The World’s 10 Highest-Paid Female Athletes
Forbes Magazine released the 2011 highest-paid men earned a collective $449 million.
No.1 Maria Sharapova – $25 Million
July 2010 to July 2011 Earnings: $25 million
Sharapova bounced back on the court in 2011 after struggling with injuries in recent years. She reached the Wimbledon finals in July, her first Grand Slam in more than three years. Sharapova maintains an impressive endorsement portfolio that includes Nike, Head, Evian, Clear Shampoo, Sony Ericsson, Tiffany and Tag Heuer. Sharapova has 5.2 million Facebook fans and her partners are constantly doing things on her Facebook page to reach them. Cole-Haan (a Nike subsidiary) ran a promotion for her 24th birthday where her fans got 24% off that day. Sharapova extended her Nike agreement in 2010 for eight years that could net her as much as $70 million.
No.2 Caroline Wozniacki – $12.5 Million
July 2010 to July 2011 Earnings: $12.5 million
The world’s No. 1 ranked tennis player, Caroline Wozniacki banked $6 million in prize money and another $6.5 million from sponsors and appearances. Companies are lining up behind the 21-year old Dane hoping to catch tennis’ next big star. She added deals this year with Yonex, Compeed and Oriflame, but her biggest partner is Adidas which paid out lucrative bonuses in 2010 thanks to her No. 1 year-end ranking.
No.3 Danica Patrick – $12 Million
Sport: Auto Racing
July 2010 to July 2011 Earnings:$12 Million
American racing car driver, Danica Patrick competing in the IndyCar and Nascar’s Nationwide Series, she earned $12 million in the past 12 months. Her fourth place finish in the Sam’s Town 300 in March was the highest finish ever by a woman in a Nascar race. Her good looks and popularity in the U.S. have led her to frequent appearances on magazine covers and endorsements. Patrick continues to split her time between IndyCar and Nascar’s Nationwide Series. Her fourth place finish in the Sam’s Town 300 in March was the highest finish ever by a woman in a Nascar race. Rumors are swirling that Patrick will race full-time in Nascar in 2011. A permanent move to Nascar would certainly boost Patrick’s income.
No.4 Venus Williams – $11.5 Million
July 2010 to July 2011 Earnings:$12 Million
Venus Williams is the oldest woman on Forbes list, but still maintains her deals with Wilson, Electronic Arts, Kraft, Ralph Lauren and Tide. She sell her own line of clothing, Eleven, through the Gilt Groupe.
No.5 Kim Clijsters – $11 Million
July 2010 to July 2011 Earnings: $11 million
Kim Clijsters retired for two years, but since returning to the court in the summer of 2009 she has won four Grand Slam events. Her $6.5 million in prize money over the past 12-months is the most on the WTA Tour.
No.6 Serena Williams – $10.5 Million
July 2010 to July 2011 Earnings: $10.5 million
Serena Williams played little over the past year as she recovered foot surgery and then a blood clot in her lungs that developed months later. Her $33 million in career prize money is more than any other female athlete.
No.8 Kim Yu-Na – $10 Million
July 2010 to July 2011 Earnings: $10 million
South Korean figure skater, Kim Yu-Na earned $10 million. The 20-year-old was the only winter sports athlete in the top 10. Forbes named her “South Korea’s most popular athlete.” Kim founded her own management company, All That Sports, in 2010 and it has organized ice shows in South Korea and Los Angeles with Kim as the star . Kim has signed major endorsement deals with some of Korea’s top corporations, including Samsung, Hyundai Motor and Kookmin Bank. She is the reigning Olympic champion and also has a world championship to her credit.
No. 8 Li Na
July 2010 to July 2011 Earnings: $8 million
Li Na became the first Chinese player to win a singles Grand Slam event at the 2011 French Open. Li is set to see her earnings soar as she has been busy signing new seven-figure deals with companies like Mercedes-Benz that joined Nike, Haagen-Dazs and Rolex in her endorsement portfolio.
No.9 Ana Ivanovic – $6 Million
July 2010 to July 2011 Earnings: $6 million
Ana Ivanovic is ranked No. 17 in the world, but signed a lucrative lifetime endorsement deal with Adidas last year that makes her one of the top earners in women’s tennis.
No.10 Paula Creamer
July 2010 to July 2011 Earnings: $5.5 million
Creamer missed the first half of 2010 with a thumb injury, but won her first major, the U.S. Open, in only her fourth tournament back from her layoff. Creamer’s $7.7 million in career prize money is 12th-best of all time. The lone golfer among the highest-paid women extended her deal with TaylorMade-Adidas Golf in 2011 which has Creamer play TaylorMade clubs and outfitted in Adidas golf apparel.