You may be familiar with the impressive salaries that professional football players or basketball players make. That is one of the main reasons why so many young athletes aspire to become the next Tom Brady or LeBron James. But did you know that there is also plenty of money to be made playing lesser-known professional sports? While they may not get the national fame and attention as their fellow athletes in the NBA or NFL, these players make an impressive profit by taking their hobbies to the next level.
Here are six obscure professional sports that feature multi-millionaires as their top players.
Pool has been a popular sport for centuries, enjoyed by people from all walks of life including Kings, presidents, and commoners alike. While many people think of pool being a game that is played at their local bar, it is also a professional sport that has helped make those who love the game thousands of dollars. Mid-level players typically make around $50,000 annually, making the average for all pro pool players right at $30,000 per year. The top professional pool players in the US include Efren Reyes, Earl Strickland, and Jeanette Lee.
Professional dart players are among the highest paid athletes in the world. Phil Taylor, known throughout the industry as “The Power”, has won an amazing 216 professional tournaments, including 84 major titles and 16 world championships. Throughout his career, he has earned an estimated $9,244,644.50 in prize money. How well has your dart game been lately?
You may have thought that the ping pong championship scene in Forrest Gump was simply part of the movie’s offbeat plot. But there actually is an International Table Tennis Federation that hosts an annual Pro Tour Grand Finals Championship. The grand prize for this competition can range from $2,800 up to $33,000. China is home to several table tennis champions including Wang Hao and Ma Long. And for the record, ping pong and table tennis are the same sport.
Professional bowling may be the least obscure of all the sports mentioned here. Many people already know that bowling is taken seriously in the world of sports. But what you may not know is that there are many professional bowlers out there that are multi-millionaires. Bowling star Walter Ray Williams Jr. currently holds the record for the most wins in the history of the Professional Bowling Association with a total of 47 tour wins. Throughout his career, Williams has earned more than $8 million.
Professional anglers are some of the few million dollar athletes that get to enjoy spending time out on the water as they earn their winnings. The popularity of the sport reached its peak in the 1990s and now there are several millionaires in the world of fishing. Kevin VanDam, the three-time winner of the Bassmaster Classic has made more than $4.7 million during his career. Other fishermen such as Skeet Reese and David Dudley have won $2.3 million and $1.7 million respectively.
When you think about professional skateboarders, Tony Hawk usually comes to mind. But there have been several skaters who have made millions doing what they love. Hawk is the highest paid extreme sports athlete, building a $200 million-dollar empire and bringing home $12 million annually off his additional endeavors such as his clothing line and video games. Fellow skateboarder Ryan Sheckler earned $5 million back in 2008 and Paul Rodriguez Jr. earned $2 million in 2016 thanks to skateboarding, his own Nike shoe, and his clothing line.
Now that you know that your favorite pastime could earn you some serious cash, it may be time to brush up on your skills and find out if you have what it takes to take on the pros.