10 Ways to Make Money from Soccer

On a Monday night I received a call saying I was selected to try out for a North American Soccer League team. On Tuesday I asked my boss if I could go for the try outs which were on Wednesday and Thursday. I woke up on Wednesday at 5am and couldn’t go back to sleep. Instead of business casual I wore cleats. Instead of a desk, I arrived at a soccer field. Instead of reviewing engineering drawings, I was stretching with athletes gunning for the top spot. Wouldn’t it be great to make money through soccer? Here’s a couple of ways.

Snap6481. Become a citizen of a team ranked low in the FIFA rankings, and make their national team. Countries that are easy to become a citizen of: Singapore (FIFA rank 150, requires 2 years of permanent residency), St Kitts and Nevis (FIFA rank 153, requires $250,000 local investment), Dominica (FIFA rank 166, requires $100,000 local investment). 

2. Create a Yelp for soccer leagues. Where/when do the leagues occur, how good are they, and does anyone need players? The website or app helps new folks transition to life in the town. Veterans can find new leagues or rate the ones they’re in. How does Yelp make money? 80% from local ads (in our case, each league), 15% from brand advertising (Nike/Adidas/Puma), and 5% affiliates (if a user clicks on a link and buys something from Nike/Adidas, then part of the sale goes to Yelp).

3. Remodel your living room or basement to be a spectacular place to watch soccer. Have a giant screen, surround sound, memorabilia, BYOB, and knowledgeable friends. Start free of charge and let the word spread. As your house begins to regularly reach capacity, begin charging cover. It’s like the public viewing they have at World Cups/Euros, but in your house.

4. Run a food truck next to soccer fields. Have food soccer players crave after games. Me? Beer, brats, and french fries.

5. Become a “journalist” for the local league and cover it professionally: Write match reports, take pictures, do interviews, and publish behind the scenes stories. Make the content entertaining and everyone in the league will read your website to find news about themselves. Now, check who sponsors your league and ask them to sponsor you instead. Ask for less than what they do in the league – it’ll be a higher ROI for them.

6. Get a sponsor, create an event involving the whole community, and break a soccer related World Record. Suggestions – Play 558 passes in a row (http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/2000/most-consecutive-football-(soccer)-passes). Play 5v5 for over 54 hours (http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/records-4000/longest-marathon-playing-five-a-side-football-(soccer)/). You can combine the second one with a charity cause. While you’re at it, advertise #2-5.

7. Write Grant applications for local soccer clubs. Everyone needs funding. If your strength is writing and not soccer, you could try this one. Actually if you like writing, write ten articles about the weekend soccer games and send it to multiple websites. Maybe one will pick you up and let you be a soccer journalist. Combine with #5.

8. Buy cheap soccer shirts online or overseas and sell them in or outside stadiums. Some of my favorite stadium memories are seeing long lines of vendors and their knockoff shirts – Batistuta, Suker, Ronaldo, Totti, Beckham. Showcase them at stadium tailgates or kids soccer tournaments.

9. Bet on outcomes of soccer matches. According to an article on bettingexpert.com, over the last 10 seasons, 93% of Italian teams who were favorite to win at odds of 1.2 actually did win the game. Across seven major European leagues, the percentage was 89%. Sounds like if you keep betting $100 per round, after 10 rounds you would be up $80 ($20*9 – 100).

10. Start a soccer blog, get thousands of fans, and watch your inbox fill with offers from companies who target the soccer fan or coach interested in learning about soccer, not just watching it weekly.

If you’re one of those companies, email me.

Has anyone tried any of these? If you did and succeeded (or failed), let me know in the comments. I also want to hear more audacious ideas. With the internet lowering cost of entry into businesses, surely there are things we can do to make money through soccer.

Image Credit: Andrew Magill 


4 thoughts on “10 Ways to Make Money from Soccer

  1. I don’t have any experience with yelp, but the first idea sounds very good. The best thing about this idea is that there is very little time needed for day to day management of running the venture as is common with Internet businesses. However, would someone who enjoys ‘playing’ soccer, enjoy spending time every day researching and reviewing soccer leagues as much? Also, the fourth idea suggests becoming a sports journalist which (from my perspective) is a really difficult feat to accomplish. Of course there are high profile sports journalists like Stephen A Smith who make millions annually but there are also a lot of ‘starving artists’ who suffer from no publicity. All that said, this is a thought-provoking and well-written article. Kudos!

  2. Thanks for the comment Osa.

    For the Yelp idea, I agree the person would have to like soccer and things like sales pitches, logistics, attention to detail. If you like organizing and connecting people, it could work. If you like just soccer, then it will eventually become a hassle.

    As for the journalist one, I think it’s easier now to become a journalist than ever before. First, there are a lot more platforms to publish in, not only traditional news. Second, you can publish in a format that works for you – if you’re good at writing, do blogs. If you’re good at speaking, interviewing, or holding conversations, do a podcast. If you’ve got screen presence, do videos. And third, if you’re good, I think you eventually do get noticed. With this blog I’m learning if it’s a good post I get ‘Liked’ or folks might click to another article to see more of what I have to say. If it isn’t, they leave. I’m not saying it’s easy, but I think there are more ways to get there now, and less gatekeepers to block you.

    Most of that last paragraph I got from listening to this podcast. It explains how rules have changed because of the internet. He describes how “gatekeepers” are gone in many industries, letting the talent do their own thing.


  3. My best friend in Germany used to write our match reports on her own, pretty hilariously nineties looking website, which landed her a job for our soccer club doing PR, which landed her a job as a sports journalist for a top German newspaper. She went to London to cover the Olympics two years ago! So the journalist thing can work if you’re a natural like her….She never went to college either.

    • Nice! That’s very cool she didn’t go to college and still got the gig.

      I would hesitate calling her a ‘natural’ though. Instead of going to college it sounds like she practiced writing. Over and over, and in the specific genre that she liked. That would give her an edge over those in college who had to read and write about English literature and Russian politics, rather than refining their craft in their niche.

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