GOBankingRates

How Much Athletes Make for Playoff Runs in the NBA, NFL and Other Sports

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Julio Cortez/AP / Shutterstock.com

The coronavirus utterly remade the face of America in 2020, annihilating many aspects of everyday life in a sudden and unexpected way. And while the loss of the postseason for major sports leagues wasn’t top of mind for most people, it still represented a painful step.

Read: Injuries Cost These 13 Athletes a Fortune

However, while the pain for sports fans was potentially missing out on the excitement of postseasons, for the athletes themselves it was a loss on income. Income that might not be a lot in the context of star players’ massive salaries, but it’s easy to forget there’s a lot more at stake for the role players who often make up significant portions of rosters. For someone making the league minimum, say, while also dealing with virtually zero job security in a field where most careers won’t last into a second decade, playoff checks can be an essential boost to their finances.

Read More: Pro Athletes Who Have Lost Millions of Dollars

That’s why GOBankingRates laid out exactly how much pro athletes would miss out on come playoff time if their leagues were unable to hold games. That includes both the per-team (or per-player, for the NFL) payouts for each round and the total money earned by each playoff team, using the most recent figures from the 2019 seasons. So, take a closer look at how a canceled postseason could have affected the finances of the world’s best athletes — and still might in the future.

Last updated: July 26, 2021

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NFL

The NFL playoff roster includes 53 players and is paid out on a per-player basis, making it unique as the other three major American sports leagues pay bonuses to the team and allow them to divvy it up. Should the NFL manage to play a normal playoffs in 2021, the expected per-player bonus pay would be:

  • Wild-card round
    • Division winner: $33,000
    • Other: $30,000
  • Divisional round: $33,000
  • Conference championships: $59,000
  • Super Bowl
    • Winner: $130,000
    • Loser: $65,000

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Adrian Kraus/AP/REX / Shutterstock.com

Buffalo Bills

  • Player’s total playoff earnings: $28,000
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $239,000
  • Potential earnings achieved: 11.72%

Pictured: Josh Allen

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Lynne Sladky/AP / Shutterstock.com

Philadelphia Eagles

  • Player’s total playoff earnings: $31,000
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $242,000
  • Potential earnings achieved: 12.81%

Pictured: Jason Kelce

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Butch Dill/AP / Shutterstock.com

New Orleans Saints

  • Player’s total playoff earnings: $31,000
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $242,000
  • Potential earnings achieved: 12.81%

Pictured: Drew Brees

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New England Patriots

  • Player’s total playoff earnings: $31,000
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $242,000
  • Potential earnings achieved: 12.81%

Pictured: Julian Edelman

Gail Burton/AP / Shutterstock.com

Baltimore Ravens

  • Player’s total playoff earnings: $31,000
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $211,000
  • Potential earnings achieved: 14.69%

Pictured: Earl Thomas

Bill Feig/AP / Shutterstock.com

Minnesota Vikings

  • Player’s total playoff earnings: $59,000
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $239,000
  • Potential earnings achieved: 24.69%

Pictured: Kirk Cousins

Elaine Thompson/AP / Shutterstock.com

Seattle Seahawks

  • Player’s total playoff earnings: $59,000
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $239,000
  • Potential earnings achieved: 24.69%

Pictured: Russell Wilson

David J Phillip/AP / Shutterstock.com

Houston Texans

  • Player’s total playoff earnings: $62,000
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $242,000
  • Potential earnings achieved: 25.62%

Pictured: J.J. Watt

Mike Roemer/AP / Shutterstock.com

Green Bay Packers

  • Player’s total playoff earnings: $87,000
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $211,000
  • Potential earnings achieved: 41.23%

Pictured: Za’Darius Smith

©Jason Pohuski/CSM/REX/Shutterstock

Tennessee Titans

  • Player’s total playoff earnings: $115,000
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $239,000
  • Potential earnings achieved: 48.12%

Pictured: Taylor Lewan

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San Francisco 49ers

  • Player’s total playoff earnings: $149,000
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $211,000
  • Potential earnings achieved: 70.62%

