We have all the information you need to know about how much pro volleyball players make.
There are now almost 150 countries where volleyball is played and watched, making it the world’s most popular sport. Players who play the game professionally earn more as the sport becomes more popular.
Here is everything you need to know about volleyball player salaries if you’ve never asked the question or are an aspiring player.
How Much Money Do Professional Volleyball Players Make?
It is normal for volleyball players at the entry-level to earn between $12k and $55k per year, while seasoned professionals typically earn over $100k per year. Several million dollars are earned by the world’s best players each year.
There is a great deal of variation in the wages paid to professional volleyballers, as you can see in the table.
You need to consider the position you play and how good you are in relation to where you are playing.
Volleyball Player’s Salary Factors
In every sport, you can potentially earn a higher salary depending on what league you play in, what skill level you possess, what position you fill, and how many foreign players you have on your team.
The big-money volleyball leagues are mostly found in Europe and Asia, despite the fact that pro leagues can be found everywhere. Leagues in Russia, South Korea, Italy, and Japan have the best and biggest players.
The top leagues can pay up to one million dollars per year for players who play as a pro.
It is also important to consider your level of experience when determining your salary. Young players who have little professional experience are often forced to work a regular job until they are fully accepted into their pro teams.
Foreign player quota
You can earn a lot more money playing volleyball if you take advantage of the foreign quotas. As a general rule, a team’s foreign quota refers to the number of foreign players it can contract with. Russians have two quotas; the Japanese have one; and Germans have none.
Salary caps tend to be higher when the foreign quota is lower. As a result, if you are the only foreigner on a Japanese team, you will earn far more money than if you were on a German team.
In addition to skill level, players are paid based on their performance. The tiers of volleyball leagues and teams are very similar to those of soccer, with the best teams at the top, and the worst at the bottom. In Europe, Russia and Italy are at the top, with England, Netherlands, and many others at the bottom.
You’ll spend most of your time in one league or another depending on your skill level.
Volleyball has a clear distinction between positions in terms of salary. Since outside and opposite hitters are the ones who score points, they make the most money. Often, European players in these positions are signed to Asian teams due to their height.
Since liberos don’t need a unique skill or body type, they are often the lowest-paid players. Power and height are not necessary for scoring, and neither are they required for defending. Additionally, liberos don’t typically get the bonus foreign quota salary since teams usually use their foreign quota or bigger players to fill this position.
You can also read Hardest To Easiest Positions In Volleyball
Volleyball Players Salaries in Asia
The biggest and best salaries in Asia can be found in Japan and South Korea. Due to tournament winnings, salaries, bonuses, and sponsorships, top Japanese players often earn over $1 million a year.
Japan can be very lucrative for top players, but South Korea is even more lucrative for the majority. Pro volleyball players in South Korea earn an average of $140,000 per year, according to a recent study.
Volleyball Players Salaries in Europe
Russian and Italian salaries are among the highest in Europe, as already mentioned. With average salaries over $100,000, top players often earn as much or more as their Asian counterparts.
Interestingly, Italy is regarded as one of the meccas of indoor volleyball and a place where the best players come together to compete. It is because of this that top players in Italy are often able to earn enormous bonuses and sponsorship deals.
Volleyball Players Salaries in Japan
There are several factors that contribute to this number, including the player’s ability, the position they play, and the sponsorships available at the time.
The starting salary for entry-level players locally is around $15k.
Despite this seeming like a small sum, players are usually well taken care of and have a lot of expenses covered, such as accommodations and amenities.
Players are housed in team dormitories in Asian leagues, both for men and women.
Japan’s Top Players Earn More
Again, sponsorships are largely responsible for the high income earned by the top Japanese players.
It wouldn’t surprise me if Yuji Nishida earns 7 figures per year after signing with Asics in 2020. Despite the fact that the amount isn’t public, I would bet that the amount is at least 6 figures per year.
International signings are of course worth a lot of money in Japan, and some (if not all) are worth seven figures.
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Volleyball Players Salaries in Korea
Many superstar volleyballers from around the world sign huge contracts in Korea, making it the most lucrative volleyball nation in Asia.
