Albeit not as rewarding as football, tennis or Formula 1 in terms of monetary benefits, the popularity of badminton rivals every major sport on the planet owing to its simplistic nature. In almost every corner of the world, individuals across a myriad of age groups can be seen venturing out with badminton racquets in hand on a fine evening. Whether male or female, it’s the relatability factor that is responsible for the popularity of badminton and its players among the masses.
However, it would be foolish to believe that the badminton players taking part in professional tournaments don’t earn a sizeable income throughout their careers. Those who excel in the sport reap significant dividends for their tireless toils on the badminton courts.
Badminton is one of the few sports that tries to maintain little discrepancy between the male and female star shuttlers in terms of the monetary benefits on offer. However, for this list, we’ll be taking an exclusive look at the men. It is also important to note that the list includes retired badminton stars as well, since they rank among the wealthiest athletes in the world and their exclusion won’t do justice to the sport.
Before we jump into the list of the richest male badminton players in the world, let us have a deeper understanding of the varied sources of income for these shuttlers.
How do badminton players earn a fortune?
The dividends that these shuttlers receive from playing badminton don’t just include their tournament earnings. Garnering fame in badminton automatically results in the shuttlers attracting widespread media attention, fan following, and in turn, sponsorship deals from several multinational companies. In fact, statistics suggest that a lion’s share of the wealth amassed by a popular badminton player comes from his or her endorsement deals. Moreover, these benefits continue to keep the players company long after they draw the curtains on their professional careers.
So, on that note, we take a look at the richest male badminton players in the world including their respective career highlights and net worths.
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A look at the richest male badminton players in the world
Net worth in 2023: USD 26 million
Considered to be the greatest badminton player of all time by fans and experts alike, Lin Dan is the holder of numerous records in the world of badminton. The most significant record that the former Chinese shuttler holds is the Super Grand Slam. For the uninitiated, a Super Grand Slam is achieved when a player wins all of the nine major titles in the world of badminton― an Olympic gold medal, the BWF World Championships, World Cup, Thomas Cup, Sudirman Cup, BWF Super Series Masters Finals, All England Open, Asian Games and the Asian Championships. To date, Lin Dan remains the only player to achieve this incredible feat. The Chinese athlete also became the first man to clinch two consecutive Olympic crowns in the men’s singles discipline (2008 and 2012).
According to reports, Lin Dan, in 2023, enjoys a net worth of around USD 26 million, which makes him the richest badminton player in the world. Nicknamed “Super Dan” by Peter Gade, the Chinese shuttler was inducted into the BWF Badminton Hall of Fame on May 26, 2023.
Lee Chong Wei
Net worth in 2023: USD 16 million
Arguably the most prominent Malaysian athlete of all time, Lee Chong Wei is a legend in the badminton fraternity. A former world number one and winner of three Olympic medals, Wei has had a career filled with ups and downs (much akin to a rollercoaster ride). The latter also involves the controversial time when the Malaysian got entangled in a doping scandal, one of the most shameful practices in the world of sports. However, one simply cannot overlook the Malaysian shuttler’s illustrious career as he has also won three silver medals at the Olympic Games and as many as five gold medals at the Commonwealth Games.
If the doping scandal wasn’t enough misfortune for a lifetime, Lee Chong Wei had the most tragic ending to his professional badminton career as he had to retire from the sport owing to nasopharynx cancer. Even though he fortunately recovered from the fatal disease, his return to the badminton court never materialised.
Despite retiring from the sport four years back, Lee Chong Wei remains one of the richest badminton players in 2023. According to a report by Celebrity Net Worth, Lee Chong Wei has a net worth of an estimated USD 16 million. The former Malaysian shuttler was inducted into the BWF Badminton Hall of Fame on May 2, 2023.
Net worth in 2023: USD 8 million
Ranking amongst the greatest shuttlers of the 21st century, Chen Long has won almost every major tournament there is to win in the world of badminton. The Chinese badminton player is a former world number one who remained at the peak of the world rankings for 76 consecutive weeks from December 2014 to July 2016. He won a gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics and two gold medals at the Asian Games (in team events), one in 2010 and another in 2018. Moreover, Long has also won the World Championships in consecutive years (2014 and 2015) as well as the Asian Championships (2017).
According to reports, Chen Long, in 2023, has a net worth of around USD 8 million. He is one of the richest male badminton players in the world, even two years after his retirement in 2021.
Net worth in 2023: USD 7.5 million
Considered to be one of the greatest players in the history of badminton, Taufik Hidayat is often known as ‘Mr. Backhand’ because of his pitch-perfect backhand play, particularly the backhand smash. The former Indonesian shuttler has also won several major badminton competitions, including the World Championships (2005), an Olympic gold medal (2004), three gold medals at the Asian Games (in the men’s team event in 1998 and in the singles event in 2002 and 2006) and three Asian Championships titles (2000, 2004 and 2007). Hidayat reached the top of the world rankings at the tender age of 19 years in 2000. To date, he remains the youngest player to be ranked world number one in the men’s singles discipline.
According to several reports, Taufik Hidayat, in 2023, enjoys an estimated net worth of USD 7.5 million, effectively ranking among the wealthiest badminton players in the world.
