In our soccer vs rugby article we ask, which game is the biggest, which game is the best, and which players earn the most money? We also ask which players are fitter and stronger and whether one game is more accessible and easier to play than the other.
We’re not afraid of contentious subjects here on Versus-All. We probably made a few enemies with our Ford vs Dodge and our Friends vs How I Met Your Mother articles, among others. But it’s not like us to run away from controversy and we are looking forward to this one.
Rugby vs Soccer: How Much Do Players Earn?
In terms of the money paid for player transfers and the money that is paid to the players, soccer is decades ahead of rugby. Soccer had its first million mound player transfer several decades ago and the players have been earning tens of thousands per week for at least a couple decades.
In rugby, those days might yet come. This game is growing all of the time. It is winning new fans, breaking new ground and attracting new investors. But these players are lucky if they make a million a year and in Rugby League (see Rugby Union vs Rugby League to understand the differences) it’s rare for players to earn more than £100,000 a year.
To give you an idea of how big of a gulf that is, the average football player playing at the top flight in major European leagues can expect to earn a minimum of £30,000 a week, and the average is much higher.
As for the best players in both sports, soccer players at the top of their game can earn in excess of £200,000 a week; the best rugby union players can expect to earn around £20,000 a week; and the best rugby league players will earn about £2,000 to £5,000. So, when it comes to money earned in soccer vs rugby, it’s clear who the winner is.
As discussed in our Rugby vs NFL article, rugby players are also prone to more serious injuries and brain damage. So, if you’re looking to get your kid involved with a sport, maybe soccer is the better option. You could also try snooker.
Rugby vs Soccer: Which Generates Most Money?
So, which is worth more? Well, it will come as no surprise to learn that soccer comes out on top again. After all, the players earn so much because there is so much money available from sponsorship, ticket receipts, merchandise and competition winnings.
The English Premier League, which is the biggest league in Europe, is said to be worth over £1 billion in TV money and sponsorship every year. The clubs who make it into the top five are earning an extra £50 million plus, and that’s before you factor in receipts from full-houses every week.
Rugby stadiums don’t charge as much for tickets and merchandise also tends to be cheaper. They don’t earn as much through sponsorship either and there just isn’t as much money in many areas of the game. For instance, the Women’s Rugby World Cup, is contested between part-timers and it’s only just starting to get televised in major rugby countries. Major male rugby competitions do make it onto TV and there is a lot more interest, but the domestic game is less of a draw.
The game of rugby sees a very small fraction of the amount that you see in soccer and that applies across the board. So, in terms of how much each sport is worth for soccer vs rugby, it’s soccer all the way.
Rugby vs Soccer: Fitness and Accessibility
There used to be a drinking culture in the game of rugby. This still exists to an extent, but as the game has gotten more competitive it doesn’t play as much of a role. Players can no longer get away with drinking a lot and not taking care of themselves, because “bulk” isn’t enough of an attribute to get you through anymore.
Players are fitter, stronger and faster than ever and it could be argued that they have many better attributes than soccer players. In rugby you need a lot of speed, but you also need power in both your lower half and upper half. You need to drive through tacklers and you need to bring men down. You need to be able to kick, to catch, to control an unpredictable ball and to take a hit.
Soccer players are fit as well, of course. But rugby players are as fit and they are much stronger. If you want the ultimate fitness work out, then rugby is a better game to play. But what about accessibility? Which comes out on top in soccer vs rugby there?
Well, the issue with rugby is that it’s not as easy of a game to pickup and play by yourself in your back garden. With soccer, you just need a ball and you can practice dribbling skills, tricks and even passing and shooting. With rugby, you could practice jinking and passing, but ideally you need more room, you need other people there with you and you also need equipment.
In terms of accessibility, soccer is an easier game to pickup and play. Many kids also have too much of a fear factor when it comes to playing rugby and they struggle with some of the basics.
Rugby vs Soccer: Overall
This may come across as a biased article, and one that puts soccer well in the lead. Part of that is true, because it is clear that soccer is less dangerous, generates more money and is easier to pickup and play. However, we actually prefer watching rugby. If anything, our bias should be towards rugby, but it’s not, and that’s because soccer really does have it in most areas.
Of course, in terms of enjoyment, rugby would have it for us, but that’s just matter of preference and that doesn’t make for a fair contest. Overall in a contest of rugby vs soccer, it’s soccer that wins.