For female athletes out to get rich from their dominance, tennis is the go-to sport. Nine of the world’s ten highest-paid female athletes of 2020 make their living with a racket, with the only exception this year being Alex Morgan, co-captain of the U.S. women’s national soccer team. In fact, over the last decade only a handful of non-tennis athletes made the top 10 list of highest-paid female athletes.
The U.S. Open was the first Grand Slam tournament to offer gender pay equality, in 1973, but it would be 28 years before another Slam followed suit: the Australian Open in 2001. The biggest tennis events now pay equal prize money to men and women; Wimbledon in 2007 was the last Grand Slam to update its payouts. But it was a long road for women’s tennis players, who faced the same fight for better pay that athletes in soccer, basketball and hockey have tackled in recent years.
Outside of prize money, Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams remain tennis’ only female superstars, with Osaka setting a record for female athletes this year, beating the earnings record set by Maria Sharapova in 2015 when she earned $29.7 million and unseating Williams, who held the No. 1 position for the past four years.
Osaka scored a slew of new endorsement deals following her back-to-back Grand Slam titles at the 2018 U.S. Open and the 2019 Australian Open, including Nike, which committed roughly $10 million annually to win her away from Adidas. Osaka now has 15 endorsement partners, including global brands like Nissan Motor, Shiseido and Yonex.
Morgan is the lone non-tennis player to crack the top ten, thanks to a massive endorsement portfolio worth ten times as much as her roughly $400,000 on-field salary and bonus last year. She has more than a dozen current sponsors. Other notable women throughout the years include Nascar’s Danica Patrick and MMA fighter Rhonda Rousey.
Read the full profile on Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/kurtbadenhausen/2020/08/17/the-highest-paid-female-athletes-2020-center-court-takes-center-stage/#6c6cff535eb6
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