Girl Bosses Who Make Money Playing Sports
When it comes to female athletes, gender discrimination is a harsh reality. Nonetheless, while there is still much work to be done to solve the issue, many female athletes are absolutely killing it when it comes to making money. Some of them have become wealthy simply from playing sports, but the most successful female athletes use their celebrity status to open multiple streams of revenue. These women earn money through everything from endorsements to investing, and nothing can keep them down.
Ariya Jutanugarn is a professional golfer from Thailand who made $5.3 million in 2019 alone. Golf tournaments have monetary prizes, so a skilled golfer can rack up a lot of cash in a year simply from playing in them. When Jutanugarn won the LPGA Tour’s Race to the CME Globe, she took home a $1 million dollar prize.
She also has endorsement deals with some of the largest businesses in Asia. Toyota and Thailand Airlines are two of her ten major sponsors, and she also has an endorsement deal with the golf brand Titleist.
Of the $5.5 million that P.V. Sindhu earned in 2019, only half a million of that total comes from winnings. Badminton may not be the most popular sport internationally, but it is all the rage in India.
In addition to being one of the best badminton players ever, she is certainly the top Indian female badminton star. Bridgestone, JBL and Gatorade are some of Sindhu’s largest sponsors. Clearly, Sindhu is as talented in the boardroom as she is on the badminton court! She is one of India’s biggest sports stars.
Garbiñe Muguruza is a comeback queen! A few years ago, the professional tennis player sat at the top of world rankings until a string of bad matches sent her plummeting down the list. Still, she is a fan favorite, and she is slowly rising right back to the top.
In 2019, she made just shy of $6 million, and that;s split about half and half between winnings and endorsements. Adidas, Beats, and Rolex are a few of the big names sponsoring Muguruza. There’s no telling how far her career will go from here.
Alina Zagitova is a Russian professional figure skater who finished first in the 2019 ISU World Championships. That victory meant that the teenager earned a minimum of $21,000 in prize money that year, not to mention the estimated $1 million she made from endorsements.
One of Zagitova’s most lucrative deals is her position as a global ambassador for Shiseido, a Japanese beauty brand. She’s also featured in advertisements for a mattress company called Airweave, a Puma athlete and endorsed by Pepsi. There is nowhere for Zagitova to go but up!
When Elina Svitolina won the 2018 WTA Finals, she triggered a chain reaction of financial rewards. She won not just the prize money for earning the title, but also bonuses from her sponsors, Wilson and Nike. Now she is in the top five in the tennis world rankings, so more endorsement deals are likely to be coming her way.
She’s already made $6.1 million just in 2019, and she has endorsements outside of the sports world, too. Poustovit and Jan Niche Concept, a clothing line and perfume store respectively, are some of her more diverse sponsors.
Ronda Rousey is a professional fighter, who recently made a huge career move. Although she’s still fighting, she switched from competing in the UFC to the WWE. This move has paid off by giving her even greater notoriety with the public.
Now known in the ring as Rowdy Ronda, she continues to surpass the competition, and she has won twelve fights already. In addition to endorsements and contracts, she’s also compensated for appearing on the WWE-related reality show Total Divas with fellow fighters.
Caroline Wozniacki is an incredibly successful tennis player who has earned $7.5 million in 2019. She spent nearly 70 weeks at the top of the WTA world rankings. Babolat, Rolex and Adidas are a few of Wozniacki’s major sponsors, and she is heavily involved with The Players’ Tribune, a media company that tells stories for athletes by athletes.
During the 2018 tennis season, she won three major titles. She also celebrated a personal victory in 2019 by marrying retired professional basketball player David Lee. The couple’s collective star power will likely result in even more endorsements.
Allyson Felix is an Olympic sprinter who continuously shatters records. Over the course of her career, she has earned six Olympic gold medals. She is one of relatively few Athleta-sponsored athletes. Felix was previously sponsored by Nike, but she famously left the company after they cut her monthly salary when she was pregnant.
Felix also has a major endorsement deal with Sam’s Club, and she is featured in one of the company’s ad campaigns alongside fellow runner Usain Bolt. Her estimated net worth is nearly $9 million.
At 26 years old, Sloane Stephens is younger than many of the biggest female tennis stars, but she has already surpassed her more renowned counterparts in terms of income. In a single year, Stephens earned $9.6 million.
She famously left Under Armour for Nike, and the endorsement deal is proving to be extremely beneficial for both parties. She regularly models for the clothing brand, and new shoes are often debuted by Stephens during her matches. She is one of only four athletes to be named a global ambassador for Mercedes-Benz.
