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  1. #1
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    How much does the average skater make a year after training costs?

    What Evan Lysacek or an Olympic ladies Gold medalist makes doesn't really interest me. I want to know, say, what kind of profit/take home pay Alissa Czisny brings? Akiko Suziki? Mirai Nagasu? Christina Gao? Meryl Davis?

    Do any of these skaters turn a real profit? If so, how much annually?
    Last edited by TheIronLady; 01-08-2013 at 08:24 AM.

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    I doubt it.. Doesn't a years training cost about 80K? You would have to win a lot of GPs and do some shows in Asia etc to cover that.

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    I'm not sure you can get an estimate on this. For one thing, training expenses vary greatly; Patrick Chan spent a lot of money in recent years, while someone like Brian Joubert who trains at his hometown rink (this season being the exception) probably has considerably lower expenses. also, some skaters have a lot of sponsorships and income from ads and commercials, even without winning an OGM, or an Olympic medal of any color. I think Carolina Kostner and Kiira Korpi are in that group. And skaters do different numbers of shows, which don't pay the same anyway.

    I don't think any top-level skaters are starving, but some probably work in addition to training - either as coaches or in other jobs: for instance, Jeremy Ten works in retail and Mark Ladwig used to do all sorts of odd jobs at his rink at probably still does.

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    None of the skaters named are exactly "average" either; they're in the top 10% of their national organizations. The "average" competitive skater isn't making anything; they work to afford to train unless their parents are picking up the tab. And the average "professional" skater isn't training; they're either skating in Disney or coaching and not paying training costs at all.
    I'd rather be thought of as absolutely ridiculous than as absolutely boring.

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    Yeah I know my terminology is slack. Sorry about that. I hoped someone might know what I meant. I just wondered if Czisny, for example, with her beautiful skating in shows but no real Olympic year publicity under her belt, was earning take home profits at this point.

  6. #6
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    I think the percentage of skaters who make enough money to never have to work again is extremely small.

    Obviously we know Yu-Na Kim made a lot of money both before and definitely post Vancouver (I think they reported she made like $7 million that year alone), plus she has numerous endorsement deals and her management company does several ATS shows a year. She's definitely a skater who (if she manages her money well) is set for life. Of course she'll continue to skate/do shows/endorse products after Sochi as well, so her earning potential over the next couple of years is going to be huge.

    Michelle Kwan had a very long list of big name endorsements as well during her competitive days. All those endorsements plus TV specials, headlining tours, etc. added up a lot for her as well. I remember reading somewhere that she's another skater who is a millionaire several times over thanks to her success.

    As for now, I doubt if US skaters are pulling in those kind of deals. However, Ashley seems to be doing pretty well for herself. She has the Nike endorsement and I think a Pandora jewelry endorsement as well. If she can win nationals again and place well at worlds, she'll be getting a lot more endorsements, especially if she's able to medal at worlds. This is the year the sponsors and brands start scouting people for deals heading into the Olympics. Ashley has the potential to earn a lot of money in the next year if she can continue on the path she's on...

    But I think the average skater, especially the skaters not on the senior level/GP level don't make much of anything.

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    Gregory and Petuchkov (they were second in the U.S. behind Belbin/Agosto) had to retire from competition due to lack of funds. Amanda Evora worked as a bookkeeper at the skating rink where she trained. If you don't get on a tour or get any product endorsements you won't get any income from skating. You might pick up a little money coaching or teaching learn to skate (or free ice time), but you can't do that full-time and train for competition too. If you medal at Grand Prix events there is prize money, but I expect most skaters use that to defray their training and travel costs.

    Michelle Kwan got free ice time at Ice Castles after she became a celebrity. Scott Hamilton had a wealthy sponsor who paid his training expenses, but that was only after his parents told him he would have to quit (I think he was a junior?) because they had run out of money.

    Rudy Galindo and Nicole Bobek reportedly were paid in the low six figures for touring in Champions on Ice, but that was after they had retired from competition.

    I don't think for the majority of skaters it is a money making field. If you are attractive and/or charismatic you can get into shows without national/international medals but I don't think you will make enough to make a lifelong career out of it. The Sun Valley show skaters/coaches make about $30K according to one fundraiser brochure.

  8. #8
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    I used to sponsor skaters. From what I've seen of their finances, the average skater spends a minimum of $45,000 US a year on ice time, lessons, costumes, skates, competition entry fees and traveling expenses. If they are lucky, they can get some of those costs defrayed via sponsorships. Not one of them makes money or even breaks even.

    The top skaters who get internationals tend to spend more money often up to around $100,000 (though I've heard of skaters who spend even more.) If they are lucky, they get more sponsorship and USFS does defray some of their costs and possibly gives them grants, but again none of them is making a profit and they often have to get part-time jobs to cover their living expenses.

    A top skater with international assignments who medals at Nationals and/or gets on TV enough might get endorsements and invited to skate in shows. Once you get invited to shows that are big enough to pay you and/or get endorsements, the possibility is there to break even and possibly even make money. However, IME, most skaters who are making a living through skating are also coaching and/or choreographing and are no longer competing as an eligible skater.

