contenders unless they attract major sponsors.

Training / Exams

  • Professional coaching (10000 hours) - £27k

Travel

  • Travel and accommodation - £11k

Equipment

  • Swimsuits (one a year) - £200
  • Goggles (one set a year) - £50

Specialist Healthcare

  • Physio (per week) - £100
  • Supplements - £8k
  • Gym membership (per month) - £100

Tennis Player

Total Cost:

£38k

Avg Salary:

£20k

If you want to be a tennis player, you're likely to need significant investment even to reach professional status. Tuition and equipment will add up to around £2,000 a year, but the main expense comes in the teenage years. Andy Murray famously honed his skills at an academy in Barcelona. To attend a similar camp set up by Rafael Nadal - which has already produced several players on the tour - will cost up to £30,000, with flights and travel to international tournaments adding further expense. Money is unevenly distributed in professional tennis, meaning the top stars are likely to earn millions while those ranked outside the top 100 in the world can struggle to break even.

Training / Exams

  • Private tuition (annual) - £2k
  • One year tennis academy - £29k

Travel

  • Flights & accommodation to/from tournaments (annual) - £5k

Equipment

  • Racquet (20 as per source) - £2k
  • Tennis shoes - £200

Specialist Healthcare

  • Physio (per week) - £100
  • Gym membership (per month) - £100

Jockey

Total Cost:

£34k

Avg Salary:

£26k

Not everyone is cut out to be a jockey. It takes a specific build to ride in events such as the Grand National, but the journey to get there isn't as expensive as others. A diploma course at the British School of Racing is free - barring living costs - and while it'll cost around £200 to get the correct licences, it's likely to put you well on the way to achieving professional status with little expense. The main outlay could come for the horse itself, but a rider is likely to be employed by an owner and/or trainer to compete on their behalf, making it more affordable.

Training / Exams

  • Level 1 & 2 Diploma (British Racing School) - £0
  • Professional jockey licence - £250

Travel

  • Travel to/from races (70,000 miles per year) - £15k

Equipment

  • Horse & associated costs (training, supplements, grooming) - £20k

Specialist Healthcare

  • Physio (per week) - £100

Golfer

Total Cost:

£333k

Avg Salary:

£475k

Golf is undoubtedly one of the most expensive sports to take up. There's a lot of money to be won on the PGA Tour, but getting there in the first place will take a lot of sacrifices. It's a sport that is renowned for not being easily accessible to all, and the cost of attending an academy and paying for green fees over a seven-year period can amount to more than £100,000. The travel to and from international tournaments can cost twice as much as that, while upkeep of clubs is also expensive and can often put people off taking up the sport in the first place.

Training / Exams

  • Golf academy (Brent Morrison Golf Academy, three years) - £75k
  • Green fees (Seven years) - £46k

Travel

  • Tournament entry fees (ages 13-18) - £206k

Equipment

  • Golf clubs (five sets, as per source) - £6k

Specialist Healthcare

  • Physio (per week) - £100

Soccer

Total Cost:

£23k

Avg Salary:

£16k

It can be surprisingly expensive to raise a soccer player. It's likely to cost upwards of £10,000 to travel to and from games every week, while professional coaching and trial days are also pricey if a child is not fortunate to be picked up by an academy at an early age. The average wage of a professional player in England stands at £15,875 a week, making an average annual salary of £825,000 making it well worth the investment.

Training / Exams

  • Trial day - £85
  • Academy trial programme (two weeks) - £2k
  • High performance camp (two weeks) - £3k
  • Local team (10 years) - £1k

Travel

  • Travel to training/games (10 years) - £14k

Equipment

  • Team kit (10 years) - £2k
  • Boots (10 years) - £2k

Specialist Healthcare

  • Physio (per month) - £100

Basketball Player

Total Cost:

£13k

Avg Salary:

£5m

Basketball is a hugely popular sport in America, with the average wage for an NBA star just shy of a staggering £5,000,000 per year. A lot of players rely on the collegiate system to further their gameplay to a high level and get noticed which can be costly, while some are offered scholarships to ease the financial burden. There is another way in however, with AAU (Amateur Atheltic Union) basketball programmes offering a more affordable alternative for players looking to progress beyond amateur status - though this will still set you back around £7,500 for six years of membership.

Training / Exams

  • Annual local AAU team membership - £8k

Travel

  • Travel to away games (including accommodation, food & gas) - £4k

Equipment

  • Trainers - £700
  • Basketball kit - £250
  • Ball & hoop - £150

Specialist Healthcare

  • Full body massage (per session) - £60
  • Physio (per week) - £100

American Football

Total Cost:

£29k

Avg Salary:

£2m

American Football also offers the AAU route into professional sport, but if an athlete were to instead choose the more favoured college route, it would set you back around £27,000 for a four-year course, and even more if you factor in college supplies. Training programmes can be found for around £800 but the overall cost leads to athletes seeking scholarships where they can.

Training / Exams

  • Summer college football camp - £100
  • Professional training programme - £765
  • College football - £27k
  • NCAA amateur licence - £0

Equipment

  • Football kit - £390
  • Helmet - £250
  • Football - £85
  • Cleats - £90

Specialist Healthcare

  • Vitamins & supplements (per month) - £190
  • Full body massage (per session) - £60

Ice Hockey

Total Cost:

£25k

Avg Salary:

£2m

For budding ice hockey players, Minor League is the route to the professional game. If players are hoping to make it as a pro in Canada, it can cost around £4,000 a season to play in the Greater Toronto Hockey League. Over a four-year period, together with travel costs, it's likely to take expenses beyond £20,000. Youngsters may be put off by statistics that suggest only one in 1,000 players make it to the NHL, but it's a lucrative industry if you can make it.

Training / Exams

  • Minor league - £18k

Travel

  • Hotels, gas & meals for away tournaments - £5k

Equipment

  • Skates (including upkeep) - £2k

Specialist Healthcare

  • Full body massage (per session) - £60
  • Physio (per week) - £100