The harsh reality is that even in 2016, most females are paid less than males are for doing the same jobs. While a handful of female professional athletes get paid millions of dollars a year, most of their salaries pale in comparison to their male counterparts. It is difficult to compare women’s sports salaries to men’s simply for the fact that there are no women’s professional football or baseball leagues that are taken seriously.
With that being said, the net worths of the female athletes on this list will surprise you for a variety of reasons. Who would think that the face of the WNBA would not even be worth $1 million, or that Olympic athletes who competed years ago would be worth far more than those that are popular today? Without further ado here is the list of 16 Female Athletes with Shocking Net Worths.
Net Worth: $50 thousand
It may shock you to learn that WWE Diva Naomi only has a net worth of $50 thousand. Naomi started out as a dancer for the NBA’s Orlando Magic before joining the WWE. Naomi is married to Jimmy Uso and has starred in the reality TV series Total Divas since 2013. She has an annual salary of about $65 thousand, but must have had some debts to pay off which have kept her net worth so low. Being a Diva sounds very glamorous, but Naomi certainly has not become rich from it. Luckily her husband probably makes more money than she does so the couple should be doing alright for themselves.
15 Marion Jones
Net Worth: $500 thousand
Marion Jones was a dominant track and field competitor who was stripped of the three Gold and two Bronze Medals that she won at the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney. She was linked to the BALCO scandal and admitted to using steroids. Jones was able to retain her three Gold Medals she won at the 1997 and 1999 World Championships and briefly played in the WNBA. Jones earned $1 million in endorsements and much more money from winning races. Her money quickly disappeared due to legal expenses and her $2.5 million home in North Carolina was foreclosed on. In addition to that, Marion was forced to sell her mother’s home.
14 Diana Taurasi
Net Worth: $500 thousand
As one of the best and most well-known female basketball players in the world, Diana Taurasi decided to take a year off from playing with the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA to play oversees and make more money. Taurasi made just less than the WNBA maximum of $107 thousand for the 2014 season. The Russian Premier League team UMMC Ekaterinburg paid Diana to sit out the 2015 WNBA season, and actually paid her more than she would have made had she played. By comparison, she makes about $1.5 million per season overseas, but will still return to the Mercury in 2016.
13 Nikki Bella
Net Worth: $1.5 million
Nikki Bella stands out among the WWE Divas and recently set a record for being the longest reigning Divas Champion in the history of the company. The Bella Twins have been working on new business opportunities and have become very popular thanks to the success of their E! reality television series Total Divas. Nikki Bella has a net worth of $1.5 million and has earned money from wrestling as well as endorsement deals. At one point in her career Nikki had a salary of about $200 thousand per year, but that has likely gone up after she held the title for so long and was the face of the Divas division.
12 Ronda Rousey
Net Worth: $2 million
Former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey was certainly one of the most talked about female athletes of 2015. In fact, Rousey was chosen as the most dominant active athlete and voted the Best Female Athlete Ever, and was the third most searched for person on Google that same year. In addition to making money from fighting, Rousey has appeared on several talk shows and had cameos in the movies American Judoka, The Expendables 3, Fast & Furious 7, and Entourage. She also has endorsement deals with companies such as Carl’s Jr., Reebok, Monster headphones, and Metro PCS.
11 Dorothy Hamill
Net Worth: $5 million
The reason Dorothy Hamill’s net worth of $5 million is shocking is that the former Olympic Gold Medalist once went bankrupt. Hamill became America’s sweetheart and won the Women’s figure skating Singles Gold Medal in 1976 and had an endorsement deal with shampoo brand Short n’ Sassy. She went on to headline the Ice Capades for several years before purchasing the company in 1993. Hamill had trouble competing with Disney’s World on Ice and was forced to sell the company two years later. She filed for bankruptcy in 1996 and was treated for breast cancer in 2008. Dorothy competed on Dancing with the Stars in 2013 which helped her regain an impressive net worth.
10 Alicia Sacramone
Net Worth: $8 million
We haven’t seen Alicia Sacramone compete in the Olympics since 2008, so you may be surprised to learn that the retired gymnast has a net worth of $8 million. After earning a Silver Medal in the Beijing Olympics, Alicia continued to compete and won Gold in several World Championships, World Cups, Pacific Rim Championships, and Visa Championships. In 2008 she was signed by Cover Girl along with fellow gymnasts Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin. Sacramone is the spokeswoman for the company Team 24 Fitness and starred in a Gatorade commercial in 2009. She should be set for life and will likely be able to earn money off of her Olympic performance for years to come.