    Obviously, there are exceptions to this and also everything in between, but most skaters I know are being subsidized by their parents and basically they skate until their parents aren't willing to pay for it any more, which is why a lot of them quit around high school or college age.
    Actual bumper sticker series: Jesus is my co-pilot. Satan is my financial advisor. Budha is my therapist. L. Ron Hubbard owes me $50.

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    Japanese skaters do benefit from having a lot of shows at home, but besides Mao and Daisuke who have done advertisements etc., I don't think they make that much money. Elite skaters receive funding from the japanese skating federation and have plenty of sponsors, though. Kanako has thirty companies supporting her, one of Kozuka's main sponsors is Toyota, and Akiko works for Toho Real Estate that has its own skating rink and supports her. As far as I know, Hanyu doesn't have any sponsors.

    Javier Fernandez in his latest interview with Art on Ice (here) said that last season he had to paid his training expenses with the money he earned at shows and competitions, and his federation doesn't have any money at the moment. Considering he won two GP silvers (USD $13,000 for each event) and a bronze at the Final (USD $12,000), last season he made at least $38,000.
    Last edited by mathil; 01-10-2013 at 10:14 PM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacMadame View Post
    I used to sponsor skaters. From what I've seen of their finances, the average skater spends a minimum of $45,000 US a year on ice time, lessons, costumes, skates, competition entry fees and traveling expenses. If they are lucky, they can get some of those costs defrayed via sponsorships. Not one of them makes money or even breaks even.

    The top skaters who get internationals tend to spend more money often up to around $100,000 (though I've heard of skaters who spend even more.) If they are lucky, they get more sponsorship and USFS does defray some of their costs and possibly gives them grants, but again none of them is making a profit and they often have to get part-time jobs to cover their living expenses.

    A top skater with international assignments who medals at Nationals and/or gets on TV enough might get endorsements and invited to skate in shows. Once you get invited to shows that are big enough to pay you and/or get endorsements, the possibility is there to break even and possibly even make money. However, IME, most skaters who are making a living through skating are also coaching and/or choreographing and are no longer competing as an eligible skater.

    Obviously, there are exceptions to this and also everything in between, but most skaters I know are being subsidized by their parents and basically they skate until their parents aren't willing to pay for it any more, which is why a lot of them quit around high school or college age.
    Well stated! I totally agree. Very few competitive skaters can subsist without parental support and part-time jobs. Nobody I know is making a profit skating except show skaters.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by MacMadame View Post
    I used to sponsor skaters. From what I've seen of their finances, the average skater spends a minimum of $45,000 US a year on ice time, lessons, costumes, skates, competition entry fees and traveling expenses. If they are lucky, they can get some of those costs defrayed via sponsorships. Not one of them makes money or even breaks even.

    The top skaters who get internationals tend to spend more money often up to around $100,000 (though I've heard of skaters who spend even more.) If they are lucky, they get more sponsorship and USFS does defray some of their costs and possibly gives them grants, but again none of them is making a profit and they often have to get part-time jobs to cover their living expenses.

    A top skater with international assignments who medals at Nationals and/or gets on TV enough might get endorsements and invited to skate in shows. Once you get invited to shows that are big enough to pay you and/or get endorsements, the possibility is there to break even and possibly even make money. However, IME, most skaters who are making a living through skating are also coaching and/or choreographing and are no longer competing as an eligible skater.

    Obviously, there are exceptions to this and also everything in between, but most skaters I know are being subsidized by their parents and basically they skate until their parents aren't willing to pay for it any more, which is why a lot of them quit around high school or college age.
    I concur with madm, excellent post!

    Except for the fortuitous windfall of the 90's, skaters from the beginning of time to now have never gotten rich off skating nor turned a profit unless one was an Olympic Gold Medalist. In fact they're lucky if they break even imho, especially here in the States where skating has literally tanked. 2002 was the last hurrah. Still can't believe that SOI is on its last legs. That's been around since Scott started it back in the 80's. America really needs a skater or pair that will draw the public in, capture their imagination, go where no one has ever gone before! Thank goodness skating is popular in Japan though, gives everybody an opportunity to make money.

    Anyhow, it makes me appreciate the skaters even moreso knowing that they give their all to this wonderful sport they (& we) love so much, with no guarantee of breaking even, losing money in fact.

    This is why I say "GO FOR IT" whenever I read about a skater getting an endorsement or cashing in when they can. They honestly *deserve* it. And that's all I have to say about that.

  12. #12
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    How much do skaters make for the Disson shows? Is the pay based on who the skater is? I'm sure certain skaters probably make more than others.

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    Who pays for the skaters hotels at events? I know in Canada at least the official hotel is often the best one (=most expensive) one in town....I'm assuming they have to stay at the official hotel, it's a shame it's always such an expensive place. But then again, maybe they get a group rate too

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    Yes, there's a group rate at the official hotels.

