'American Ninja Warrior' Has Hefty Prize Money to Attract Contestants

Stephanie Harper - Author

Jun. 12 2023, Updated 1:26 p.m. ET

A male contestant competing on 'American Ninja Warrior.'
Source: NBC

Since 2009, American Ninja Warrior has been a hit reality TV show. It’s currently on Season 15 on NBC. The show invites individuals from all walks of life (and anywhere around the country) to join the cast. If you choose to join the cast, you are agreeing to attempt one of the world's most difficult and complex obstacle courses.

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The show is so binge-worthy because the contestants tend to have infectious personalities, inspiring family stories, and motivational drives that are pulling them in the right direction. They also tend to be athletically inclined in some incredibly impressive ways. What does the money prize look like for the winner of American Ninja Warrior?

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How much prize money does the winner of 'American Ninja Warrior' take home?

Now that American Ninja Warrior is in Season 15, its prize fund has grown to quite an astonishing amount. According to NBC, the ninja who completes all four final stages at the National Finals takes home a whopping $1 million.

Interestingly enough, American Ninja Warrior doesn’t allocate the $1 million prize money to a winner in every single season of the show. In most seasons, no one completes the final obstacles. In those cases, contestants who complete all six obstacles within a set period of time "earn a shot at the $10,000 prize," per NBC.

Since the show's inception, only two individuals have walked away with a $1 million bag.

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Isaac Caldiero won America Ninja Warrior Season 7 and Drew Drechsel took home the win in Season 11. In August 2020, NBC News reported that Drew was arrested in connection with charges stemming from child sex-related charges. The network has since cut ties with the Season 11 winner.

Since there's so much money on the line, contestants are willing to do whatever it takes in order to win. American Ninja Warrior's long-time commentator Akbar Gbajabiamila says that a lot of preparation is needed to get ready for a show like this.

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He told TV Insider, “These athletes have trained so hard in the past year. The veterans are back with a year of experience and time to reflect on how they can better compete with what seems like the unstoppable teenagers.”

For most people, $1 million is enough to change their life — and that’s probably why so many athletes signed up for Season 15.

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Which athlete won Season 14 of 'American Ninja Warrior'?

In Season 14 of the show, Mady Howard was one of the fan favorites. According to Deseret, she was seen as the show's “breakout star" and was considered a “top competitor." One of the things that made Mady so interesting is that she gave birth to her child a mere six months before the filming started.

Mady opened up about her birth timeline, saying, “I definitely went into the season just giving myself grace and just knowing that my baby was my first priority, but also just trying to push myself to be as physically and mentally prepared as I could."

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Mady also talked about her skill set and athleticism: “There’s always something new that I can learn. There’s always something that I could be better at. And so it’s never like you’ve reached a destination. There are constantly things that I want to improve on. So that motivates me to keep going."

While many were rooting for Mady to win, Kaden Lebsack was named the winner of Season 14 of American Ninja Warrior.

You can catch new episodes of American Ninja Warrior on NBC on Monday nights at 8 p.m. EST.

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