Ranking Working Conditions: Which Sport Enjoys the Best?

Publish Date: 16/04/2024
Fact checked by: Mike McKean

Professional athletes have always been admired for their dedication and talent on the field, but also because of the glamorous lifestyle, as many think. However, behind the glitz and glamour of the sports world, there lies a reality of grueling working conditions, long hours, and uncertain career paths, a study conducted by Betting finds.

Our study reveals that Formula 1 drivers enjoy the best working conditions in terms of average salary among all European professional athletes. Following closely in second place are football players from the Premier League, with basketball EuroLeague players taking third.

Premier League

One of the most high-profile sports in Europe is football, particularly the Premier League. Professional footballers in this league can earn anywhere from £42,500 to over £170,000 (50,000 - 200,000 EUR) on average per month. Despite the high salaries, these athletes work an average of 20-30 hours per week, including training, fitness sessions, and match preparation. They are also entitled to around 4 to 6 weeks of paid vacation per year.


Basketball players in the EuroLeague also face demanding work schedules. They earn between £17,000 - £85,000 ( 20,000 - 100,000 EUR) on average per month and work similar hours to footballers, with practices, game preparation, and travel taking up the bulk of their time. Like footballers, they also enjoy 4 to 6 weeks of paid vacation annually.


Rugby players in European leagues have similar working conditions, with average monthly salaries ranging from £4,250 to £17,000 (5,000 - 20,000 EUR). They dedicate 20-30 hours per week to training sessions, physical conditioning, and match play. Paid vacation days are typically 4 to 6 weeks per year.

Formula 1

Formula 1 drivers, on the other hand, have a different set of working conditions. With average monthly salaries exceeding £850,000 (1 million EUR), these elite athletes have varying weekly working hours based on race schedules and travel demands. They also receive around 4 to 6 weeks of paid vacation during the offseason.

Handball, cricket, hockey…

Handball players in the EHF Champions League, cricket players in European leagues, ice hockey players in the KHL and European leagues, and cyclists in professional tours all have similar working conditions to their counterparts in other sports. They earn varying salaries, work 20-30 hours per week on training, practice, and game preparation, and enjoy 4 to 6 weeks of paid vacation each year.

Away from home

Behind the numbers lie the demanding realities of short career spans, extensive travel schedules that keep them away from home, and the constant pressure to perform at peak levels. Extensive travel and frequent periods away from home can contribute to higher levels of stress and decreased well-being among professional athletes.

They often experience disruptions in their sleep patterns. Also, athletes who travel frequently may face performance challenges due to the cumulative effects of travel-related stressors. The disruption of training routines and nutritional habits, coupled with jet lag and time zone adjustments, can impact athletic performance negatively.

Short career span

The typical career span of a professional athlete is relatively short compared to other professions.They often experience a drastic reduction in income upon retirement. Many athletes earn substantial salaries during their playing careers but may not adequately plan or save for the future, assuming their high earnings will continue indefinitely. Additionally, many retired athletes face high healthcare expenses, especially due to injuries from sports or long-term health problems.


For our study, we gathered information about professional athletes' working conditions by carefully checking official websites of sports leagues and organizations. This included collecting data on salaries, training schedules, vacation allowances, and other important aspects of athletes' careers. We sourced our information from reliable sources such as league reports, athlete profiles, and official team websites to ensure the accuracy and credibility of our findings. By combining all this information, we analyzed how professional athletes experience their working conditions, specifically determining which sport offers the best working conditions.

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