Women earn only 77 cents for every dollar earned by men in the U.S., according to data from the Census Bureau. The pay gap is even worse in the world of sports. The maximum salary in the WNBA is $107,000. Kobe Bryant will earn $30.5 million from the Los Angeles Lakers next season.
Inbee Park won $585,000 for her 2013 U.S. Open golf title. The men’s winner, Justin Rose, pocketed $1.4 million for his victory. Park is having a golf season for the ages and could pocket $5 million from prize money and endorsements in 2013. Meanwhile, Tiger Woods reigns as the world’s highest-paid athlete with earnings of $78 million.
The income difference derives from the gap in revenues generated by the stars of these sports, but there is one major sport where men and women compete on equal footing: tennis. A pay disparity existed in tennis for decades as women received smaller payouts at the French Open and Wimbledon, but Venus Williams led a campaign for equal pay and the two majors changed their policies in 2007. The highest-paid tennis players are now equally split between men and women.
So when it comes to the world’s 10 highest-paid female athletes, tennis players dominant the list, grabbing seven spots. Maria Sharapova is on top for the ninth straight year with $29 million in earnings from prize money, endorsements and appearance fees between June 2012 and June 2013. The Russian-born Sharapova leads a globe-spanning list with eight different nationalities represented in the top 10.
Sharapova’s earnings power skyrocketed in 2004 when she won Wimbledon as a 17-year-old. Companies flocked to the 6-foot-2-inch blond beauty with multimillion dollar endorsement deals. Today she counts Nike, Head, Samsung Electronics , Tag Heuer and Evian as sponsors. She added a three-year deal with Porsche in April. Her French Open win in 2012, which gave her a career Grand Slam, triggered lucrative bonuses with sponsors.
Sharapova is looking beyond tennis with her latest venture: She launched a candy business, Sugarpova, in 2012 with her own money. The gummy candies are now available in 15 countries and the company expects to sell 1.5 million bags of candy in the first 12 months at $5 to $6 a bag. Sharapova is plowing any profits back into the company and hopes to expand into areas like fashion, accessories and make-up.
Serena Williams ranks second with earnings of $20.5 million, which includes $8.5 million in prize money and $12 million from sponsors Nike, Wilson, Gatorade and OPI. Williams has cut back her traditional endorsement commitments in recent years in favor of equity deals with HSN, Sleep Sheets, Mission and the Miami Dolphins. She continues to have a huge platform to speak from as the top female player in tennis. Williams nabbed the No. 1 ranking in the world in February for the sixth time in her decorated career. At 31 years old, she became the oldest woman to ever hold the top spot. Williams has won nine tournaments as well as an Olympic gold medal over the past year, and her $47 million in career prize money is the most of any female athlete.
China’s Li Na makes for a clean sweep of the top three from the world of tennis. She earned an estimated $18.2 million, including $3.2 million in prize money. Like Sharapova, Li catapulted onto the world stage with a Grand Slam win and into the arms of sponsors. She became the first Asian-born player to win a singles Grand Slam event at the 2011 French Open, which quickly led to seven multimillion-dollar endorsement deals after the historic win, including Samsung and Mercedes-Benz .
Here are the rest of the top 10 World’s Highest Paid Female Athletes
#10 Paula Creamer
Total earnings: $5.5 million Prize money: $1 million
Endorsements: $4.5 million
Nicknamed the Pink Panther due to her fondness for wearing pink, Creamer remains the most popular female American golfer despite not winning a tournament since the 2010 U.S. Open. Her endorsement haul from TaylorMade-adidas, Citizen Watch, CDW, Ricoh and Bridgestone is the biggest among active female golfers.
#9 Ana Ivanovic
Total earnings: $7 million Prize money: $1 million
Endorsements: $6 million
Ivanovic has made only one Grand Slam quarterfinal (2012 US Open) since winning the French Open in 2008, but continues to make bank thanks to a lifetime agreement with Adidas that is one of the richest in the sport. Other sponsors: Yonex, Rolex, Juice Plus and Dubai Duty Free.
#8 Agnieszka Radwanska
Total earnings: $7.4 million Prize money: $4.9 million
Endorsements: $2.5 million
The 24-year-old tennis pro caused an uproar in her native Poland when she posed naked this year in ESPN The Magazine’s annual “Body” issue. Radwanska has been voted the WTA’s favorite player by fans each of the past two years. Her biggest endorsement is her shoe and apparel deal with Lotto.
