Highest-Paid Female Athletes Earned $167M in 2021

    • The top 10 highest-paid female athletes accounted for a combined $167 million in pretax earnings.
    • Tennis star Naomi Osaka topped the list at $57.3 million.

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The world’s highest-paid female athletes have made a name for themselves in their respective sports, but most of the women make more money from endorsements than they do competing.

The top 10 accounted for a combined $167 million in pretax earnings according to Forbes, a 23% increase compared to 2020. Tennis star Naomi Osaka topped the list at $57.3 million, with just $2.3 million of that coming from prize money.

The rest of the top five saw similar discrepancies. 

  • 2. Serena Williams, tennis: $45.9M ($900K on the field)
  • 3. Venus Williams, tennis: $11.3M ($300K)
  • 4. Simone Biles, gymnastics: $10.1M ($100K)
  • 5. Garbiñe Muguruza, tennis: $8.8M ($2.8M)

Golfer Jin Young Ko, badminton player P.V. Sindhu, tennis player Ashleigh Barty, golfer Nelly Korda, and WNBA star Candace Parker round out the list. Barty was the only one to make more from prize money than endorsements — $3.9 million on the field and $3 million off.

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In 2019, all top-10 spots were taken by tennis. Now, it accounts for just five spots.

This year, Biles and Candace Parker became the first gymnast and basketball player to rank in the top 10 in more than a decade.

Tell us what you think: With the increasing popularity of women’s sports, do you believe their salaries will eventually catch up to men’s? Reply to this newsletter with your thoughts.