Jan O Jorgensen
Net worth in 2023: USD 5.5 million
One of the most popular European players in the history of the sport, Jan O Jorgensen enjoyed a 15-year-long career, during which he won the European Championships once (2014). He also came tantalisingly close to winning the World Championships in 2015 but had to settle for a bronze medal after losing to Lee Chong Wei in the semi-finals. The Danish player was also a part of the Denmark team that won the 2016 Thomas Cup in Kunshan, China. Jorgensen called it a day in his professional badminton career in 2020.
According to reports, Jan O Jorgensen ranks among the richest players in the world of badminton in 2023 with a net worth of around USD 5.5 million.
Net worth in 2023: USD 5 million
A popular badminton player from the early 2000s, Peter Gade is considered to be one of the most successful shuttlers of all time. The former Danish badminton star is best known for his All England Open Badminton Championships singles title win in 1999 and his five European Championships titles in the men’s singles event. He also reached the top of the world rankings in 1998 and held the pole position till 2001.
Peter Gade has won as many as 22 Grand Prix titles during his time on the badminton court. He came close to winning his maiden World Championships title in 2001 but unfortunately had to settle for a silver medal.
According to reports, Peter Gade, in 2023, has an approximate net worth of USD 5 million. He ranks among one of the wealthiest badminton players in the world.
Net worth in 2023: USD 3 million
Kento Momota is a badminton player known for his relentless play style on the court. Hailing from Japan, the shuttler has won several major badminton titles, including two World Championships crowns (2018 and 2019), two Asian Championships (2018 and 2019), and a solitary All England Open crown (2019). He holds a unique distinction in the Guinness Book of World Records for “The most badminton men’s singles titles in a season” for winning 11 titles in the 2019 season. As of September 2023, Kento Momota holds the 51st position in the world rankings.
Reports suggest that Kento Momota, in 2023, has a net worth of USD 3 million. He ranks among the highest-paid male badminton players in the world at the moment, even though he has not enjoyed a great run of form in the past few years after being involved in a gambling scandal. The scandal was also responsible for Momota being banned from April 2016 to late 2017.
Net worth in 2023: USD 2.5 million
In badminton, we often refer to players who shine in the singles discipline when we talk about the best shuttlers of the sport. However, there are some players who shine in the doubles category and make a name for themselves. Zhen Siwei is a member of that club.
The 26-year-old professional shuttler, hailing from China, is a three-time World Champion (2018, 2019 and 2022) in the mixed doubles category alongside his partner and fellow Chinese badminton player Huang Yaqiong. The duo has also won the Asian Championships in the same category in 2022. In addition, Siwei has won two gold medals at the 2018 Asian Games― one in the mixed doubles category and another in the men’s team event. He is often regarded as one of the finest shuttlers of his generation.
At the age of 26, Zheng Siwei has accumulated a net worth of around USD 2.5 million, according to various reports, and ranks among the wealthiest male badminton players in the world.
Net worth in 2023: USD 1.5 million
At present, there are very few players who can stand up to the challenges thrown at them by Viktor Axelsen. The current world number one is a two-time World Champion (2017 and 2022) and is also the defending Olympic champion (he won the gold medal in the men’s singles discipline at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics). In addition, the Danish shuttler has also won the men’s singles crown at the European Championships on three occasions (2016, 2018 and 2022). Axelsen has an enviable record in his badminton career with 514 wins to his name as opposed to 147 losses. The 29-year-old badminton player is arguably one of the best shuttlers of the modern era.
According to reports, Viktor Axelsen, in 2023, enjoys a net worth of around USD 1.5 million. Besides being amongst the richest male badminton players, various sources suggest that the Danish player is the highest-paid badminton player in the world at present.
Marcus Fernaldi Gideon
Net worth in 2023: USD 1 million
Rounding up the list of the richest male badminton players in the world is yet another doubles player, Marcus Fernaldi Gideon. The Indonesian shuttler is a former world number one in the men’s doubles category and, alongside his current partner and fellow Indonesian Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo, won the coveted All England Open title in 2017. The duo are often referred to as ‘the Minions’ from the Despicable Me film series because of their lower-than-average height and agile style of play. They won the Badminton World Federation (BWF) Best Male Players of the Year award for two consecutive years in 2017 and 2018.
According to reports, Marcus Fernaldi Gideon, in 2023, has a net worth of approximately USD 1 million. In 2020, Forbes also named him and Sukamuljo in its list of 30 Under 30 Asia (Entertainment and Sports).
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
– Do badminton players enjoy lucrative merchandise deals like athletes in other sports?
Yes, as is the case with other sports, a lot of popular badminton players have lucrative merchandise deals.
– Is prize money the main source of income for professional badminton players?
While prize money is one of the major sources of income for professional shuttlers, the sponsorship deals that the players enjoy also make a significant contribution to their overall wealth.
– Are badminton players involved in philanthropy or works of charity?
Yes, several badminton players are involved in works of charity.
– Can badminton players make money from coaching or opening their academies?
A lot of former badminton players have shifted to coaching current players, while many others have even opened their own badminton training schools.
(Main Image Credits: Courtesy Instagram/@Jan Ø. Jørgensen and Instagram/@Datuk Wira Lee Chong Wei)
(Featured Image Credits: Courtesy Instagram/@Viktor Axelsen)