How much do professional volleyball players make?

While the salaries of top football and basketball players routinely make the headlines, other popular sports like volleyball have a more niche fanbase. So if you’re a fan or player of the sport you may be wondering,

Like most jobs, the exact salary amount varies depending on the player’s skill, league, team, and state. However, there are average bars for each level as well as a ceiling and those who rise to the very top of the proverbial volleyball pyramid

While volleyball may not have the same glamour that other spectator sports such as football and basketball do, its players can make stable incomes along with a variety of additional benefits. Those looking to pursue a career in the sport will need to put in a lot of hard work and commitment but are guaranteed decent annual incomes at a professional level.

This article will guide you through the lesser-known world of volleyball, particularly the earning aspects of professional players. If you are a young volleyball player who is playing the sport in their school or college looking to pursue a professional career, this article will help you understand the financial aspect of the sport. 

What factors influence a player’s salary?

A variety of factors influence the yearly incomes of volleyball players across the globe. The experience, number of wins, team, and even country bring about variations in the earnings of these players. 

Salaries for professional volleyball players are dictated by “purse”. This refers to a certain amount of prize money players must win in various tournaments to earn an income. As a result, players must continue to perform at a high level, consistently, and prove their continued commitment to the sport. 

In the case of European leagues and teams, professional volleyball players sign contracts for fixed periods. The compensation can range from a few hundred dollars to as much as $10,000 a month. The trick here is to prove your value on the court so credible teams approach you and then negotiate a solid deal. 

What are the different avenues for a volleyball player’s income?

How much do professional volleyball players make?

Asides from a fixed income, players who win tournaments are also rewarded prize money. This prize money can come through the tournament itself or through secondary and tertiary means such as the volleyball association of the country they are playing for.

Additionally, volleyball players can supplement their fixed incomes through endorsements and sponsorships. Popular or well-known volleyball players can get brand deals from various companies and organizations that can help boost their yearly earnings. This is standard practice in the sports field and if you reach a certain level you’ll have plenty of opportunities to work with businesses looking to sell their products.

Professional players with consistent wins in matches are often offered lucrative brand deals and endorsements. Contrary to popular belief volleyball players make up some of the richest professional sportsmen. 

An example of this is Jose Cuervo, a liquor brand that launched a beach volleyball series in 2011, offering a prize purse of $500,000 over the three events that took place. Subsequent winning teams not only received prize money but further sponsorship opportunities. Competing in tournaments that offer large cash prizes is a great way for players to supplement their income. 

How much does the average volleyball player make?

As in every profession, there are highs and lows. Certain players set themselves apart as the best in their league and naturally make a lot of money. And while that is always the goal to aspire to you may be wondering how much do professional volleyball players make on average?

Professional volleyball players are rewarded based on a variety of factors such as performance and wins made by players or teams. The average salary for a professional volleyball player in the US is around $64,000, though this is by no means a standard wage. A large gap exists between the top and bottom 10% of volleyball players.

Players on the lower end of the scale make around $20,000 with the middle 50 percent making an average of $28,400 and the top 75 percent making $187,200. 

Whilst volleyball may not have as much of a commercial or widespread fan base as other spectator sports such as basketball and football too, its players manage to earn decent salaries. Their compensation also includes paid opportunities to travel around the world owing to different tournaments that take place internationally. 

However, the method by which volleyball players make their income varies from country to country. European players are given fixed monthly salaries, whereas the earnings of American players its more dependent on the matches and tournaments that they win.

How much do the top players make?

Like any competitive sport, the players who perform the best are rewarded generously, professional volleyball players being no different. 

The gap between the salaries of professional male and female players is very little in volleyball. The earnings of top-notch female volleyball players start from $400,000 annually. Whereas the very best can make over a million-dollar annual income.

Similarly, professional male volleyball players also have a base earning which is topped by benefits, extra earnings coming from tournament winnings, and seasonal earnings. 

Top Earning Male Volleyball Players

Here are the top 6 highest-paid players internationally, their accolades, and the teams they play for:

  1. Cuban volleyball player, Wilfredo Leon takes the crown of being the highest-paid player in the sport, with a net worth of a whopping $1.4 million. His great performances and unmatched skill on the court earned him fame and success within the volleyball circuit. Currently residing in Poland, Leon plays for Zenit Kazan. 
  2. Earvin Ngapeth comes second after Wilfred Leon as the highest-paid volleyball player in the world. The French player has an annual income of $1.35 million. His remarkable skill in the sport helped win his country the European championship title.
  3. Third on the list is Bartosz Kurek, a polish volleyball player currently playing with a Turkish Club. His skills and talent in volleyball earned him a spot to compete in the 2012 and 2016 Olympic games. Kurek also won a gold medal in the European Volleyball Championship in 2009 and 2012. His annual income is $1.1 million 
  4. Simon Roberylandy is a Cuban player renowned for his remarkable blocking skills on the court. He earns an annual income of $967,000 and was the recipient of an individual award at the 2009 World Grand Champions cup.
  5. Russian player Dmitry Muserskiy, with an annual income of $950,000 has won gold at the 2012 Olympics. His astounding skill was seen in the final against Brazil, where Muserskiy’s powerful spikes helped his team secure their victory.
  6. Aleksandar Atanasijevic is one of the world’s best young spikers and an overall phenomenal volleyball player. The Serbian sportsman earns $920,000 annually having played for several clubs throughout his career. His skill in the sport earned him a spot to compete in the 2012 Olympics.

Top Earning Female Volleyball Players

Female Volleyball players are no less formidable than their male counterparts and earn themselves generous compensations. Here are 6 of the top-earning volleyball players:

  1. Top of the list is Gabrielle Reece. The multi-talented individual is not just a skilled volleyball player but also a model, actress, and sports announcer. Her many professions earn her $1.8 million annually. 
  2. Earning $1.4 annually one of the tallest volleyball players Yekaterina Gamova comes second in the list of formidable sportswomen. 
  3. Sheilla Castro is a Brazilian volleyball player with many accolades to her name. She has won several gold medals for her national team and earns a yearly income of $1.6 million.
  4. Having won the award of the most valuable player, the Russian spiker Tatiana Kosheleva has earned her name in the volleyball circuit. Her unmatched skill and talent on the court make her an annual income of $1,000,000.
  5. Logan Tom is a successful volleyball player who plays on both the inside and outside courts. Her current annual income is around $1,000,000.
  6. Jordan Laron is one of the most successful and talented volleyball players America has ever seen. Her abilities on the court make her a yearly salary of $1,000,000.

Conclusion

If you’re someone who loves volleyball and wants to pursue it professionally you do not need to worry about the financial aspect of the game. Even though you want to know how much do professional volleyball players make? Those willing to give the sport their best are duly compensated above and beyond what the general public might expect. Besides a fixed income, players travel to different countries, access state-of-the-art training facilities, and have access to unlimited opportunities, all while pursuing their passion. 
That said, a wide range of pay scales exist and your income bracket depends on several factors, including your skill level, as well as, the country and association you are playing for. With the increasing popularity of the sport, more attention from the general public is to be expected towards it in the future. The next generation of players can expect even more opportunities to earn from volleyball on local, national, and international levels.