The type of commitment that makes a sports champion, is all-consuming and expensive. That's why private or corporate sponsorship is so important for many elite athletes. Without it, they would be unable to achieve the level of play that they do. From gymnasts, to tennis players, to swimmers, upper level athletes around the world undergo extensive training, testing, and conditioning. Their training regimen alone can cost millions of dollars, and equipment, travel, food, and medical expenses can make their daily lives even more costly. Not every sport is insanely expensive (hackey sack anyone?), but for the ones that are, you better prepared to shell out some serious cash. Here is a quick list of the 10 Most Expensive Sports. Participating in these could easily empty your wallet, and then some.
10. Equestrian Sports
Horseback riding is a dream for many, many children. For those at the top of the sport, which includes dressage, show jumping, and eventing – maintaining and training your horse, traveling to events, and stabling the animal appropriately can cost more than most people make in two years. If you want to focus on equestrian sport of this type, be prepared to fork over the big bucks.
Polo is already viewed as a sport for the elite. The word conjures up images of Abercrombie and Fitch-style men riding around in the English countryside. This is not an entirely inaccurate image. Like our #10 sport, polo requires the purchase of an elite horse, and then requires maintaining, training, and traveling with that horse. Not to mention owning several of these animals, if you are going to have a team. The injury rate is high, as well, so be prepared to pay for medical expenses for both your equine and human players.
8. Formula 1
Any sport that requires you to own a car is going to be expensive. Making it to Formula 1 requires a lifetime commitment that usually starts with racing on the go-kart circuit when you are in elementary school. From there, you graduate to motorcycles, and stock cars, and eventually, hopefully, you make it to Formula 1, where a single tire costs more than the average family sedan. You also need about $190,000 just to enter a competition. Corporate sponsors are a must in the world of Formula 1. Be prepared for high medical costs, as well, as injuries come with the territory.
Sailing seems so tranquil, but at the elite end of the sailing world, it is big business. Sailing itself is not that expensive, but purchasing a high-end boat and the best equipment can run a major price tag. More expensive, is storing the boat and maintaining it when it is not in the water. Since you might only sail it 2-3 months out of the year, the majority of your money will go to keeping it sea-worthy while it is on dry land.
Why incur the expense of one sport, when you can spend your money on five? If you are going to participate in a pentathlon, you will need to have extensive training in fencing, swimming, horseback riding, running, and marksmanship. You will also need a horse, a gun, a fencing foil and suit, and swimming and running gear. Pentathlon competition is not for the faint of heart, or the light of wallet.
The actual wingsuit is surprisingly inexpensive at only $2,500. However, getting into the air, and back to the ground safely, is a whole other ball of wax. Be prepared to pay for skydiving lessons, skydiving gear, your pilot, the plane, insurance, and the list goes on.
Bobsledding is a bit like Formula 1 without the car. You need sponsorship, and you need a vehicle. Elite bobsleds are wonders of science and mechanics, and they are not cheap. Additionally, access to bobsled runs around the world is limited, so it costs money every time you train. Finally, bobsledding is a team sport, so multiple all training and equipment costs by four.
3. Hot Air Balloon Racing
Yep. You can race hot air air balloons. However, you'll need an enhanced balloon designed for higher speeds, with the latest speed and navigational technology built into it. You'll also have to pay for a place to store it, and for exorbitant competition entry fees. Happy ballooning!
2. Ski Jumping
Even skiing for fun can be expensive, so it stands to reason that skiing at the championship level is exponentially so. Ski jumping requires additional special equipment, access to ski jumps, a trainer, and more importantly, a very expensive insurance policy. No one is running out to insure a person who willingly flies down a steep incline at maniacal speeds and then shoots off into the air in an attempt to fly further than the previous person.
1. The Whitianga Festival of Speed
The name says it all. This annual race, held in New Zealand, is constructed around multiple sports that are all about speed. The event includes a helicopter race, an offshore powerboat race, jet ski racing, rally car vs. helicopter racing, and parachute swooping, among other events. Buying and maintaining the equipment for even one of the races will set you back six figures.