How Skateboarding Prizes Went From $2 Million to $20 Million

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Skateboarding has come a long way since its humble beginnings as a street culture in the 1970s. Today, it is one of the most popular and profitable sports in the world, with millions of fans and followers.

It is also an Olympic sport, having made its debut in the 2020 Tokyo Games. But perhaps the most impressive indicator of skateboarding's success is the amount of money that skaters can earn from competing in professional events. In 2015, the total prize money for skateboarding competitions was $2 million. In 2023, it reached a staggering $20 million. How did this happen?

Here are some of the factors that contributed to the spectacular growth of skateboarding prizes over the last eight years:

The Rise of Street League Skateboarding (SLS) 

SLS is the premier professional skateboarding competition series, featuring the top skaters from around the world. It was founded in 2010 by pro skater Rob Dyrdek, who wanted to create a more exciting and accessible format for skateboarding fans. SLS consists of several events held in different cities, culminating in a World Championship. The prize purse for each event is $200,000, while the overall champion gets $1 million. SLS has attracted major sponsors such as Nike, Adidas, Red Bull, and Monster Energy, who have helped to increase the prize money and the production value of the events.

The Inclusion of Skateboarding in the Olympics

Skateboarding was one of the new sports added to the Olympic program for the 2020 Tokyo Games, along with surfing, climbing, and karate. This was a huge milestone for skateboarding, as it gave it more legitimacy, exposure, and recognition as a sport. It also opened up new opportunities for skaters to represent their countries and compete for medals and glory. The Olympic skateboarding events were divided into two disciplines: park and street. The park discipline involved skating on a course with ramps, bowls, and transitions, while the street discipline involved skating on a course with stairs, rails, and ledges. The prize money for the Olympic skateboarding events was not disclosed, but it was estimated to be around $500,000.

The Expansion of Skateboarding Media and Culture

Skateboarding media, including social media platforms such as Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok, has played a key role in spreading and celebrating the culture. Skaters from different backgrounds and regions have been showcased through documentaries, podcasts, web series, magazines, books, and video games, educating and inspiring new generations of skaters.


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