The Highest Paid Female Athletes

By Ben Hamill - November 25 2018

When you hear that the top prize in the United States Open tennis championships is a rather sizeable $3,8 million, it sort of makes you want to take up sport professionally yourself. But, of course, unless you were slamming a tennis ball onto a court by the time you were 5, chances are you aren’t going to be making the cut. As most sports played on a professional level, the skill, determination, and dedication required is astonishing, regardless of gender. But it is still only tennis in which female players receive equal pay to male athletes. Eight of the top ten highest paid female athletes are tennis stars, which stands to reason, given the previous statement. If looking at a sport like NBA, it can be roughly calculated that the male players earn around 100 times that of the female players in the WNBA. A rather pronounced difference, to say the least. Be that as it may, the top 10 female tennis players in the world are still bringing in some big money, thanks in no small part to some extremely lucrative brand deals. These are the top 5 highest earning female athletes in the world.

#1 Serena Williams

When most think of ladies tennis, the first name that probably pops into their head is Serena Williams. What’s most amazing is that Serena has been on a 14-month break, after the public announcement of her pregnancy in January 2017. This means that her income from professional tennis was a rather modest $62,000. Yet, her total earnings for the year still exceeded a stunning $18 million. She managed this by being the most endorsed female athlete on the planet; with so many sponsors that mentioning them all reads like a shopping list. Nike, JP Morgan, Beats By Dre and Intel are just a few of the brands that she endorses. To put it another way, only 16 other athletes, male or female, earned more than Serena in 2018. And this was while she was on a break. Serena Williams on court

#2 Caroline Wozniacki

Caroline Wozniacki made big waves in 2018, wowing the world with her first ever Grand Slam title. Of course, winning a big tournament brings massive rewards, certainly in the earnings department. Her $7 million in prize money for the year is a sure sign of the big win. Plus, add to that her extra $6 million in brand deals, and you have a total of around $13 million. But then, with Adidas and Rolex backing you, the annual paychecks are sure to be impressive.

#3 Sloane Stephens

The tennis world is watching Sloane Stephens closely, as she is only just getting started in her tennis career. But that didn’t stop her from being the third biggest earner in the world. 2018 saw her take home a not too shabby $5.7 million in professional tennis earnings alone. This figure was almost doubled with an additional $5.5 million from various brand endorsements, including Nike, Colgate and Mercedes-Benz. Word is that she will soon be hot on Serena’s heels, but that remains to be seen.

#4 Garbiñe Muguruza

Winning Wimbledon is sure to put a little spring in your step, as well as a major boost in your bank account. Muguruza earned slightly less Sloane in the professional tennis department, at $5.5 million, but just as much as far as endorsements go, bringing the grand total to a nice round $11 million. Rolex likewise sponsors her. #5 Maria Sharapova Maria Sharapova is one of the big names in tennis, which is amazing when you take into account that she did not win any major tournaments in 2018, or even recently. Therefore, her professional tennis earnings are a comparably very low $1 million. So how did she manage to make it onto the top 5 list, you’re wondering? Via nothing but brand deals, and her personal brand alone. She brought in a whopping $9.5 million, with Nike and Porsche endorsing her in enormous brand contracts. There have been mutters though, that she will have to up her tennis game to keep landing such lucrative deals. Perhaps, on the other hand, she is just about ready to make a full transition out of the sporting world, and embrace full time marketing?