    At international competitions the federation pays the skater's expenses. At national competitions, the skater pays, and for coaches' expenses as well.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    Yes, there's a group rate at the official hotels.

    At international competitions the federation pays the skater's expenses. At national competitions, the skater pays, and for coaches' expenses as well.
    At international competitions the skaters pays for the coaches expenses as well!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by nyrak View Post
    Who pays for the skaters hotels at events? I know in Canada at least the official hotel is often the best one (=most expensive) one in town....I'm assuming they have to stay at the official hotel, it's a shame it's always such an expensive place. But then again, maybe they get a group rate too
    No, they don't have to stay at the official hotel and many don't to save money. They also will bunk up to save money and some coaches will share with their skaters so their skaters can save money. [This is US Nationals. I can't speak for other countries.]

  17. #17
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    I think the percentage of skaters who make enough money to never have to work again is extremely small.
    I'd say "extremely small", as in maybe a handful, but I think there probably are a couple dozen or more who earn enough to cover their current skating and living expenses, between prize money, show/tour earnings, corporate sponsors, and whatever they get from their federations.

    For example, skaters who made the GP finals probably earned a minimum of $30,000 in GP prize money. ($61,000 could be won if a skater wins their 2 events plus the Finals. For pairs & dance, the prize money is shared by the couple.) Last year's World Champions won $45,000 ($67,500 for pairs & dance). The 10th place finishers got $3,000 and $4,500. Prize money is also available for Europeans and 4CC for skaters who place top 12 ($20K -$1K for singles).

    So, if a single skater won everything available, they'd be looking at $126,000 between those events. That sounds like a lot, but as mentioned above, they need to cover coaches travel & fees, rink fees (unless they have some sort of deal), off ice training expenses, plus living expenses. So, additional revenue from shows and tours really make the difference for even the top skaters. Obviously, skaters not good enough to get show or tour engagements won't see any profit and depend on part-time jobs, subsidies of their federations, families, and/or sponsors.
    Last edited by Susan M; 01-12-2013 at 10:40 PM.

  18. #18

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    Thanks for all the interesting info.; as I said before makes me appreciate each and every skater even moreso knowing that they're doing what they're doing without profit being a motivating factor, though who wouldn't enjoy doing what one loves doing and earning a living off of it as well, the best of the both worlds.

    This brings to mind Donlan & Speroff. IIRC I remember reading something on the 'net (maybe their official site) wherein Andrew mentioned their dream is to skate professionally in a show, of course after their amateur skating career comes to an end. But in order to do, as Susan M. mentioned up above, they need to be "good enough", and that means results. Namely a National Title, World Medal, GP medal, 4CC Medal, and if extremely lucky an Olympic Medal.

    Still, in this day & age I doubt any skater (except an Olympic Medalist) will ever be able to pay their parents' back and live well off skating, though landing a permanent part in a skating show/tour isn't bad either, at least it will allow the skater(s) to make a living off what they love to do, the best of both worlds!

  19. #19

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    I compiled a list of ISU prize money amounts in this GSD thread about funding (note: I believe prize money is taxed depending on the country that hosts the competition; also "The ISU Member of skaters who have been awarded prize money may retain a maximum of 10 %" - AFAIK the USFS doesn't take a cut: http://www.fsuniverse.net/forum/show...port-amp-prize
    Last edited by Sylvia; 01-13-2013 at 04:47 AM.
    "Randy [Starkman (1960-April 16, 2012)] lived by the same motto as the rest of us. The Olympics isn’t every four years, it’s every single day. He just got it." --Canadian Olympic kayaker Adam van Koeverden

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Susan M View Post
    I'd say "extremely small", as in maybe a handful, but I think there probably are a couple dozen or more who earn enough to cover their current skating and living expenses, between prize money, show/tour earnings, corporate sponsors, and whatever they get from their federations.

    For example, skaters who made the GP finals probably earned a minimum of $30,000 in GP prize money. ($61,000 could be won if a skater wins their 2 events plus the Finals. For pairs & dance, the prize money is shared by the couple.) Last year's World Champions won $45,000 ($67,500 for pairs & dance). The 10th place finishers got $3,000 and $4,500. Prize money is also available for Europeans and 4CC for skaters who place top 12 ($20K -$1K for singles).

    So, if a single skater won everything available, they'd be looking at $126,000 between those events. That sounds like a lot, but as mentioned above, they need to cover coaches travel & fees, rink fees (unless they have some sort of deal), off ice training expenses, plus living expenses. So, additional revenue from shows and tours really make the difference for even the top skaters. Obviously, skaters not good enough to get show or tour engagements won't see any profit and depend on part-time jobs, subsidies of their federations, families, and/or sponsors.
    If any skater can win every competetion like you said, they have to win OM and obviously will have a dozen sponsors

    Well, so I guess Yuna Kim is really exceptional case I have ever seen. Last year she still earned about $7 million without any competition And around 2010 Olympic, she had earned $10 million

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