Infographic Looks at Odds of Becoming a Professional Athlete

Thanks to, we have some data and an infographic to look at which includes the odds of becoming a US sports star. The odds were calculated on the basis of how many people participate in sports from school level and college level against how many players actually made it to professional teams last draft. The piece also looks at the average salary of each sport for 2016.

See the full infographic here and more information below:

Have you ever dreamed of hitting a home run in front of a packed stadium screaming your name? How about nailing a mid range jump shot as the crowd goes wild? For most of us, our sporting fantasies are reserved for teenage daydreams and idle hours in the office. For the upper echelons of the sporting world, however, these sports stardom daydreams have become a reality.

So how many young aspiring Maya Moores and Mike Trouts ever make it to the Big Leagues? In a brand new infographic has crunched the numbers and digested the data to reveal the exact odds of making it to the top of your game, whether you’re into baseball, soccer, ice hockey football or basketball.

Averaged out across the six sports which investigated, the data reveals that aspiring players have a 1 in 6,608 chance of being drafted from high school.

The infographic also reveals that there are some sports for which the daydreams are almost certainly “pie in the sky”, while for others the dreams seem slightly more attainable. A final revelation of’s infographic is the disparity between men’s sports and women’s sports. Women’s basketball was shown to be the toughest sport to go pro in (just 1 in 13,542 are drafted from high school), while also carrying the lowest average salary ($75,000compared to the $5.15 million of male players).

So how do the rest of the US’s favorite sports measure up? Here are the chances of getting drafted into each from high school and the average salary for each sport:

Men’s ice hockey:                  1 in 590  –            Avg. salary:            $2.4 million
Men’s baseball:                      1 in 679               Avg. salary:            $3.2 million
Men’s football:                       1 in 4,287            Avg. salary:            $1.9 million
Men’s soccer:                         1 in 5,797            Avg. salary:            $250,000
Men’s basketball:                  1 in 11,512          Avg. salary:            $5.15 million
Women’s basketball:            1 in 13,542          Avg. salary:            $75,000

A huge range of factors influence which sports are the most difficult to break into. From the popularity of the sport and the gender of the players, to the number of players drafted in each year. Just 32 women are drafted into women’s basketball teams annually, while 638 men are drafted into baseball.

Ice hockey, meanwhile is an outlier. Although just 60 players are drafted in annually, the chances of making it onto a professional team from a college team are a comparatively low 1 in 66. The reason? With so much equipment and facilities required, ice hockey is a sport which many cannot afford to get into at a young age. If you’re lucky enough to get started early, your chances of making it are higher than in any other sport on our list. It would be interesting, but difficult to measure the odds of more individual sports like tennis, golf or even bowling.

Whether your youngster is in a high school team or you play at college level yourself, this amazing infographic will tell you exactly which odds you need to beat to finally achieve sports hero status. If you happen to be one in 6,608, you may just stand a chance!

Rick Limpert

Rick Limpert is an award winning Atlanta-based freelance writer, columnist, host of The Tech of Sports Podcast and best-selling author. He has covered sports, technology and events all over the world. His works have been featured on Yahoo Sports, Yahoo News,, and in Sports Illustrated.

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