#7 Caroline Wozniacki
Total earnings: $13.6 million Prize money: $2.6 million
Endorsements: $11 million
Wozniacki kicked off a new Adidas deal this year that is one of the most lucrative in the sport. Her drop in ranking to a recent No. 10 in the world has cost her bonus money, but she still maintains a rich endorsement portfolio of 10 companies. In addition to tennis, Wozniacki stays in the headlines via her relationship with golfer Rory McIlroy.
#6 Kim Yuna
Total earnings: $14 million
South Korean figure skating champion Kim Yuna ranks No. 6 with estimated earnings of $14 million. Kim took a year off from competing before returning in December, and she captured her second World Championship in February. Kim is the headline act in the All That Skate figure skating show and she is a staple on TV in South Korea thanks to commercials for her dozen sponsors including Samsung, Korean Air and KB Financial. Kim is expected to be one of the leading stars at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
South Korean figure skating Kim took a year off from competing, but returned last winter to capture her second World Championship in February. Kim is the headline act in the All That Skate figure skating show and she is a staple on TV in South Korea thanks to commercials for her dozen sponsors including Samsung Electronics, Korean Air and KB Financial. Kim is expected to be one of the leading stars at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
To see the top 5 go to the next page
#5 Danica Patrick
Total earnings: $15 million Salary/Winnings: $6 million
Endorsements: $9 million
Nascar’s Danica Patrick is the first athlete outside of tennis on our list, clocking in at No. 5 with earnings of $15 million. Patrick is racing full-time in the Sprint Cup series for the first time in 2013. She attracted widespread attention for winning the pole position at the Daytona 500 and finishing eighth in the race, which was the highest finish ever at Daytona for a female driver.
Patrick makes the bulk of her income off the track through 15 personal sponsors including Chevrolet, Coca-Cola, Nationwide Insurance and Tissot. Go Daddy is the primary sponsor of her Sprint Cup car and she has appeared in a celebrity record 12 Super Bowl commercials for the domain registrar over the past seven years.
Danica Patrick is racing full-time in the Nascar Sprint Cup series for the first time in 2013. She attracted widespread attention for winning the pole position at the Daytona 500 and finishing eighth in the race, which was the highest finish ever at Daytona for a female driver. She has appeared in a celebrity record 12 Super Bowl commercials over the last seven years for Go Daddy, which is the primary sponsor of her Sprint Cup car.
#4 Victoria Azarenka
Total earnings: $15.7 million Prize money: $6.7 million
Endorsements: $9 million
Victoria Azarenka of Belarus ranks No. 4 at $15.7 million. Her $7.9 million prize money haul in 2012 was a single year record for a female athlete in any sport (we credit her with $6.7 million between June 2012 and June 2013). She won her second straight Australian Open in January. Endorsement partners include Nike, Wilson, American Express, Six Star Pro Nutrition, InstaForex and Citizen Watch. Red Bull inked her to a deal in January, which made her the first tennis player sponsor for the beverage giant.
Azarenka’s $7.9 million prize money haul in 2012 was a single year record for a female athlete in any sport (we credit her with $6.7 million between June 2012 and June 2013). She won her second straight Australian Open in January. Endorsement partners include Nike, Wilson, American Express, Six Star Pro Nutrition, InstaForex and Citizen Watch. Red Bull inked her to a deal in January, which made her the first tennis player sponsor for the beverage giant.
#3 Li Na
Total earnings: $18.2 million Prize money: $3.2 million
Endorsements: $15 million
Li rose to prominence in 2011 when she reached two Grand Slam finals and won the French Open title. The win in Paris made her the first Asian-born tennis player ever to win a Grand Slam singles event. Li shills for Babolat, Nike, Samsung and Mercedes, as well as multiple Chinese companies. She extended her Rolex deal in 2013 after reaching the Australian Open finals.
#2 Serena Williams
Total earnings: $20.5 million Prize money: $8.5 million
Endorsements: $12 million
At 31 years old, Williams became the oldest woman to ever hold the No. 1 ranking in the world in February. It is the sixth time she has held the top spot during her decorated career. Williams has cut back her endorsement commitments in recent years, but still pitches for Nike, Wilson, Gatorade and OPI. She also has equity deals with HSN, Sleep Sheets, Mission and the Miami Dolphins.
#1 Maria Sharapova
Total earnings: $29 million Prize money: $6 million
Endorsements: $23 million
Sharapova completed the career Grand Slam last year when she won the French Open. The win triggered lucrative bonuses with sponsors Nike and Head. Her $26.7 million in career prize money ranks third all-time behind the Williams sisters.
So there you have it the Highest Paid Women Athletes of the last year
I would love to hear your thoughts on these earnings from these talented ladies.
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