Pictured: Jimmy Garoppolo

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Ed Zurga/AP / Shutterstock.com

Kansas City Chiefs

  • Player’s total playoff earnings: $211,000
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $211,000
  • Potential earnings achieved: 100.00%

Pictured: Patrick Mahomes

tookapic / Pixabay

NBA

Here’s a look at what each NBA team would have split for reaching and/or advancing in the playoffs:

  • Best record in NBA: $625,143
  • Best record in conference: $547,101
  • Second-best record in conference: $437,677
  • Third-best record in conference: $328,254
  • Fourth-best record in conference: $267,703
  • Fifth-best record in conference: $207,152
  • Sixth-best record in conference: $146,601
  • Teams participating in first round: $323,506
  • Teams participating in conference semifinals: $384,930
  • Teams participating in conference finals: $636,094
  • Losing team, NBA Finals: $2,543,681
  • Winning team, NBA Finals: $3,838,798
John G Mabanglo/EPA-EFE / Shutterstock.com

Los Angeles Clippers

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $323,506
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $5,183,328
  • Potential earnings achieved: 6.24%
  • Average earnings for each player: $19,030

Pictured: Montrezl Harrell

Erik S Lesser/EPA-EFE / Shutterstock.com

Detroit Pistons

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $323,506
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $5,183,328
  • Potential earnings achieved: 6.24%
  • Average earnings for each player: $19,030

Pictured: Langston Galloway

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Tannen Maury/EPA-EFE / Shutterstock.com

Orlando Magic

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $323,506
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $5,183,328
  • Potential earnings achieved: 6.24%
  • Average earnings for each player: $19,030

Pictured: D.J. Augustin

Kyle Terada/Pool/EPA-EFE / Shutterstock.com

San Antonio Spurs

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $323,506
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $5,183,328
  • Potential earnings achieved: 6.24%
  • Average earnings for each player: $19,030

Pictured: LaMarcus Aldridge

Kyle Phillips/AP / Shutterstock.com

Oklahoma City Thunder

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $470,107
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $5,329,929
  • Potential earnings achieved: 8.82%
  • Average earnings for each player: $27,653

Pictured: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Peter Foley/EPA-EFE / Shutterstock.com

Brooklyn Nets

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $470,107
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $5,329,929
  • Potential earnings achieved: 8.82%
  • Average earnings for each player: $27,653

Pictured: Spencer Dinwiddie

Rick Bowmer/AP / Shutterstock.com

Utah Jazz

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $530,658
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $5,390,480
  • Potential earnings achieved: 9.84%
  • Average earnings for each player: $31,215

Pictured: Donovan Mitchell

©Michael Conroy/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Indiana Pacers

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $530,658
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $5,390,480
  • Potential earnings achieved: 9.84%
  • Average earnings for each player: $31,215

Pictured: Victor Oladipo

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Boston Celtics

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $976,139
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $5,451,031
  • Potential earnings achieved: 17.91%
  • Average earnings for each player: $57,420

Pictured: Enes Kanter

Erik S Lesser/EPA-EFE / Shutterstock.com

Houston Rockets

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $976,139
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $5,451,031
  • Potential earnings achieved: 17.91%
  • Average earnings for each player: $57,420

Pictured: James Harden

Matt Slocum/AP / Shutterstock.com

Philadelphia 76ers

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $1,036,690
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $5,511,582
  • Potential earnings achieved: 18.81%
  • Average earnings for each player: $60,982

Pictured: Ben Simmons

Erik S Lesser/EPA-EFE / Shutterstock.com

Denver Nuggets

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $1,146,113
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $5,621,005
  • Potential earnings achieved: 20.39%
  • Average earnings for each player: $67,418

Pictured: Paul Millsap

Keeton Gale / Shutterstock.com

Portland Trail Blazers

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $1,672,784
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $5,511,582
  • Potential earnings achieved: 30.35%
  • Average earnings for each player: $98,399

