While the physical trophy of the World Cup is the ultimate coveted prize and getting to put both arms around it would be any team's biggest dream, the organisers of the event also want to ensure that the winners are satiated where their moolah needs are concerned.
The total prize money up for grabs in the Cricket World Cup 2011 has been almost doubled from $5 million dollars from the previous edition to over $8 million this time around. While the Champions of the tournament in 2007 took home $2.4 million and the runners-up, $1 million, the 2011 champions will be handed a cheque for $ 3 million, the new runners-up will get $1.5 million and each of the semi-finalists will get $750,000.
Indeed, The Cricket World Cup has come a long way since 1975 when the then Champions won a winners' cheque of just £4000 (about $6,000). Even inflation-adjusted, that amount from back then would be worth just £22,280 or around $33,000 today, a far cry from the prize amounts on offer at present!
So how does the winners' prize money of the Cricket World Cup compare with those of other major sporting events? Unfortunately, not very favourably. The FIFA Soccer World Cup 2010 Champions Spain, took away $30 million dollars. The club winning the Europe's regional Champions League is awarded a whopping $170! In golf's richest event - the FedEx Cup - champions walks away with a $10 million payout. Horse-racing's Dubai World Cup Night pays the winner $22 million. One of the few major sports which compares to World Cup Cricket in terms of prize-money budget is Grand Slam Tennis, which awards $1.5-2 million to its individual winner.
But at the rate the popularity of cricket is growing worldwide, especially the Indian Premier League, big bucks have started to surge in the sport. Indian batsman Gautam Gambhir's jackpot of 2.4 million in the player actions for the IPL is an ominous and promising sign that cricket could be jostling for space among the highest-paying sports in the world.