The Most Expensive Sports in the World

‘Sitting is the new smoking,’ warn doctors, with researchers suggesting that we need to get at least an hour a day of exercise, if we are to counter the life-shortening effects of the sedentary lifestyle. For most of us, sport is the chosen means of exercise, since it enables us to work towards a goal, work alongside others (in the case of team sports) and partake in adrenalin-charged competition. Not all sports are alike, of course; most (think soccer, basketball and baseball) are easily accessible by all, while some are only enjoyed on the playground of the rich and famous. In case you were wondering what the most expensive sports in the world were, feast your eyes on this list of budget-crunching activities:
  • The Equestrian Arts and Polo: Whether showjumping, riding, or steeple chasing is your thing, prepare big bucks to take part in any sport centred on the beautiful animal that is the horse. Take the sport of polo – most riders have various ponies, which can cost $35,000 or more each. The equipment is expensive too, with saddles costing up to $3,000, boots setting players back around $500 and club fees costing around $8,000 a year. Veterinarians, stables, tack and grooms also make this sport one for the wealthiest. There are other hidden costs, including health and travel insurance. Sports centered around horses are considered higher risk than average sports, so players may need to take out specific coverage, especially when traveling abroad.
  • Formula One Racing: Simply taking part in one Formula One race costs almost $200,000; imagine the total costs for purchasing and maintaining a car, training full-time and traveling the world to take part in the world’s top races. If you’re interested in this sport, you normally need to start young, taking part in go-kart racing. While the latter is more affordable, expenses soon pile up as uniforms, vehicles, membership fees and training becomes more central to the budding pro driver.
  • Sailing: When you are really serious about your sport, you normally need to own all the relevant equipment, though in the case of a sailing vessel, you should be prepared to shell out big bucks – as much as $10 million or more for a boat that will enable you to take part in the world’s top races (such as the America’s Cup). Storage is also expensive, as is transportation of the boat from the storage facility to the water. Sailing is also a time-consuming sport, making it a top choice for the rich and famous with money (and time) to burn.
  • Pentathlon: If you thought practising one sport was expensive, try practicing five! Swimming is pretty affordable, as is running, but fencing, show jumping and pistol shooting require the purchase of expensive equipment (and, in the case of show jumping, at least one horse). Many pentathletes hail from a Pony Club background, so bear in mind the costs of buying and maintaining your horse in tip-top condition, as well as transport of your horse during out-of-town events.
  • Wingsuiting: You may find the inclusion of this sport in our list surprising – after all, don’t you simply have to buy a wingsuit and attend a few classes? Actually, the suit isn’t exactly affordable – it will set you back around $2,500. In addition, training involves skydiving lessons, each of which can cost hundreds of dollars. You will also need to have access to a plane and pay hefty insurance for this sport, considered one of the most dangerous in the world. The sport is said to cost around $35,000 per year to practise.
  • Bobsledding: This sport isn’t exactly popular in areas of the world with warmer climes; in fact, most of us might consider it rare and uninteresting. However, in snow-covered countries, this sport is comparable to Formula One and as is the case with car racing, sponsorship is required to practise the sport, since just one bobsled costs around $30,000. Athletes who practice this sport openly state that it costs around $80,000 per year to compete at a national level. Leasing a bobsled is expensive, as are training sessions and outfits. Add to this the need to travel to compete against other players and you can imagine how the total adds up!
If you thought all these sports were unimaginably expensive, there are sports which are even costlier! These include hot air balloon racing, and taking part the Whitianga Festival of Speed, held annually in New Zealand. This exciting event includes a boat race, jet ski race, rally care vs helicopter racing and much more!