How much are professional mountain bikers paid? – Investigation into the state of the sport of Pinkbike
To try and get a better idea of what runners earn, we’ve included compensation in our State of Sport Survey.
One thing to note is that the cyclist’s compensation is not equal to the total money a brand spent on that cyclist. Regardless of the runner’s remuneration, the total investment of a brand to run with them on an international stage is significant; it’s easy to spend over $ 50,000 per rider on travel, accommodation, food, expenses, mechanical assistance, etc. for a season. Especially with EWS where travel is important. There are cases where riders take a lower amount to be part of a factory team compared to a higher salary and all run their own freelance contracts (and sleep in vans).
The most interesting results from the compensation section of the survey are presented below. We offered any rider who finished in the top 40 in their discipline over the past two seasons to participate in the survey, for more information on the riders questioned, click here. Note that junior riders have been removed from all calculations below and some riders have declined to answer this section.
Additional reporting: Henry Quinney
The big picture
The largest cohort of cyclists (27.3%) surveyed earn between $ 0 and $ 5,000 on mountain bikes and we also know from a separate survey question that about 21% of cyclists are not paid at all. Keep in mind that we removed juniors from this part of the survey and also only interviewed the top 40 ranked riders over the past two years in each discipline. This means that it’s almost guaranteed that some of the runners you see when broadcasting an event won’t earn a dime for attending. If we go from the mode to the median, the average is slightly higher, with the average runner being paid between 10,000 and 20,000 USD per year.
Another conclusion we can draw from this data is that runners are either relatively well paid or not well paid at all. So while 51.65% of runners earn less than $ 20,000, nearly a third of professional runners are paid more than $ 40,000 per year and almost a quarter earn more than $ 50,000.
Some riders are able to transcend the sport of mountain biking and their relative stardom means they can start earning a hefty salary from non-endemic sponsorships. We know that a handful of the sport’s greatest runners net more than US $ 500,000, but since several runners declined to answer this question, only one person confirmed winning more than that amount. For the sake of anonymity, we have removed this person from the remaining charts (although we have included them in the calculated averages) and will not disclose further details about them.
Of all the cyclists surveyed, just under half (49%) were able to make a full living from mountain biking without having to supplement it with another source of income, while 21% told us they don’t earn any money. of this sport. As for the remaining runners, 16.2% said it was more than half of their total income while 13.6% said it was less than half. This means that in total 51% of runners must have a second source of income.
Pay by discipline
Based on the numbers, it looks like slopestyle runners are the highest paid, but it’s worth noting that this is from a very small sample of just 18 runners.
Cross country: 30,000-40,000 USD
Downhill: 5,000 to 10,000 USD
Enduro: 10,000 – 20,000 USD
Slopestyle and freeride: 40,000 to 50,000 USD
Cross country: $ 50,000 – 100,000
Downhill: 0-5,000 USD
Enduro: 0-5,000 USD
Slopestyle and freeride: 100,000 – 250,000 USD
The other striking fact is the number of professional enduro and downhill riders in the top 40 who are paid less than $ 5,000 per year. For enduro riders, it’s almost a quarter and for the descent, it’s almost half. We have another upcoming article that will explore exactly why downhill racers seem to be paid less than other disciplines despite being an incredibly popular form of racing among fans, and a clear testing ground for the halo products of the. sport.
The discipline with the fewest unpaid runners is cross country. While mountain biking doesn’t have the same minimum wage requirements as road cycling, it seems the culture of runners paid for their runs has spread to the XC. Whether it’s because it’s an Olympic sport, its competition with road cycling for top athletes, or something else is unclear.
The gender pay gap
There also seems to be a very clear cap for women’s pay which is lower than men’s. For the most part, the salary for pro female mountain bikers is around $ 50,000 to $ 100,000, while some of the highest paid men are paid a lot more than that.
Men: 20,000 – 30,000 USD
Women: 10,000 – 20,000 USD
Men: 0-5,000 USD
Women: 0-5,000 USD
The reasons why women have not been able to break into the top pay brackets with as much regularity as men are varied and complex, but the issues related to media coverage, exposure, the influence of shopping and dominant attitudes in sport all play a role. We’ll explore this in more detail in other articles and follow it over the years as the investigation continues as an annual event.
What makes up the salary of a professional mountain biker?
Mountain bikers’ contracts usually don’t have a single round number that they cash in the bank each month. Most professional runners will have some sort of base salary, but they are incentivized to increase their salary through bonuses that can include results, social media posts to magazine covers.
In fact, out of nearly 200 runners we surveyed, only 21.9% made all of their money from just one salary. The largest group of runners (33.3%) made 60-80% of their money from a salary, but this was followed by 28.6% of runners who did not make money from a salary. This could put runners in a truly precarious position if an injury (or a global pandemic) prevents them from completing any of their bonuses.
What do the sponsors like?
We asked runners what their sponsors value most about an athlete and the majority of runners (50.5%) said the results were consistent in their chosen discipline. 13% more runners said it was good one-off results. If you’re wondering why athletes get so nervous in every event, here’s a good illustration of why – almost two-thirds of them will be trying to justify their pay over the next few minutes or hours and they’re typically less than 10 per cent. year to do so.
Other top qualities of bikers included an active social media presence (23.2%), face-to-face interaction with the public (6.1%), and media coverage of events (3.5%). %).
Again, please note that this is what runners think their sponsors value. This may not reflect what their sponsors in fact value. For the record, we hear that very few sports marketers are willing to spend a lot on the Top 40 athletes if they don’t bring anything else to the table: a strong social media presence, style. ill for the catalog shoot, a good relationship with a distributor in a key market, etc. Maybe we will also need to do an anonymous survey of sports marketers next year.
Do professional mountain bikers think they are paid fairly?
So, we’ve established that the majority of mountain bikers don’t make a fortune, but do they think their pay is fair despite it? After all, for most of these riders, getting paid to ride a bike is a dream job, and they may be willing to give up the higher pay that a 9 to 5 could bring in exchange for a lifestyle. professional cyclist. For many cyclists, their profession is more than just earning a salary. The thrill of competition, the ability to ride a bike full time, the equipment and travel that comes with it are all factors in their career choices. Mountain bikers are also aware that they don’t fill the stadiums, but their job also comes with a huge amount of physical risk and sacrifice.
We asked runners to respond to the “I get paid fairly for what I do” statement and responses are mixed. 29.1% of riders agree to some extent, 43.4% disagree to some extent and the remaining 27.6% of riders answered the question in a neutral manner.
When we detail this in more detail, it won’t surprise anyone to learn that the answers seem to follow runners’ wages. The biggest disagreement came from runners earning between $ 5,000 and $ 10,000, while 89.48% of runners did not feel they were being paid fairly.
The results on this subject are interesting, and it is a subject that deserves to be deepened. How much brands should pay athletes who may or may not influence buying decisions will be a major talking point, but the big takeaway for us is that running remains incredibly privileged. Even when they “do” on the World Cup stage, many of these runners depend on the support of their families to pay for their races. Stay tuned for more thoughts on athlete compensation in the near future.
What do you think? Are professional runners paid fairly? Are you really buying products because a runner is in the top 40? Is sport losing talent because of its lack of opportunities?
Editor’s Note We are counting on the confidence of the athletes to complete this investigation, any attempt to identify runners will be removed from the comments section.