10 highest-paid female athletes: Naomi Osaka is No. 1 again

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The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t stopped the earnings of female sports stars.

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According to a new annual income list from Forbes, the 10 highest-earning female athletes earned a combined $167 million before taxes in 2021, up 23% from 2020 levels.

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Interestingly, just one in 10 athletes on the list made more money from their sport than directly “off the field.”

Here is a list of the 10 highest paid female athletes and how they made their money. The dollar figures below were calculated by Forbes.

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10. Candace Parker, $5.7 million

Candace Parker of Chicago Sky

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The star of the WNBA’s Chicago Sky, Candace Parker, benefits from a lot of endorsement deals to counteract the fact that her WNBA salary is limited at $200,000 due to league rules. Parker has deals with Adidas ADS,
-1.50%,
Capital One COF.PRL,
-0.32%
and Carmax KMX,
-4.18%,

Parker also serves as an NBA analyst for Turner Sports.

Parker’s earnings last year were $200,000 on-court and $5.5 million off-court.

9. Nelly Korda, $5.9 million

Nelly Korda plays at a prom in Orlando, Florida.

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One of the LPGA’s star golfers, Korda won her first major at the Women’s PGA Championship.

Korda benefits from a number of sponsorships, including Hanwha Q Cell, a manufacturer of solar cells, and UKG, a tech company focused on workforce management. Forbes,

Korda’s earnings from the previous year were $2.4 million on the course, and $3.5 million off the course.

8. Ashleigh Barty, $6.9 million

Ashleigh Barty of Australia smiles during a practice session ahead of the 2022 Australian Open.

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Barty is the only athlete on this list to make more money from his sport than from other endeavors.

She was the highest-paid woman in 2021 based on tennis tournament victories.

Barty’s earnings last year were $3.9 million on court and $3 million off court.

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7. PV Sindhu, 7.2 million

India’s PV Sindhu looks at the shuttlecock during her women’s singles final match at the BWF Badminton World Championships.

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Perhaps not a household name in the US, Sindhu is a 26-year-old badminton star from India. Sindhu has won medals in each of the last two Olympic Games.

Sindhu has more than 3 million followers on InstagramAccording to Forbes, it has lucrative sponsorship deals with ed-tech giant Byju’s and used-car platform Spinny, in addition to partners such as Li-Ning Sportswear and India’s Bank of Baroda.

Sindhu’s earnings last year were $200,000 on the court and $7 million off that.

6. Jin Young Ko, $7.5 million

Jin Young Ko of Korea.

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Golf star Jin Young Ko has been one of the highest-paid female golfers over the years. The South Korean golfer won the CME Group Tour Championship last year, raising $1.5 million for that tournament alone.

LG Electronics in sponsorship deals for Young Ko 066570,
+0.34%,
Korean Air 003490,
+0.35%,
According to Forbes, Jeju Samadasu Mineral Water and Rejuran Skincare Products.

Young Ko’s earnings from the previous year were $3.5 million over the course, and a $4 million discount from that.

5. Garbine Muguruza, $8.8 million

Spain’s Garbine Muguruza.

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Tennis star Garbine Muguruza won three tournaments in 2021, earning crores on the court. The Spaniard has endorsement deals with companies including Adidas, Babolat, Jaguar and Nivea.

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Muguruza’s earnings last year were $2.8 million on the tennis courts and $6 million from them.

4. Simone Biles, $10.1 million

USA’s Simone Biles applauds during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

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Simone Biles competed in the Tokyo Olympics last year and won a bronze medal on the balance beam. She withdrew from several events during the Tokyo Games, citing mental health issues.

It’s hard to make big bucks directly from the sport of gymnastics, so Biles’s earnings come mostly from her sponsorships and brand deals. Biles has deals with Tom Brady’s NFT company Autograph as well as Athleta, Visa V.
-0.35%,
United Airlines UAL,
-3.59%,
uber eats uber,
-4.44%,
Masterclass, Facebook FB,
+1.71%
and the tide.

Biles’s earnings last year were $100,000 from Jim and $10 million from Jim.

3. Venus Williams, $11.3 million

Venus Williams works out during the 2021 Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne.

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Tennis legend Venus Williams doesn’t play as many tournaments as she once did – she played in just nine in 2021.

So the 41-year-old made almost all of her money last year from sponsorships and brand deals, including her own apparel brands Eleven, Wilson, Electronic Arts EA,
-0.75%,
Kraft KHC,
+0.72%,
Ralph Lauren RL,
-2.87%
and the tide. Williams also has a small stake in the NFL’s Miami Dolphins along with his sister Serena.

Venus Williams earned $300,000 on-court and $11 million off-court from last year.

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2. Serena Williams, $45.9 million

Serena Williams works out during the women’s singles final at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, 2017.

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There has been a tremendous jump in earnings from number three to number two in this list. And the jump in earnings is between the two sisters.

Serena Williams has claimed to be the highest earner on this list for many years. The 40-year-old tennis legend played just six tennis tournaments last year, and dropped sharply in the World Tennis Association rankings.

Despite the decline, Williams is a sponsorship and business maven. He has deals with Nike NKE,
-1.36%,
Gatorade, and AT&T T,
+1.01%,
Williams also owns a venture capital firm, Serena Ventures, where she has invested in more than 40 companies, according to the U.S. crunchbase,

Last year’s earnings for Serena Williams were $900,000 on court and $45 million off court.

1. Naomi Osaka, $57.3 million

Japan’s Naomi Osaka celebrates after winning a match at the 2021 French Open.

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Naomi Osaka has become the world’s highest-paid female athlete for the second year in a row.

Osaka also surpassed every male tennis player in the world outside of Switzerland’s Roger Federer – Federer has been tennis’s highest-paid player for 16 consecutive years. Forbes,

The Japanese tennis star has massive sponsorship deals with Nike, Louis Vuitton, Sweetgreen SG, among others.
-2.96%,
Tag Heuer and Autograph, among others. Over the years, Osaka has admitted to battling mental health issues that have ruled her out of some tournaments, even saying “It’s not okay to be OK”.

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Osaka’s earnings last year were $2.3 million on court and $55 million off court.

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