Football coach Vince Lombardi is often quoted as having once said, “Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.” There is an enormous emotional high that comes with winning a championship in professional sports and being awarded a coveted trophy.
From the Vince Lombardi Super Bowl Trophy to the Stanley Cup, the most iconic trophies are not cheap. Here’s a breakdown of how much the major sports trophies in North America are worth, from least to most.
- The Stanley Cup is the most valuable trophy among major North American sports, coming in at a reported $23,000. It’s one of the oldest championship trophies around and is not re-created each year.
- The Super Bowl trophy is valued at $10,000.
- The trophy for the World Series winner is valued at $19,000, while the NBA Finals trophy stands at $13,500.
Super Bowl Trophy: $10,000+
The Vince Lombardi Trophy is awarded to the National Football League (NFL) champion each year. The trophy is nearly two feet tall, made entirely of sterling silver, and features a regulation-sized football in kickoff position. It’s created from scratch each year by Tiffany & Co. and, according to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, is worth more than $10,000. The value of the silver used to make the trophy, however, according to unit prices as of February 2021, is around $2,900. The words “Vince Lombardi Trophy” and the NFL shield are engraved onto the base.
After the Super Bowl, the nearly seven-pound trophy is presented to the winning team, then sent back to Tiffany to be cleaned and engraved with the winning team’s name, the date, and the final score of the game. The trophy is then sent back to the winning team for them to keep.
Tiffany & Co. is responsible for the current design of the Super Bowl, World Series, and NBA Finals trophies.
NBA Finals Trophy: $13,500
The Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy is given to the top National Basketball Association (NBA) team each year. Basketball’s biggest prize is named after the man who headed the league for nine years, from 1975 to 1984.
The current silver trophy, also by Tiffany and designed in 1984, weighs 16 pounds with a 24-karat gold overlay. It also stands two feet tall, with a nine-inch basketball going through the hoop. Valued at $13,500, the trophy is remade every year, with the winning team keeping that year’s version to display in their home arena.
World Series Trophy: $19,000
The Commissioner’s Trophy is awarded yearly to Major League Baseball (MLB)’s top team. Even though there has been a World Series since 1903 (except for 1904 and 1994), the trophy wasn’t awarded until 1967. As with the Lombardi Trophy and the NBA Finals trophy, a new Commissioner’s Trophy is created each year.
The current trophy design, also produced by Tiffany, was tweaked a bit in 2000. It’s nearly 20 pounds of sterling silver and is said to be valued at almost $19,000. It’s also two feet tall, weighs around 30 pounds with 30 gold-plated flags—one for each MLB team—grouped around a silver baseball that contains 24-karat gold vermeil stitches.
Stanley Cup: $23,000+
The National Hockey League’s championship trophy, the Stanley Cup, is the oldest championship trophy still being awarded to a professional sports team. In 1892, a former aide of the then-governor-general of Canada, Lord Stanley, bought a punch bowl from a London silversmith for what amounted to $50 (just more than $1,100 today) to reward the top hockey club in Canada. The Cup initially stood about seven inches tall and about a foot in diameter.
Over the years, tiered rings were added to the bottom of the bowl, then long narrow bands, then uneven bands. Bands are often retired to make room for new champions. At nearly three feet high and weighing more than 34 pounds, the current Cup dwarfs the others and is worth more than $23,000.
Despite its size, the Cup does a lot of traveling: Each member of the winning team, as well as the coaching, training and office staffs, gets possession of the trophy for 24 hours during the off-season.
The Bottom Line
What this story cannot convey, of course, is the emotional cost of the tireless effort and commitment that players have to expend to win these trophies. Love of the sport and winning the big prize are something on which you can’t place a dollar value.