Pictured: Damian Lillard

Tannen Maury/EPA-EFE / Shutterstock.com

Milwaukee Bucks

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $2,516,774
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $6,355,572
  • Potential earnings achieved: 39.60%
  • Average earnings for each player: $148,046

Pictured: Khris Middleton

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Golden State Warriors

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $4,435,312
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $5,730,429
  • Potential earnings achieved: 77.40%
  • Average earnings for each player: $260,901

Pictured: Steph Curry

Justin Lane/EPA-EFE / Shutterstock.com

Toronto Raptors

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $5,621,005
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $5,621,005
  • Potential earnings achieved: 100.00%
  • Average earnings for each player: $330,647

Pictured: Kyle Lowry

Leonard Zhukovsky / Shutterstock.com

NHL

Here’s what playoff bonuses look like for NHL teams:

  • Presidents’ Trophy winner: $615,385
  • First-round losers: $307,692
  • Second-round losers: $615,385
  • Third-round losers: $1,538,462
  • Stanley Cup finalists: $2,769,231
  • Stanley Cup champion: $4,615,385
Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP / Shutterstock.com

Toronto Maple Leafs

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $307,692
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $4,615,385
  • Potential earnings achieved: 6.67%
  • Average earnings for each player: $12,308

Pictured: William Nylander

Nick Wass/AP / Shutterstock.com

Washington Capitals

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $307,692
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $4,615,385
  • Potential earnings achieved: 6.67%
  • Average earnings for each player: $12,308

Pictured: Alex Ovechkin

©Billy Hurst/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Pittsburgh Penguins

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $307,692
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $4,615,385
  • Potential earnings achieved: 6.67%
  • Average earnings for each player: $12,308

Pictured: Sidney Crosby

Mark Humphrey/AP / Shutterstock.com

Nashville Predators

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $307,692
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $4,615,385
  • Potential earnings achieved: 6.67%
  • Average earnings for each player: $12,308

Pictured: Matt Duchene

Nick Wass/AP / Shutterstock.com

Winnipeg Jets

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $307,692
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $4,615,385
  • Potential earnings achieved: 6.67%
  • Average earnings for each player: $12,308

Pictured: Laurent Brossoit

Wilfredo Lee/AP / Shutterstock.com

Calgary Flames

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $307,692
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $4,615,385
  • Potential earnings achieved: 6.67%
  • Average earnings for each player: $12,308

Pictured: Andrew Mangiapane

John Locher/AP / Shutterstock.com

Las Vegas Golden Knights

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $307,692
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $4,615,385
  • Potential earnings achieved: 6.67%
  • Average earnings for each player: $12,308

Pictured: Nate Schmidt

David Zalubowski/AP / Shutterstock.com

Colorado Avalanche

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $615,385
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $4,615,385
  • Potential earnings achieved: 13.33%
  • Average earnings for each player: $24,615

Pictured: Erik Johnson

Michael Ainsworth/AP / Shutterstock.com

Dallas Stars

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $615,385
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $4,615,385
  • Potential earnings achieved: 13.33%
  • Average earnings for each player: $24,615

Pictured: Jamie Oleksiak

Jim McIsaac/AP / Shutterstock.com

New York Islanders

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $615,385
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $4,615,385
  • Potential earnings achieved: 13.33%
  • Average earnings for each player: $24,615

Pictured: Michael Dal Colle

Jay LaPrete/AP / Shutterstock.com

Columbus Blue Jackets

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $615,385
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $4,615,385
  • Potential earnings achieved: 13.33%
  • Average earnings for each player: $24,615

Pictured: Pierre-Luc Dubois

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Winslow Townson/AP / Shutterstock.com

Tampa Bay Lightning

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $923,077
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $5,230,769
  • Potential earnings achieved: 17.65%
  • Average earnings for each player: $36,923

Pictured: Yanni Gourde

Paul Beaty/AP / Shutterstock.com

San Jose Sharks

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $1,538,462
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $4,615,385
  • Potential earnings achieved: 33.33%
  • Average earnings for each player: $61,538

