List of Top 8 Highest-Paid Female Athletes

Women’s sports are in the spotlight now more than ever. Equal pay agreements across Tennis, to the previous comeback stories of Eileen Gu, Serena Williams, Mary Kom, and more, women in sports are rising globally. Australian Open 2024 saw a record audience for women’s singles matches, and women-based tournaments are gaining media and brand momentum with record deals. Global sports brands like Nike are supporting the USA and China’s women’s basketball teams via their digital campaigns and sponsorships.

With the remarkable surge in the popularity of women’s sports and the record number of audiences attending matches, female athletes have caught the attention of media giants and sponsor brands. Opening opportunities for them to sign lucrative brand deals and brand ambassador partnerships. Here are some of the highest-paid female athletes globally as of the end of December 2023 based on an article by Forbes:

1. Iga Świątek

2023 earnings: $23.9 million
Sport: Tennis
On-field: $9.9 million
Off-field: $14 million

Iga is a Polish Tennis star who ranks at the No.1 singles ranking in women’s tennis. She earned her second consecutive WTA Player of the Year award in 2023 at the age of 22 years. Tennis’ most promising and rising star, she has spent around 82+ weeks as #1. Thanks to her rising popularity with her consistent performance and wins, she scored critical endorsement deals with global brands like Visa, On Shoes and Apparel, Oshee Sports Drinks, Infosys, etc. Increasing her earnings for the year 2023 to make the top-earning female athlete.

2. Eileen Gu

2023 earnings: $22.1 million
Sport: Freestyle skiing
On-field: $0.1 million
Off-field: $22 million

The young rising talent from China, Eileen is a freestyle skier and model who has many long-term partnerships and sponsor deals with global brands. She is one of the rare Olympic athletes whose earnings are not seasonal based on tournaments. Her sponsor deals are with brands like Mengniu Dairy, Anta – a sportswear maker, Louis Vuitton, Victoria’s Secret, and many more. In 2023 Eileen made a comeback to the slopes post her knee injury, winning the halfpipe events in China and Colorado. Showcasing to the world her determination to the sport after an 11-month hiatus in recovery.

3. Coco Gauff

2023 earnings: $21.7 million
Sport: Tennis
On-field: $6.7 million
Off-field: $15 million

Coco has had a career-high of #3 in the women’s singles after her win in four WTA tournaments in 2023. She is a young 19-year-old player from the US who is must-watch out for by the critics. The young teenager already has signed a few exclusive deals with leading media and global brands. She is known to have appeared in an ad for The Marvels in 2023 and graced the limited-edition cover for an Invincible Iron Man comic book. Her sponsor deal includes Baker Tilly, Bose, and UPS.

4. Emma Raducanu

2023 earnings: $15.2 million
Sport: Tennis
On-field: $0.2 million
Off-field: $15 million

Emma, 21 years old, hails from the UK and has already built herself one of the most valuable endorsement-sponsorship portfolios. She held a career-high ranking of world #10 in July 2022 and is a former British #1 female tennis player. With her sensational US Open grand slam win, she has signed endorsement deals with global luxury brands like Porsche, and Tiffany and other brands like Evian, Vodafone, and HSBC.

5. Naomi Osaka

2023 earnings: $15 million
Sport: Tennis
On-field: $0 million
Off-field: $15 million

One of tennis’s most prominent names, Naomi Osaka, 26, hails from Japan and took a break as she gave birth to her daughter in July 2023. She made her comeback earlier this year with the Australian Open 2024. In her break as well across 2023, she has been the top-earning female athlete thanks to her sponsor deals. Being a new mother, she has recently signed endorsement deals with the brands Bobbie Baby Formula and Crate & Kids. In addition to the new list, she already has global luxury brand endorsement deals with Louis Vuitton and Tag Heuer. She shares endorsement deals with a variety of Japanese brands like Yonex (which manufactures Tennis equipment), Nissan, Shiseido, and more.

6. Aryna Sabalenka

2023 earnings: $14.7 million
Sport: Tennis
On-field: $8.2 million
Off-field: $6.5 million

Aryna, 25, is a rising tennis star from Belarus who has bagged herself a win at the Australian Open and won herself the International Tennis Federation’s World Champion Award. She has 14 titles under her name and currently is ranked as world #2 in women’s singles. She’s also one of the key players featured on Netflix’s tennis docuseries Break Point. This brings her lucrative endorsement deals with brands like Maestro Dobel Tequila and Leaf Trading Cards.

7. Jessica Pegula

2023 earnings: $12.5 million
Sport: Tennis
On-field: $6 million
Off-field: $6.5 million

Jessica, 29, hails from the US and has a career-high WTA ranking of world #3 in singles in 2022 and world #1 in doubles in 2023. She has won four singles titles and seven doubles titles on the WTA tour, including two WTA 1000 titles in each discipline. She is named in the 2024 Forbes 30 under 30 list. Pegula has been honoured with the WTA’s Jerry Diamond ACES Award for her work to promote women’s tennis. Her brand endorsement deals include Dyson headphones, De Bethune watches, and Gorjana jewellery.

8. Venus Williams

2023 earnings: $12.2 million
Sport: Tennis
On-field: $0.2 million
Off-field: $12 million

Venus, 43, is a true force to reckon with in global sports. While she rarely plays to compete, most of her earnings are thanks to her marketing and endorsement deals. Her brand-new partnerships are with brands like Dove, Nestle’s Purina PetCare, and a collaborative new jewellery line with Reinstein Ross amongst others. She’s also part of the docuseries called Behind the Racquest as an executive producer that highlights the mental health challenges of tennis players.

Other highest-earning players include Elena Rybakina at $9.5 million and Leylah Fernandez at $8.8 million, both from the sport of Tennis. Followed closely by Nelly Korda, a Golfer at $ 8.2 Million, Megan Rapinoe, a Soccer player also at $ 8.8 million, and India’s PV Sindhu, a badminton player at $7.1 million.

Did you notice highest-earning female athletes are from the sport of Tennis?

Over the years, Tennis is one sport that has narrowed the pay gap between genders when compared to other sports. The four leading grand slams in tennis have all equal prize money for men and women since 2007.

As we see a rise in many women-based sports tournaments and competitions, more brands are seeing the significance of partnering with female athletes. Netflix’s docuseries Break Point featuring rising female tennis stars helps to bring women’s sports to mainstream media and global attention. We are curious as to how these factors will enhance and shape the earnings for female athletes in 2024!

Author: Mankiran