How Much Do Snooker Players Earn?

People used to say that being able to play snooker well was the sign of a misspent youth. However, could it also be the passport to fame and fortune as well?

I have always wondered how much money snooker players actually earn and where it comes from, so I decided to do some investigating to find out the answers.

Career Earnings

The first thing I wanted to see is how much a player could earn over their career. The richest snooker player of all time is said to be Scot Stephen Hendry. He has accumulated career earnings of £10 million, while his current net worth is estimated at maybe three times that figure. I can actually remember a fresh-faced young Hendry make his first appearances on the TV, and it is astounding to think how he dominated the sport for so long. He was the number 1 for 8 consecutive years and won the World Championship 7 times. In fact, his career earnings amount appears fairly modest considering how many titles he won over such a long period of time.

Other rich players include Ronnie O’Sullivan (£8 million career earnings), John Higgins (£5.5 million) and Steve Davis (£6 million). Most of the big name players have all added to their career earnings through investments, TV work and other ventures during their career and after retirement.

Younger players such as Judd Trump are obviously still building up a healthy list of career earnings. Trump gave an interview a few years ago in which he complained about snooker players not earning as much other top sportspeople. He claimed that those players in the top 300 to 400 earn about half a million pounds a year, while further down the list the money is “peanuts”. His list of earnings from the 2014-15 season shows a total of over £400,000, so the figures he mentioned seem to be pretty spot on.

Another big name player right now is Neil Robertson. He has won about a million pounds in career earnings up until now, being one of a select band of millionaire snooker players who have achieved this high level of earnings. Mark Selby, John Higgins and Matthew Stevens are a few others on that list. The fact that snooker players tend to have relatively long careers can help them to build up a lot of money if they remain consistently at the top of the rankings.

How Much Does a Tournament Pay?

The World Snooker Championship is something I grew up watching, back in the days when Ray Reardon, Cliff Thorburn and Alex Higgins graced The Crucible. These days, the tournament has a total prize fund of £1,364.000. The overall winner gets a very handsome cheque for £300,000. Runner up gets £125,000 and the semi-finalists get £60,000. Even just getting to the last 80 gets you a prize of £6,000. Other prizes include £10,000 for the televised highest break and £1,000 for the non-televised highest break.

Is It Worth It?

It is no secret that becoming a professional snooker player requires an astonishing level of dedication, even if you have a natural talent for potting the balls. Can you imagine spending endless hours on your own, bashing the balls about the table day after day? If you can then it is time to think about the financial and practical side of things.

As we have seen, you can earn very well if you get high up on the list of the top players, but the potential earnings drop off quite rapidly after that. The good news is that becoming a pro and giving the career a try isn’t all that expensive. First of all you need to be good enough to qualify for the tour, of course.

After this, the entry fees for tournaments and tours are typically modest, although travelling costs and hotel bills could be a far bigger burden. As in most sports, finding a sponsor to help cover the basic costs is pretty much essential for most people at the start.

Would you like to try and become a professional snooker player?

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