Pictured: Joe Thornton

Jim McIsaac/AP / Shutterstock.com

Carolina Hurricanes

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $1,538,462
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $4,615,385
  • Potential earnings achieved: 33.33%
  • Average earnings for each player: $61,538

Pictured: Anton Forsberg

Matt Slocum/AP / Shutterstock.com

Boston Bruins

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $2,769,231
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $4,615,385
  • Potential earnings achieved: 60.00%
  • Average earnings for each player: $110,769

Pictured: Brad Marchand

Jeff Roberson/AP / Shutterstock.com

St. Louis Blues

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $4,615,385
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $4,615,385
  • Potential earnings achieved: 100.00%
  • Average earnings for each player: $184,615

Pictured: Justin Faulk

HE Photography / Shutterstock.com

MLB

Here’s what each team receives in playoff bonuses for the MLB:

  • Wild-card losers: $1,212,917
  • Division series losers: $2,627,987
  • League championship series losers: $9,703,337
  • World Series loser: $19,406,675
  • World Series winner: $29,110,012
John Froschauer/AP / Shutterstock.com

Oakland A’s

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $1,212,917
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $29,110,012
  • Potential earnings achieved: 4.17%
  • Average earnings for each player: $15,932

Pictured: Matt Chapman, left, Matt Olson, center, and Jesus Luzardo

David Zalubowski/AP / Shutterstock.com

Milwaukee Brewers

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $1,212,917
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $29,110,012
  • Potential earnings achieved: 4.17%
  • Average earnings for each player: $15,932

Pictured: Lorenzo Cain

John Minchillo/AP / Shutterstock.com

Atlanta Braves

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $2,627,987
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $29,110,012
  • Potential earnings achieved: 9.03%
  • Average earnings for each player: $34,518

Pictured: Ozzie Albies

Mark J Terrill/AP / Shutterstock.com

Los Angeles Dodgers

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $2,627,987
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $29,110,012
  • Potential earnings achieved: 9.03%
  • Average earnings for each player: $34,518

Pictured: Clayton Kershaw

Elise Amendola/AP / Shutterstock.com

Tampa Bay Rays

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $2,627,987
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $29,110,012
  • Potential earnings achieved: 9.03%
  • Average earnings for each player: $34,518

Pictured: Ji-Man Choi

Frank Franklin II/AP / Shutterstock.com

Minnesota Twins

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $2,627,987
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $29,110,012
  • Potential earnings achieved: 9.03%
  • Average earnings for each player: $34,518

Pictured: Miguel Sano, left, and Max Kepler

JUSTIN LANE/EPA-EFE / Shutterstock.com

New York Yankees

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $9,703,337
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $29,110,012
  • Potential earnings achieved: 33.33%
  • Average earnings for each player: $127,453

Pictured: Gerrit Cole

Jeff Roberson/AP / Shutterstock.com

St. Louis Cardinals

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $9,703,337
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $29,110,012
  • Potential earnings achieved: 33.33%
  • Average earnings for each player: $127,453

Pictured: Yadier Molina

Nick Wass/AP / Shutterstock.com

Houston Astros

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $19,406,675
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $29,110,012
  • Potential earnings achieved: 66.67%
  • Average earnings for each player: $254,905

Pictured: Justin Verlander

David J Phillip/AP / Shutterstock.com

Washington Nationals

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $29,110,012
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $29,110,012
  • Potential earnings achieved: 100.00%
  • Average earnings for each player: $382,358

Pictured: The Washington Nationals celebrate after winning Game 7 of the 2019 World Series against the Houston Astros.

More From GOBankingRates

    Methodology: GOBankingRates looked at collective bargaining agreements and players playoff benefit pools across the four major U.S. professional sports leagues to determine how much players make for their league’s respective playoffs. Using these sources from Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League, GOBankingrates found the following for each league’s most recent playoff teams: (1) total postseason earnings; (2) total potential postseason earning for each team; (3) percent of potential postseason earnings achieved; and (4) average postseason earning for each individual player. All data was collected on and up to date as of March 23, 2020.