What is the income of a professional tennis player?
How much money does a professional tennis player need to make compared to a MBA student. Mass media have brought large audiences to the sport, but how good must a professional really be to make a good living out of it?
Players that don’t make it past 100 or so really don’t make any money, but first let’s define the level of income in comparison to a person with a MBA degree of a “good to higher” university. This person may make 120 to 150 K from the age of let say 25 to 65. Total income until retirement is let say 5 million. The average professional tennis player will start at let say 20 and retire at the age of 30. So to make the same as the MBA student the tennis professional needs to make 500 K plus tennis related cost. A tennis professional needs to travel and needs to pay most costs.
OK what are the average costs that a tennis professional has to cover? First you need to have a part time coach that will cost an average of $500 per week (every professional would love to have a full time coach, but it is just too expensive), so yearly cost 24 K.
Let’s assume, that the tennis professional travels to 20 tournaments a year and each tournament cost an average of $ 2,000 for a ticket, rental car, etc. Total travel cost per year 40 K.
Tennis equipment for shoes, racket, strings and stringing is around 3 K per year. Fitness, massage, extra medical treatments and health insurance is around 20 K.
So the total cost per year is ~ 87K and a tennis pro needs to make a minimum of 200 K to make a living. To make this the tennis pro needs to be ranked in the top 100. Compared to the MBA student the tennis pro is still losing. In order to match the total income of the MBA student the tennis pro needs to make an average of 587 K per year and be ranked in the top 30 in the world.
So why are so many players working on reaching the professional ranks? If you love to play you don’t ask how much money you can squeeze out of it, you just do it for the love of the sport. If you just look at the money, is it a good investment compared to the MBA student? The “education” to become a tennis pro cost an average of 400 K, from the age of 4 to 20 years. After that we assume the tennis pro is able to cover the running costs with the prize money. An excellent Harvard University education costs ~ 65 K per year and 90 K per year for the MBA.
Again just looking at the cost benefit comparison, if you can get a free ride with a tennis scholarship you may win if you can get into one of the top 10 American Universities. If you don’t just save your money, the average American University is between 15 K and 25 K per year and the “education” of a tennis pro costs way more. Just one little draw back, the Ivy League universities are not offering an athletic scholarship.
If you can squeeze out a good tennis player for under 70 K total cost, you may win with a tennis scholarship at an average American University. Otherwise, just don’t even think about looking at tennis as an investment. What is the best, if Dad is paying.