Professional volleyball players in Korea earn an average salary of $141k per year, according to a recent report.
From the 2015/16 season through the 2021/22 season, below you can see how Korean won wage growth has been.
Women’s wages were lower than expected, but I didn’t know by how much.
Top female earners, however, seem to earn slightly less than their male counterparts.
Top Earning Korean Women’s Volleyballers [2021-22]
|Player Name||Team||Salary in USD|
Top Earning Korean Men’s Volleyballers [2021-22]
|Player Name||Team||Salary in USD|
|Hwang Taek-Eui||KB Stars||$578,000|
Also, these figures do not include international signings’ salaries, which are likely to dominate these lists.
Volleyball Players Salaries in Germany
There are some pretty substantial budgets allocated to talent acquisition in the German Bundesliga, one of the better Tier 3 leagues.
Depending on the season, volleyball players can earn anywhere between $15k and $250k.
This huge salary gap is partly due to the fact that top teams have completely different skill levels and budgets than bottom teams.
There is simply no competition for the bottom half of the league.
Volleyball Players Salaries in Russia
Russia’s Volleyball Super League is widely regarded as the most lucrative European volleyball league.
It is possible to earn at least $100k per season as a professional volleyball player in Russia, and some clubs offer contracts of up to $2 million.
It is partly due to the fact that Russia allows only two foreigners per team that they can pay so well. Aside from that, superstar players often prefer playing in cooler climates in Europe or Asia rather than in the U.S.
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Volleyball Players Salaries in China
In comparison to the Korean and Japanese leagues, the Chinese Volleyball Super League is not quite as established, but it is gaining in popularity rapidly.
Since the foreigner quota is relatively low in this league, it’s hard to find salary and benefit information, but foreign talent does still get paid well.
As volleyball is less popular in China, I would expect the local Chinese players to earn significantly less than their Korean and Japanese counterparts.
In the Turkish Efe Ligi, professional volleyball players can make between $30k and $600k per season, depending on their skill level.
It is partly because of the relatively low level of local talent and the three-foreigner quota that skilled foreign volleyballers earn so much money in Turkey.
We’ll discuss more later about Turkey’s women’s league, which is among the best-paying in the world.
Women’s Volleyball in Turkey
There is no better place to play women’s volleyball than in Turkey. The Turkish league offers lucrative contracts to female players that often exceed $1 million annually, unlike many other sports where female athletes are severely underappreciated and underpaid.
Despite the lack of clarity regarding the average, many women in Turkey’s pro league make more than enough money each year to live very comfortably without needing to look for another job.
Volleyball in the USA
It may come as a surprise to some that there is almost no pro volleyball scene in the US. Most American players, such as Matt Anderson, play overseas, with the exception of a five-week-long women’s tournament. As a result, volleyball does not compete well with other sports, such as baseball, American football, ice hockey, golf, etc.
Does The USA Have Professional Volleyball Teams?
Women’s professional volleyball has recently been launched in the USA by Athletes Unlimited.
How Much Do Athletes Unlimited Volleyball Players Make?
Unlike most professional volleyball leagues, the Athletes Unlimited league uses league-owned players and drafts unique teams each round to determine the winners.
Volleyball players for Athletes Unlimited earn $10,000 per season with the possibility of earning up to $35,000 more if they perform well.
Currently, there are no professional volleyball opportunities in the United States for men.
What is the reason for the lack of pro volleyball in the USA?
Volleyball is largely excluded from television networks because it cannot compete with NBA, NFL, and NHL games.
Even so, the USA has some of the best collegiate volleyball players in the world, many of whom earn professional contracts in Europe shortly after graduating.
How Much Do Team USA Volleyball Players Make?
Volleyball is one of the most highly-paid sports, and Team USA is extremely talented.
Professional contracts with European teams are the norm for US national team players.
The younger team members earn $15k to $50k per year as entry-level professionals, whereas the more senior team members earn over $500k per year.
What Is Matt Anderson’s Volleyball Salary?
Matt Anderson was a seven-year member of Team USA and a world-renowned hitter.
