The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t stopped female sports stars’ earnings.
According to a new annual earnings list from Forbes, the top 10 female athletes earned a combined $167 million before taxes in 2021, a 23% increase from 2020 levels.
Interestingly, only one of the ten athletes on the list made more money directly from her sport than she did “off the field”.
Here is a list of the 10 highest paid female athletes and how they made their money. Forbes calculated the dollar numbers below.
10. Candice Parker $5.7 million
WNBA Sky’s Chicago Sky star Candice Parker is taking advantage of plenty of endorsement deals to counter the fact that her WNBA salary is set at $200,000 due to league rules. Parker has deals with Adidas ADS,
Capital One COF.PRL,
and CarMax KMX,
Parker also works as an NBA analyst at Turner Sports.
Parker’s earnings from last year were $200,000 in court and $5.5 million out of court.
9- Nelly Korda $5.9 million
Korda, one of the LPGA’s star golfers, won her first major in the Women’s PGA Championship.
Korda benefits from several sponsorships, including Hanwha Q Cells, a manufacturer of solar cells, and UKG, a tech company focused on workforce management, according to Forbes.
Korda’s earnings last year were $2.4 million on-cycle, and $3.5 million off-cycle.
8. Ashleigh Barty $6.9 million
Barty is the only player on this list who has made more money playing her sport than she did through other endeavours.
She was the highest earning woman based on winning the tennis championship in 2021.
Barty’s earnings from last year were $3.9 million in court, and $3 million out of court.
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7. PV Sindhu, 7.2 million
Perhaps not a household name in the US, Sindhu is a 26-year-old Badminton Star from India. Sindh has won a medal in each of the last two Olympic Games.
Sindhu has more than 3 million followers on Instagram, and has lucrative sponsorship deals with educational tech giant Byju’s and used car platform Spinny, as well as partners like Li-Ning sportswear and India’s Bank of Baroda, according to Forbes.
Sindhu’s earnings from last year were $200,000 in court, and $7 million outside of it.
6. Jin Young Koo $7.5 million
Star golfer Jin Young Koo has been one of the best female golfers for years. The South Korean golfer won the CME Group Tour tournament last year, taking home $1.5 million for that tournament alone.
Young Ko’s sponsorship deals include LG Electronics 066570,
Korean Air 003490,
Jeju SamDaSoo mineral water and Rejuran skincare products, according to Forbes.
Young Ko’s earnings from last year were $3.5 million in cycle, $4 million of that.
5- Garbiñe Muguruza – $8.8 million
Tennis star Garbiñe Muguruza won three tournaments in 2021, generating millions on the court. The Spaniard has endorsement deals with companies including Adidas, Babolat, Jaguar and Nivea.
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Muguruza’s earnings from last year were $2.8 million on tennis, and $6 million of that.
4. Simone Biles, $10.1 million
Simone Biles competed in the Tokyo Olympics last year and won the bronze medal on the balance beam. She pulled out of many events during the Tokyo Games, citing mental health issues.
It’s hard to make big money directly out of gymnastics, so Biles’ earnings mostly come from her sponsorships and brand deals. Biles has deals with Autograph from Tom Brady’s NFT, as well as Athleta, Visa V,
United Airlines UAL,
Uber Eats Uber,
MasterClass, Facebook FB,
Biles’ earnings from last year were $100,000 from the gym and $10 million from the gym.
3. Venus Williams $11.3 Million
Tennis legend Venus Williams doesn’t play as many tournaments as she did before – she played in just nine tournaments in 2021.
So the 41-year-old made almost all of her money last year from sponsorships and brand deals including her own clothing brand EleVen, Wilson, Electronic Arts EA, and
Kraft KHC Corporation,
Ralph Lauren Ralph,
And Tide. Williams also owns a small stake in the Miami Dolphins of the NFL with her sister Serena.
Venus Williams’ earnings from last year were $300,000 in court and $11 million out of court.
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2. Serena Williams $45.9 Million
There is a huge jump in profits from third place on this list to second place. The jump in income was between two sisters.
Serena Williams has been number one in earnings on this list for many years. The 40-year-old tennis legend played in just six tennis tournaments last year, and has fallen sharply in the World Tennis Federation rankings.
Despite the decline, Williams is a sponsorship company and entrepreneur. She has deals with Nike NKE,
Gatorade, and AT&T T,
Williams also owns venture capital firm Serena Ventures where it has invested in more than 40 companies, according to data from Crunchbase.
Serena Williams’ earnings last year were $900,000 in court and $45 million out of court.
1- Naomi Osaka $57.3 million
For the second year in a row, Naomi Osaka is the highest-earning female athlete in the world.
Osaka has also outpaced every male tennis player in the world outside of Switzerland Roger Federer – Federer has been the highest-paid player in tennis for 16 consecutive years, according to Forbes.
The Japanese tennis star has huge sponsorship deals with Nike, Louis Vitton, Sweetgreen SG and
Tag Heuer and autograph, among others. Over the past few years, Osaka has admitted that she has had mental health issues that have forced her out of some tournaments, even saying “It’s okay not to be unwell.”
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Osaka’s earnings last year were $2.3 million in court and $55 million out of court.