ISL Ups Total Prize Money to $6.9 Million in Season 3

The International Swimming League announced $6.9 million in cumulative season prize money distributions for season 3, the most in the nascent league’s history.

That follows the news that this season’s “solidarity grants” have been slashed by 50%, representing a $2.6 million budget cut, but that racing-specific prize money will increase this year.

Last year, there was about $3.780 million in prize money up for grabs in just race placement awards, which will climb to $5,236,400 this year. That comes out to $275,600 per match for all matches except the final, which awards $551,200.

Click here to view the full solidarity payment and race prize money breakdown.

This season, the league will again dish out team bonuses at the conclusion of every match. All 28 members of each of the top teams in each regular season/playoff match, along with the top four grand final teams, will receive an equal payment based on the team’s placing.

This totals a $1,075,200 in bonuses, as outlined below.

ISL Season 3 Team Bonuses
Regular Season (11 Matches)
Rank Prize per Athlete Total
1st $800 $246,400
2nd $400 $123,200
3rd $200 $61,600
Playoffs (6 Matches)
Rank Prize per Athlete Total
1st $1,000 $168,000
2nd $600 $100,800
3rd $400 $67,200
Grand Final
Rank Prize per Athlete Total
1st $5,000 $140,000
2nd $3,000 $84,000
3rd $2,000 $56,000
4th $1,000 $28,000
Total $1,075,200

There will also be top individual MVP bonuses available at each of the 17 matches this season. Last season, the top three finishers in the MVP ranks at each meet in each phase of the season received bonuses, whereas this season, it’s just the top finisher.

A regular season match MVP will earn $8,000, a playoff match MVP will be awarded $10,000, and the grand final MVP prize will be $20,000.

Per-Meet MVP Bonuses
Regular Season $8,000
Playoffs MVP $10,000
Grand Final MVP $20,000

The top 10 ISL athletes at the end of the season, based on cumulative points, will be awarded a combined $430,000, with the top finisher receiving a $100,000 prize. This is the same structure as last year.

Season MVP Bonus Prize Money
Rank Prize
1st $100,000
2nd $80,000
3rd $60,000
4th $50,000
5th $40,000
6th $30,000
7th $25,000
8th $20,000
9th $15,000
10th $10,000
Total $430,000

In total, that means there will be $6,909,600 in prize money awarded throughout season 3, excluding the individual solidarity grants. In 2020, there was $6,050,000 in total prize money offered, which was a 2.5x increase than the 2019 season ($2,580,400).

Prize money this season appears to be effectively same, minus overall finish bonuses, with the bulk of the money increase coming from per-race prize money.

Total ISL Season 3 Prize Money
Total Regular Season Matches $3,031,600
Total Playoffs $1,653,600
Total Grand Final $551,200
Total Regular Season Team Bonuses $431,200
Total Playoffs Team Bonuses $336,000
Total Regular Season Team Bonuses $308,000
Total Regular Season MVP Bonus $88,000
Total Playoffs MVP Bonus $60,000
Total Grand Final MVP Bonus $20,000
Total Season MVP Bonus Prize Money $430,000


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The unoriginal Tim
2 years ago

Schrodingers Prize Money at this point?

2 years ago

Still haven’t gotten my money from last year lol

Ex-Isl Swimmer
Reply to  Cavalur
2 years ago

Same. Watching this season go on without pay is a slap in the face.

2 years ago

Dear Swimmers, IOU $6.9M signed, some rich Ukranian dude

Caeleb’s left suit string
2 years ago

6.9. nice.

2 years ago

I don’t like that they’ve done away with 2nd and 3rd MVP prizes. A big issue in swimming is that only Olympic gold medalists really make any money, and ISL was supposed to help with that. Focussing all the money on only the best swimmer is kind of counterintuitive.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Sub13
2 years ago

The league is set up to pay the best teams a lot more than the bad teams, too.

Reply to  Steve Nolan
2 years ago

This is typical in all professional sports. Why do you have an issue with swimming doing the same?

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Canuswim
2 years ago

I’m gonna refer you back to Sub13’s comment: “A big issue in swimming is that only Olympic gold medalists really make any money.”

And the bonuses playoff or championship-winning teams get in other professional sports are nowhere near the percentage of overall compensation as in the ISL.

Last edited 2 years ago by Steve Nolan
Reply to  Steve Nolan
2 years ago

Swim fast and you will make money. Lots of up and coming names on top 10 MVP list that are not gold medalists and enjoying winnings.

Reply to  Steve Nolan
2 years ago

So you think good teams should be paid similar to bad teams?

An interesting idea would be to allow retention of only 5 swimmers in the draft vs 15.

Reply to  Canuswim
2 years ago

Comparing to other leagues doesn’t really work, because in this system, everything is being funded by one owner.

In other sports leagues in the Americas, while the OWNERS of different teams don’t make the same amount of money (and, in fact, owners of bad teams sometimes make more than owners of good teams, depending on market size), the ATHLETES on all teams make approximately the same from salaries. In the NBA, for example, the lowest salary aggregate is $92 million. Highest is $173 million. So that’s less than double. Also, the team paying $92 million isn’t the worst team in the league. In the NBA last season, the salaries of the worst teams in the league was $129 million, while… Read more »

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Canuswim
2 years ago

Gonna mostly go with “yup, what Braden said.” And I just wanted to piggyback on his point that the worst team in the ISL will never beat the best team – it’s super obvious in the rec league I coach for where we have 60 scored events, it’s almost that “the law of large numbers” takes over. If one team has better swimmers in terms of both top end quality and overall depth, you’re only gonna get so many upsets from the bad team and so many poor swims from the good team. (And because of that, and you’re on a bad team, there’s pretty much nothing you can do to get those team bonuses.)

I don’t even know… Read more »

Garbage yardage
2 years ago

They should probably pay everyone from last year first

Reply to  Garbage yardage
2 years ago

Yeah. Otherwise it is called a Ponzi scheme.

2 years ago

Wonder if they’ll actually be paying everyone this time

About Nick Pecoraro

Nick Pecoraro

Nick has had the passion for swimming since his first dive in the water in middle school, immediately falling for breaststroke. Nick had expanded to IM events in his late teens, helping foster a short, but memorable NCAA Div III swim experience at Calvin University. While working on his B.A. …

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