Many of the contracts signed by this club are well over US$1 million, making it one of the most lucrative clubs in indoor volleyball history.
Despite being difficult to estimate Matt Anderson’s income, it’s likely he earned between $500k and $1m a year over those seven years!
Do Professional Volleyball Leagues Exist?
There is definitely one. In fact, there are several.
In Europe, Asia, and South America, there are more than 20 professional volleyball leagues.
Professional grade leagues are typically found in one country, with France being the exception.
Athletes who play in the top-tier leagues have the opportunity to earn substantially more money due to the different levels of competition.
How rich are professional volleyball players?
There is no doubt that the majority of professional volleyball players do not earn a lot of money.
Beach volleyball players looking to break into the scene are often struggling financially, especially the younger ones.
You’re unlikely to make much more than $100k per year as a pro volleyball player, even if you work your way up to that level.
In the indoor industry with very minimal expenses, a six-figure income is an excellent salary and can be very beneficial to your financial well-being.
If you invest your money wisely, you will absolutely be set financially after just a couple of seasons if you’re good enough to reach the very top of the sport.
Which volleyball player is the highest paid?
Contract amounts and endorsement details are generally not disclosed, so exact figures are disputed.
Wilfredo Leon, who recently signed a $1.58 million contract with his club in Perugia, Italy, is currently the highest-paid professional men’s volleyball player.
In spite of this, for many years a Chinese woman was ranked as volleyball’s highest-paid player.
Zhu Ting, a Chinese player who signed with Turkish club VakfBank in 2017, is the highest-paid female professional volleyball player.
Considering the fact that men’s volleyball contracts are usually overwhelmingly more lucrative, this is an especially remarkable accomplishment.
As a result of her sponsorship deals, Zhu would have earned considerably more than that amount.
How Do Professional Volleyball Players Get Paid?
Exactly where does this crazy contract money come from?
European professional volleyball leagues usually sell their televised rights to official league sponsors. It is also possible for teams to negotiate endorsement contracts to pay their players.
The government of some countries guarantees contracts to players in some European leagues funded by city funding.
How Much Do Professional Women’s Volleyball Players Make?
In addition to the league, the skill level, and the position of the player, the salaries for women’s professional volleyball players also vary greatly.
Generally, women’s volleyball players earning $10-25k per year can expect to earn more than $100k with experience.
There is no easy answer to this question, as always.
As we’ve seen, the top Korean women volleyballers are paid ridiculously high salaries, but China’s Zhu Ting makes over a million dollars a year, proving that top women volleyball players can earn similar incomes to top men.
However, because television rights and endorsements are less in demand, the average salary will be considerably lower than in men’s volleyball.
It’s true that some female entry-level volleyball players may find it hard to make ends meet, but for the most part, athletes are able to focus on their education and progressing to higher-paying leagues.
Turkey’s Women’s Volleyball League is the place to be!
There is no doubt that women’s indoor volleyball in Turkey is the best in the world.
She became the highest-paid women’s volleyball player in the world after signing a US$1.43m deal with Turkish club VakfBank.
Turkey’s women’s volleyball league attracts some of the best volleyball players in the world.
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How Much Do Professional Beach Volleyball Players Make?
The beach volleyball game works a little differently than indoor volleyball since players are not signed to individual clubs, but are paid by placing in tournaments instead.
Prize money won and endorsement deals determine how much money professional beach volleyball players make each year.
Furthermore, beach volleyballers have a wide salary range with a massive gap between them and the best athletes.
Most pro beach volleyball players have a tough life
The financial burden of coaching and travel expenses can make it more difficult for beach volleyball players to earn a decent living.
For beach volleyball players, the average salary might be around $100,000 a year, whereas for indoor volleyball players, it might be closer to $300,000.
You may struggle to make ends meet as a professional beach volleyball player if you don’t perform well in tournaments and don’t receive enough sponsorship money.
In the world of beach volleyball, the top earners can rival the top earners in indoor volleyball, but they are few and far between.
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How Much Do USA Beach Volleyball Players Make?