Marta Vieira da Silva
Marta Vieira da Silva (often called simply ‘Marta’) is a Brazillian soccer star who played for the Orlando Pride in the National Women’s Soccer League. Although Marta’s annual salary for playing soccer is just shy of half a million per season, Marta makes a lot more money through endorsements and various marketing deals. For instance, she has an endorsement deal with and often models for Puma.
She was recently featured in an advertisement for the Brazillian version of the Netflix series The Umbrella Academy. Marta has also starred alongside Cristiano Ronaldo in an ad campaign for Clear.
Angelique Kerber is one of tennis’s most talented stars, and she’s got both the stats and the endorsement deals to prove it. In 2018, Kerber won the coveted Wimbledon title, which resulted in a windfall payday from both prize winnings and contract bonuses.
Head & Shoulders, Porsche, Rolex and Generali are just a few of her many sponsors. Kerber is also a prominently featured Adidas athlete. She made $11.8 million in 2019, and a little over $5 million of her earnings came from prize money. Kerber is certainly a force to be reckoned with!
With $29.2 million in earnings, Serena Williams was the highest-paid female athlete of 2019. Wilson, Gatorade and JP Morgan Chase are just a few of her many endorsement deals. In that year alone, endorsements earned her $25 million.
At 37 years old, her playing days are unfortunately numbered, but Williams has already built up a nice post-tennis career for herself. She’s a seasoned venture capitalist, and her portfolio is already worth $10 million. Her S By Serena clothing line sells fashionable women’s clothes, and the line is said to be expanding to jewelry and beauty products.
Danica Patrick came in third in the Indy 500 in 2008 and still earned nearly $8 million in 2019. Although she has officially retired from racing, she still makes money in the sports industry.
She has a bestselling fitness book called Pretty Intense and is also the founder of Warrior, her own clothing brand, and a wine company called Somnium. Patrick remains one of the most easily recognizable faces in sports, so brands still seek her out for endorsement deals.
Ada Hegerberg is a star player for Olympique Lyonnais, a team renowned for having some of the highest salaries in the world of women’s soccer. Hers is 400,000 euro, which makes her the highest-paid female soccer player on earth. (Other players make more from endorsements.)
Hegerberg famously boycotted the 2019 Women’s World Cup because of gender discrimination in soccer. This was an especially valiant move, since as the world’s first female Balon d’Or winner, she has no problem getting lucrative endorsement deals. Mastercard is one of her biggest personal sponsors.
Paige VanZant is one of the most well-compensated fights in the UFC even after injuries in 2019 kept her temporarily out of the game. Why? VanZant has built quite a lucrative career as an Instagram influencer. She also works in broadcasting, and she’s an author.
As a fighter, she’s earned $475,000, but she famously admitted that she makes far more on Instagram (an undisclosed sum) than she does fighting. To say she’s as ferocious a businesswoman as she is a fight is an understatement.
Victoria Azarenka made more than $1 million in prize money from professional tennis in 2019. Her career total of $30 million in winnings puts her in seventh place for the highest-winning tennis player to date. American Express, Citizen Watch and Nike are a few of her current sponsors.
Although she is one of several female athletes who spoke out against endorsers penalizing them for becoming pregnant, she has not seen any long-term financial loss for her maternity leave. Instead, Azarenka helped spark a needed change. She continues to collect wins, athletically and financially.
Although Lindsey Vonn retired in the winter of 2019, she still ranks among the highest-paid female athletes of that year. She’s earned 140 medals, with three from the Winter Olympics.
This alpine skier is Under Armour’s longest-contracted athlete, and she was recently named a global ambassador for the company. RedBull, Oakley and GoPro are three of Vonn’s other corporate sponsors. In a full year, Vonn could make half a million in winnings alone.
At the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Saina Nehwal earned a gold medal for badminton. She is the biggest competitor of fellow Indian badminton star P.V. Sandhu and often earns an average of $300,000 in competition prizes alone.
Herbalife, Rhiti Sports Company, Top Ramen and Vaseline are a few of her many sponsors. Her celebrity status rose even higher when she played a key role in India winning its first team badminton match in the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Megan Rapinoe has always been an important member of the United States Women’s National Team (USWNT), but winning the 2019 Women’s World Cup caused Rapinoe’s career and income to skyrocket to new heights. According to some estimates, she may have earned up to $3 million in 2019.
She is one of several players battling to raise wages for USWNT players. By winning the World Cup, she also triggered hundreds of thousands worth of contract bonuses. She has endorsement deals with Nike, Samsung, Hulu, Wildfang and Vitamin Water. In 2019, Rapinoe started her own lifestyle brand.
Naomi Osaka is one of the biggest names in world tennis and has consistently prevailed over players with decades more experience than her. She is also very popular in the media, and she has appeared on several late-night talk shows.
