How Much Money Do Pro BMX Riders Make?

BMX is a professional sport since a long time ago. Pro riders get to travel around the world competing and making money along their journey.

The average income of a professional BMX rider is estimated at $65,000. Their earnings are based on the prize money collected from their performances in competitions and improved by a variety of sponsorship deals.

Taking that into account, we can assure that a pro BMX rider is light-years away from having a rockstar lifestyle. There’s no way to compare them with any soccer, NFL, MLB, or NBA player. The prize money accumulated for winning all the BMX events -racing or freestyle- you could possibly enter in a calendar year, would only mean a tiny percentage of what any player from any of the leagues mentioned above could make in the same timeframe.

So there is a variety of ways in which a rider can make money. Besides their performance on their bike, if we’re talking about a well-ranked rider (obviously, the higher the better), on top of their prize money earnings we must add other sponsorship-related income sources.

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Pro BMX Riders’ Salary/Income Sources

All in all, a BMX rider’s revenue is basically made of the following items:

  • BMX events prize money. All international events organized by the UCI (Union Cycliste International), have a prize money chart. The maximum the winners take is €10,000. Men and women are equally paid. The X-Games is the most important spot in the freestyle calendar. We’ll go deeper into that later.
  • Local national federation support. Some local cycling federations provide their representative athletes with travel, entry fees, and other related expenses. In some cases, this help is critical for the riders, as they wouldn’t be able to afford those expenses otherwise, with the risk of losing ranking points.
  • Bike sponsorships. The bike brands (as well as the examples below) that sign with riders in some cases provide them only with bikes, not with additional cash. However, bikes are essential, expensive items that in the long term represent an important amount of money saved.
  • Clothing and shoe sponsorships. Clothing brands that target mainly BMX and skateboarding. Examples: DC, Vans.
  • Energy drink sponsorships. Energy drinks appeared on the sports scene about two decades ago and became really popular. Examples: Red Bull, Monster.
  • Youtube channels. There really aren’t many examples of top riders that decided to start a Youtube channel and worked on creating content regularly, consistently. However, I believe they’d have a great possibility of being successful online and make some good extra bucks while doing what they love. Maybe one of the best examples of this is Scotty Cranmer (his Youtube channel has 1.4M+ subscribers).

These items will apply in different ways for each rider, but most of the top-ranked riders make their grand total for living adding percentages of each one of them.

As we’ll see below, the prize money that the pros collect from competitions could potentially allow them to make a living from riding BMX. By this, I mean to be able to buy a nice house, a new car, and provide enough for their families. We’re not talking about mansions, Ferraris, Michelin star restaurants, exotic vacation destinations, luxury hotels, etc.

There isn’t a single pro BMX rider in history that had been able to retire and spend the rest of their lives traveling around the world after retiring. If they got to make a fortune, it was made 90% off their bikes, only after engaging in other BMX related businesses.

UCI BMX Events Prize Money Break Down

Let’s take a look at some of the most important events in the BMX calendar. The UCI is the international cycling governing body. They organize and regulate the most relevant cycling events worldwide. Among the BMX events, we can count the World Championships (for both racing and freestyle), the Supercross World Cup, and the Olympic Games. The UCI also regulates all Continental and National championships.

BMX Racing Prize Money

Regarding the UCI events, the prize money for BMX racing competitions is distributed as follows.

BMX World Championship:

The BMX World Championship is an annual competition. The world champion wins €5000, 2nd place gets €3000, and 3rd place €2000. Juniors also get their share: €1800, €1200, and €900.

BMX Supercross World Cup:

The BMX Supercross World Cup is an annual competition that consists of 10 rounds held in 5 different venues around the world. The winner of each round earns €2500, 2nd place €1500, and 3rd place €1000. The leader after the 10 rounds becomes the champion and receives an extra €10000, with €6000 for 2nd place, and €4000 for 3rd place.

You can find more in-depth info related to BMX racing events entry fees and prize money on the official UCI page here.

BMX Freestyle Prize Money

Regarding BMX Freestyle competitions, this is the prize money distributed at the UCI Urban Cycling World Championship (an event that includes mountain bike and trials competitions). The winner takes €10000, whereas silver and bronze get €5000 and €3000.

You can find more in-depth info related to BMX freestyle events fees and prize money on the official UCI page here.

X-Games BMX Prize Money

The X-Games are by far the most profitable event every year for the lucky BMX riders that get to take part in it. All participants get their share and the winner could get around $100,000 (I haven’t been able to find an official source though, sorry).

In case you don’t know what the X-Games is, it is an extreme sports event produced annually by ESPN. It involves competitions of BMX, skateboarding, motocross, and Esports (Counter-Strike and Call of Duty). Besides a big pot in prize money, this event offers the riders a great source of visibility, which results beneficial in terms of sponsorship and commercial opportunities.

More about BMX in the X-Games here.

Richest BMX Riders Ever

There are a handful of BMX riders that finally achieved to make a fortune. However, only a tiny portion of their net worth was made while touring the world on their bikes winning titles.

Professional BMX riding isn’t forever. If you’re good enough, you could make a living from it for 10, 15, or 20 years. After that, you must be ready to make money some other way because your savings won’t probably last long.

We’ll take the examples of Dave Mirra and Mat Hoffman, two of the greatest BMX riders of all time. Both took advantage of other BMX related businesses with great success and managed to add several additional income sources.

Dave Mirra

Dave Mirra committed suicide in February 2016. He had achieved a net worth of $15 million (source).

He was one of the most successful BMX riders in history. He turned pro in 1992. He was one of the main attractions of the X-Games for several years, in which he won a total of 24 medals. Along his journey, he’s been sponsored by Monster Energy, Nike, Puma, Bell Helmets, Maxxis Tires, GT Bicycles, Snafu, and Subaru.

Besides riding BMX, Mirra got involved in the following commercial activities:

  • Founded his own bikes brand in 2007: MirraCo.
  • Was a professional rally driver for 5 years, competing at the RallyCross Championship as a member of the Subaru Team USA.
  • Entered many Ironman (triathlon) competitions (and even qualified for the 2014 world championship).
  • Hosted two seasons of MTV’s show ‘The Challenge’.
  • Was featured in the ‘Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX’ game series, released in 2000 and 2001.

Mat Hoffman

He is known as the name that saved BMX from disappearing in the 90s. He is one of the best vert ramp riders in history. He expanded the boundaries of freestyle BMX, by literally taking vert to new heights. He won a total of 6 medals at the X-Games. Mat Hoffman’s net worth is estimated at $18 million.

Hoffman’s commercial deals off the bike include the following:

  • Launched his brand Hoffman Bikes in 1991.
  • Founded Hoffman Promotions, organizing freestyle events worldwide.
  • Joined ESPN to produce all the X-Games events worldwide since their first edition in 1995.
  • Produced, directed, and hosted several TV series for ESPN, including his own show ‘Mat’s World’.
  • Like Mirra, was featured in his videogame saga ‘Mat Hoffman’s Pro BMX’, released in 2002.
  • Was involved in the production of many films, including the ‘Jackass’ series.
  • He’s the president of the International BMX Freestyle Federation since 2005.

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