ISL Prize Money To Exceed $6 Million USD In Season 2

Barry Revzin contributed to this report.

The International Swimming League has implemented significant change for its second season, including a sizeable increase in prize money.

The five-week, 13-match campaign, set to begin on Friday, will have over $6 million USD up for grabs for the athletes ($6,050,000). That total is almost 2.5x larger than last season ($2,580,400).

The increase comes from changes in racing prize money, MVP earnings and the team bonuses, not to mention there will be more meets (13 compared to last season’s seven) and more events per meet (with the addition of the 100 IM).

The total racing prize money saw a significant increase, up to $3,780,000 from $1,435,200 last season. An individual event now offers $5,200 (up from $3,900), a relay offers $10,400 (up from $7,800), and a skins event earns $16,800 (up from $11,700). An athlete winning a skins event could earn up to $9,600 (from $5,400 last season).

The breakdown per event in the regular season is as follows:

1st Place 2nd Place 3rd Place 4th Place
Individual $2,400 $1,600 $800 $400
Full Relay $4,800 $3,200 $1,600 $800
Skins Round 1 $2,400 $1,600 $800 $400
Skins Round 2 $2,400 $1,600 $800 $400
Skins Round 3 $4,800 $1,600

In the semi-finals, the prize money will be 1.5x larger, and in the final, 2x larger.

For MVP scoring, last season there was $5,000 awarded for the top scorer in each match. Now, $20,000 will be distributed amongst the top-three scorers, with the swimmer accumulating the most points earning $10,000. In total, $300,000 is available in bonuses for the MVP on a per-meet basis (for the top-three scorers), and an extra $430,000 in bonuses for the MVP across the whole season (the 10 highest overall scorers).

Theoretically, if a swimmer was the top scorer in all of their matches for the season, they could earn up to $175,000 in MVP bonuses alone. Sarah Sjostrom, the 2019 MVP, earned a total of $139,700 for the season, which included racing and team bonus prize money.

There is also an extra $1,576,000 in various team bonuses – split between $1,036,000 awarded on a per swimmer basis for the top performing clubs and $540,000 given to the clubs themselves to be awarded as they see fit.

You can find the ISL’s prize money and bonus breakdown here.

For a breakdown of this season’s scoring format, click here.

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2 years ago

The meets themselves, plus expenses for teams, coaches, and travel, must also add up. What is the ISL’s main revenue source? TV?

Joe the Grifter
2 years ago

Exciting stuff. I hope the money attracts a sizable viewership.

Reply to  Joe the Grifter
2 years ago

yeah, crazy thrill watching when theres $2000 on the line! Game changer

Joe the Grifter
Reply to  JustAnotherSwimmer
2 years ago

@Just Another Swimmer: You know what was cool? Tom Jager and Matt Biondi spending a couple of hours racing each other thirty years ago for a car (present day value $65,000). Two world records in the process!

2 years ago

A couple questions:

  1. Do the teams provide their swimmers with base salaries?
  2. Did we have the performance bonuses for all three rounds of skins last year? Adding a bonus for getting first in each round of skins definitely makes it more interesting – you might see someone just send it in the first round for the $2,400 if it is new
2 years ago

Is the ISL even making money? They give out so much!

2 years ago

Sounds nice so more money for the people who have a lot anyway… kind of the opposite what they set out to do but not surprised anymore at this point

Reply to  Swammer
2 years ago

imagine being top of the top in your sport, racing absolute best, beating half of them in your race….and getting $400 for it. Yep, ISL has turned swimming from amateur status to full on pro. I’ll be seeing these swimmers front court at NBA games, fancy stuff. And then the owner of the ISL dares call swimmers amateur compared to other sports by not attending every ISL event last season. I mean did he really expect people to live for ISL to make a couple grand here and there

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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