She made $24.3 million in 2019 alone. She famously relinquished her American citizenship to be able to represent Japan on the national level. She also made waves when she left Adidas to sign a lucrative endorsement deal with Nike.
Tessa Virtue is an Olympic figure skater. She famously danced with her long-time skating partner, Scott Moir, for the last time on December 7, 2019. Over the course of her career, she won 11 titles. In September of 2019, she officially retired from professional ice dancing.
Depending on competition schedules and results, Virtue could easily earn $400,000 in prize money in a single year. Beyond the rink, she has now become an all-around celebrity. She already hosted a Canadian morning show, and her many endorsements account for an estimated $2 million worth of income.
Simona Halep was the top-ranked female tennis player in the Women’s Tennis Association world rankings for two years until her streak was broken by Ashleigh Barty. When it comes to prize money, Halep achieved the fifth-highest career earnings of any tennis player, male or female.
In 2019, she earned $10.2 million, the majority of which came from prize winnings. She also has extremely lucrative endorsement deals with global brands like Hublot, Nike and Mercedes-Benz. Halep is only 28, so she has plenty of years left in her career to keep on setting records.
Michelle Wie is an American professional golfer who competes in LPGA tournaments. Although Wie has had an impressive career, 2019 was a disappointing year for her. She had to withdraw from major competitions because of ongoing injury.
Despite a less than stellar year, Michelle Wie is still one of the biggest names in women’s professional golf. She made $15,377 in 2019 from competitions, but she also has lucrative endorsement deals that are not contingent on victories. Nike, Callaway and Omega are three of her biggest sponsors.
Maria Sharapova is one of the world’s top tennis players, but she is also an extremely successful entrepreneur. She is the founder and CEO of a candy brand called Sugarpova and has also made significant investments in Supergoop, a skincare line and the UFC.
Like most successful athletes, Sharapova also has plenty of endorsements. Nike, Tag Heuer and Porsche are some of the worldwide brands that pay for her star power. The overwhelming majority of her $7 million in earnings in 2019 came from investments and endorsements because she was battling an injury.
Simone Biles is an Olympic gymnast with four gold medals. As an Olympic athlete, she makes money slightly differently than her professional peers Usually, sponsorships and endorsements deals cover monthly income year in and year out.
In addition to these deals, she earns prize money for medals as well as contract bonuses from sponsors. Between her winnings and her endorsements, Simone Biles has an estimated net worth of $2 million. She has major endorsement deals with Hershey’s, Nike and Kellogs.
Karolina Pliskova proves that you can bring home the bacon even if you don’t win everything. Grand Slams are a big deal for tennis stars, but she hasn’t been in a Grand Slam final for the past three years. Still, Pliskova has remains victorious in smaller competitions.
In 2019 alone, she earned nearly $5 million solely from prize money. Pliskova is one of a select group of tennis stars to have an endorsement deal with the athletic clothing brand Fila. She still makes the bulk of her income from her endless victories on the court.
Venus Williams is one of the biggest tennis stars of the 21st century. Shemade around $1 million in winnings in 2019 alone, and she makes five times as much from endorsements.
Williams also has other business ventures, including a fitness and lifestyle YouTube channel where most of her videos have received over a quarter of a million views. She has lucrative speaking engagements and is both an investor and a spokesperson for the wellness brand Astura, which promotes natural self-care.
Fu Yuanhui is an Olympic swimmer and viral star who is heavily compensated for her talent. Many swimmers appear calm and stoic during media appearances, but Yuanhui unabashedly expresses her feelings. At the 2016 Rio Olympics, she won the hearts of new fans all over the world.
At every competition, she also wins plenty of gold medals, which means plenty of prize money. Exact details about how much Yuanhui makes are not available to the public, but her father famously told Chinese news agencies about how his daughter turned down a $10 million endorsement deal.
Throughout her career, Alex Morgan has established herself as one of the key figures of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team. She made around $6 million in 2019, the overwhelming majority of which came from lucrative endorsement deals.
The USWNT co-captain lends her image to Beats, Volkswagen and Coca Cola, among other businesses. She’s also worked to establish a media company that helps female athletes turn their stories into engaging content to inspire the next generation of stars.
Madison Keys is a rising tennis star who just keeps getting better and better. Despite a lucrative victory at the Charlestown Open in 2019, she still made over half of her $5.5 million in earnings from endorsements deals. Keys is endorsed by both Nike and Wilson, two of the biggest sponsors of tennis athletes.
Madison Keys is also a spokesperson for Evian, the artisan water brand. As she continues to improve her game, she is gaining more attention all over the world. This makes Madison Keys a powerful name to have associated with any brand.