AVP Tour is the most popular pro tour for beach volleyball players in the USA, who travel nationwide to compete in tournaments against other top players.
On the AVP professional tour, beach volleyball players can earn between $10,000 and $100,000 per year, with some earning far more.
A total of $387,700 was won by Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers alone in the 2010 season. They would have made much more money if endorsement deals had been included.
A career earnings of $2.5 million in prize money makes Kerri Walsh the most successful women’s beach volleyball player in history.
During a 20-year career, this amounts to about $125k in prize money alone, with endorsements adding up to unfathomable amounts!
The money earned by entry-level beach volleyball players is not as good as the money earned by indoor volleyball players. Those who reach the top will find it excellent.
In contrast to beach players, indoor players have significantly fewer expenses in their early years.
The path to becoming a professional beach volleyball player is undoubtedly more difficult than one for an indoor player.
What Is The Typical Entry Level Salary?
You’re more likely to be signed by someone who’s interested in signing you. The level of skill you possess and the position you play determine who will be interested in you.
The majority of volleyball pros begin their careers straight out of college. It is possible for athletes who performed exceptionally well in college to land a contract with a top-tier Italian club earning a bit over $100,000.
The majority of athletes, however, enter the Tier 4 leagues after college and work their way up from there. Entry-level athletes can expect to make between $12k and $20k in their first couple of seasons.
Volleyball Salary FAQs
How much do Brazilian volleyball players make?
Among the highest-paid volleyball players in the world are those in the Brazilian volleyball league.
In 2010, Dante Amaral, who signed a $1.1m contract in 2010, was the top-paid Brazilian volleyball player (excluding endorsement deals).
Due to their exceptional ability and popularity within Brazil, Brazilian national team players are unlikely to earn less than $150k per season.
How much do Korean professional volleyball players make?
The Korean V-League is an extremely lucrative league for Korean players. This is the exact number I quoted earlier.
As foreign players can only play on one team, international superstar volleyballers in Korea can earn massive salaries of around $1m per season thanks to the foreigner quota.
What is the salary of a Philippine volleyball player?
According to PVL president Ricky Palou, the Philippine Premier Volleyball League has imposed a salary cap between $6,900 and $34,400 per year.
How much do pro volleyball players make in Argentina?
In the aftermath of COVID-19, both salaries and talent have declined in the Argentine Volleyball League, despite being a Tier 2 league.
The Argentine Volleyball League pays professional volleyball players between $10k and $100k.
There aren’t a lot of foreign players playing volleyball in Argentina because it’s a very strong volleyball nation.
What do volleyball players do during the off-season?
Athletes get plenty of ‘down time’ during the volleyball season, which lasts eight months at most. Physically demanding seasons require athletes to rest and recover fully during this time.
Athletes from overseas typically spend their off-seasons with friends and family in their home countries. Others will coach junior volleyball teams or help with local volleyball clinics.
It is still necessary for athletes to train during the off-season, so many take advantage of this time to train in the weight room and focus on heavy lifting rather than playing sports.
How much do professional volleyball players make in Canada?
The Canadian volleyball market does not currently have a professional league.
As there is no way to earn a living as a volleyball player in Canada, there is no shortage of world-class Canadian volleyballers.
How much does Wilfredo Leon make?
Sir Safety Umbria Volley, based in Perugia, signed Wilfredo Leon to a three-year $1.58m contract this January.
Assuming endorsement deals are taken into account, Leon will earn even more than this.
For the record, that’s $1.58m per year.
How much money can you make from professional volleyball?
The salary ranges from $100,000 per year to over $1 million per year if you play as a pro in these top leagues.
How long is a professional volleyball season?
Europe’s professional volleyball season typically begins in October and lasts between six and eight months, while Asia’s typically lasts five months, with China’s season lasting just four months.
Athletes often play two seasons a year in Europe and China because of the shorter seasons there.
Accordingly, the earnings of professional volleyball players vary widely based on factors such as experience, gender, and skill level. Players with lucrative endorsements and elite players may earn substantial incomes, even at entry levels. For those pursuing careers in volleyball, the sport’s unique landscape offers both challenges and opportunities.