Can Archery Be Lucrative?

If you have a passion for basketball, you can aspire to join the NBA.  All of the professional sports leagues in the USA have guidelines on the minimum salary for each athlete.  These concessions are won through labor disputes by various players unions and the league itself.  For Major League Soccer, the 2016 minimal salary is $36,500

So, what happens when you join Major League Archery after the highly competitive college draft?  Of course, that doesn’t exist.  So you have these ways of getting income as an archer.

  1. Win prize money at tournaments
  2. Sponsorship
  3. Crowd funding
  4. Olympic Funding

Prize Money

The NFAA puts on the World Archery Festival, better known as The Vegas Shoot.  In 2016, the top prize was $10,000.  I believe they have plans to increase that by $1,000 every year.  Most other tournaments have much smaller payouts.  And the tournaments of the USAT (US Archery Team) handout points rather than money.


All sorts of corporations might sponsor you. Most likely it will be a company with some sort of ties to archery.  Equipment makers might have a pro staff, but those are rare.  More common is equipment discounts and contingencies. More rare would be complete outfitting and a salary.  Free equipment has been replaced by contingencies – you purchase the equipment, you register with the vendor before a tournament, and if you win, they give you cash.

In the Easton Archery podcast, it was stated that the Korean archery team buys their own arrows.  This is the Korean archery team, the most dominant team in a sport in a long time.

Crowd Funding

The Internet has expanded Friends and Family into crowd funding.  From informal PayPal donation buttons on web pages to Kick Starter to the USOC supported Rally Me

Olympic Funding

If you are lucky enough to be an Olympic caliber athlete,  the US Olympic Committee has money for you.

Where Does The Money Go?

Approximately 80 percent of the USOC’s operating budget goes directly to Athlete Support Programs. Below is an outline of some of the Athlete Support Programs offered by the USOC along with a brief description of each program:

Direct Athlete Support

Athletes who have demonstrated competitive excellence in important international competitions may be awarded Direct Athlete Support dollars, which includes tuition grants. The USOC Sport Performance Team works closely with the NGBs to determine how these dollars are allocated.

NGB (National Governing Boards like USA Archery) Support Programs

The USOC aids NGBs by supporting services such as investing in state-of-the-art technology, specialized coaching and providing additional training camps and competitions.

Operation Gold

Operation Gold Awards are designed to reward athletes for top place finishes in a sport’s most competitive international competition of the year. The award amount varies from $1,000 – $25,000 depending on the year, the athlete’s finish at the Operation Gold competition and whether the athlete competes in a sport/discipline/event on the Olympic or Paralympic Games program or on the Pan American Games program. Additionally, in non-Olympic and Paralympic years, athletes who qualify for more than one award automatically receive the higher award. At the Olympic and Paralympic Games, athletes are paid Operation Gold for multiple medal performances.

Elite Athlete Health Insurance (EAHI)

Each NGB receives, from the USOC, EAHI slots to distribute to elite athletes. Distribution of these EAHI slots is based on criteria that have been developed by the NGB and approved by the USOC.

Tuition Grants

Tuition grants are intended to help defray a portion of an athlete’s tuition costs, and in doing so, encourage athletes to further their formal education in preparation for lifelong career goals. Grant amounts range from less than $500 to a maximum of $5,000 depending on athlete performance history and availability of funds for the grant. Approximately $70,000 is dedicated to this program annually.



If you pool all of this money together as Brady Ellison, you might have $100,000 per year in cash and other compensation.  If you are not Brady, it might be 10-15% of that number and that’s if you are the next top two, less if you are four through five.  It looks like fun money if you are anyone else.


One thought on “Can Archery Be Lucrative?

  1. Pingback: How Do I Make The Senior USAT? Inside the National Ranking System (NRS) | archery parent

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