Have you ever wondered how much money high jumpers make in their career and wondered whether it can be pursued as a profession? Many track and field athletes struggle to earn an income from the sport and are driven by their will to achieve ‘Olympic glory’ rather than pursuing financial gain. Even those athletes that do perform at the top level only make enough to get by with the main exception going to sprinters.
High jumpers struggle to get any media time even at international events let alone a large share of the profits. Even though it is an event that is a spectacle to watch, many athletics organisers oversee this and as a result, it impacts the earning potential for high jumpers.
Depending on the country you are in, you can earn financial support from development organisations or sponsors. To pursue high jump as a profession, you will need to earn a minimum of $20,000 USD. This is just enough income to support you with your training, coaching and competitions.
Most ‘normal professions’ require people to earn anywhere from $40-100,000 USD a year, which can be a difficult goal to achieve as a high jumper. That being said, it isn’t impossible.
Here are a few tips that you should consider if you want to pursue high jumping as a profession.
Keep on winning.
Michael Johnson, who was the former 200m and 400m world record holder said that in order to be financially successful in athletics, you had to keep on winning. This means winning all of the local, national and international competitions. This will position you as a branded athlete who is a winner and a champion. People and businesses will be prepared to invest in people that they see as winners. If you aren’t winning, then you need to show potential. Although it is unlikely that you will be able to win over people to invest in you financially.
Build an audience.
This is the most important factor for you as an athlete. People and businesses want to invest in athletes who command an audience and that can promote and endorse their products or services in exchange for a profit.
You will need to build a following of at least 10,000 people who will follow your high jumping performance. So build a following on your Facebook fan page, YouTube channel, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and any other relevant social media platform.
You will be able to leverage this audience to secure deals with sponsors such as sports apparel and nutrition companies.
Aim to work with businesses in a niche.
Everyone wants to work with big brands like Nike and Adidas, but it is probably in your best interest to work with local businesses and sponsors who can provide you with the financial support for you to accomplish your athletics goals.
Look for assistance from local governments, schools and businesses who are prepared to offer financial assistance. You can also help promote them locally by featuring in the local media.
Support yourself with a flexible job.
There are some companies that will allow you to work flexible hours so that you can pursue your athletic endeavours. You don’t want to do a job that is physically draining, otherwise you won’t be able to excel in your training and it will have an affect on your athletic performance.
You can pursue flexible roles, such as administration, writing or virtual assistant jobs which will provide you with a sufficient annual salary, while giving you enough time to pursue your athletics goals.
Participate in competitions that provide prize money or appearance fees.
This doesn’t usually happen until you reach the elite level in athletics. You will only get paid if you win your event and the appearance fee depends on how much of a crowd you can draw in. This is why it is important to maximise your following. If you have 5,000 people that are prepared to watch you jump in any city and the tickets for the event cost $10, the event will make $50,000 because of your appearance. As a result, you can easily charge $5,000-10,000 for making an appearance.
At the elite competitions such as the Diamond League, World Championships or Olympics, you can collect a ‘winners fee’ for your performance in the event. The fee at the top events can range from $50,000-100,000 in prize money.
Sell products or coaching.
You can also make a good living as an athletics coach or by selling information products. You can create a dedicated high jump squad and have them pay a monthly fee. For example, a monthly fee of $80 and you have a training squad of 20 athletes. You will earn $1600 per month. Over the year, this will give you $19,200, which will provide you with the basic amount to pursue your athletics endeavours.
For selling information, you can conduct specialist webinars, coaching clinics, ebooks, training guides and even training regimes.
Few athletes make over a million dollars, with many of the elite sprinters having contracts worth a few hundred thousand dollars. However, most athletes struggle to make over $5,000 a year from athletics.
You can have a different success story by setting yourself up to earn a professional-level income while pursuing your high jumping dream.
If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments section below. Thanks for reading.