9 Gabrielle Reece
Net Worth: $10 million
Gabrielle Reece has done it all as a professional volleyball player, fashion model, actress, and sports announcer. Reece attended Florida State University on a volleyball scholarship where she set school records and led the league in kills and blocks. She then played volleyball professionally and won the first Beach Volleyball World Championships. She trained to make the LPGA but did not make the cut. Most of her $10 million net worth was likely not from playing volleyball, but from modeling and acting. Gabrielle has starred in the movies Gattaca and Cloud 9 and has appeared in episodes of the TV series Cybill, Arli$$, and 8 Simple Rules.
8 Paula Creamer
Net Worth: $11 million
Many of the richest female athletes in the world play tennis, but Paula Creamer is a golfer who has done pretty well for herself. She started golfing at just 10 years old and was winning several titles by the age of 12. Creamer has won many events including the 2010 U.S. Women’s Open. She was named the American Junior Golf Association Player of the Year in 2003 and the LPGA Rookie of the Year in 2005. Paula became the youngest player to earn over $1 million in career LPGA earnings. Creamer only made $141 thousand from playing golf in 2015, but luckily her endorsements with companies such as TaylorMade-adidas and Citizen Watch Co. have helped her earn another $4.5 million.
7 Agnieszka Radwanska
Net Worth: $14.7 million
Polish professional tennis player Agnieszka Radwanska probably never imaged that she would be worth almost $15 million when she started playing tennis at just four years old. She has an endorsement deal in place with Cheesecake Factory which is a bit unusual for an athlete. Radwanska has earned nearly $23 million during her career which has seen her reach the finals at Wimbledon in 2012 and win 18 WTA finals. She earned $165 thousand in prize money in 2015 which was a bit of a down year for her compared to making $3.1 million in both 2013 and 2014. In fact, 2015 was the first year she did not make at least $1 million since 2007.
6 Li Na
Net Worth: $15 million
Retired Chinese tennis player Li Na may not be a household name, but she still did pretty well for herself. Na won the French Open in 2011 and the Australian Open in 2014 and reached the semifinals at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008 and the US Open in 2013. Li Na was the first Chinese tennis player to achieve several accomplishments including appearing in a Grand Slam singles final and winning a WTA tour title. During her 15 year career she earned $16.7 million in prize money. Li Na was sponsored by Nike among other companies and is known as the most successful Asian tennis player of all time.
5 Danica Patrick
Net Worth: $18 million
Danica Patrick has certainly made a name for herself as a race car driver, which has primarily been a male driven sport. In addition to racing, Danica Patrick has made lots of money as a model and spokeswoman. She is known for her association with Go Daddy and earned $12 million in endorsements from that company and others like Coke Zero and Tissot watches in 2012. As of 2014 Patrick had only earned about $725 thousand in career prize money from the Sprint Cup Series, but luckily she has not put all of her eggs into one basket. Danica has also had deals with XM radio, Motorola, and Sega.
4 Kim Yu-Na
Net Worth: $21 million
You might not have ever heard of the retired South Korean figure skater Kim Yu-Na, so you may be even more surprised to learn that she is worth $21 million. Yu-Na won an Olympic Gold Medal in Ladies’ Singles in 2010 and a Silver Medal in the same event in 2014. She also won Gold at the 2009 and 2013 World Championships and the 2006-07, 2007-08, and 2009-10 Grand Prix Finals. Kim also made lots of money from endorsement deals and made $8 million from sponsorships in 2013. She is also a singer who has found plenty of ways to make money besides from actually skating.
3 Anna Kournikova
Net Worth: $50 million
Russian former professional tennis player Anna Kournikova retired from the sport in 2007, but she has used her good looks and celebrity status to maintain her shocking net worth of $50 million. While she may not have been the most successful tennis player of all time, her name was at one time one of the most searched on Google. After retiring due to injuries she has served as a trainer for the NBC reality TV series The Biggest Loser. At the height of her career Anna made just under $1 million from WTA Tour earning in 2000, but after she quit playing tennis her net worth has only continued to grow.
2 Serena Williams
Net Worth: $145 million
Serena Williams has one of the highest net worths of all of the female athlete at $145 million. She is one of the greatest female tennis stars of all time and has earned the most prize money of any female athlete in the history of sports at $36 million. In 2015 Serena Williams earned $24.6 million including $13 million in sponsorships and endorsements and a salary (including winnings) of $11.6 million. In 2013 alone she made $15 million from her endorsements with Nike and Kraft Foods. If Williams can continue her dominance in female tennis and have another “Serena Slam” she may be able to pass Maria Sharapova as the richest female tennis player of all time.
1 Maria Sharapova
Net Worth: $195 million
Maria Sharapova has the highest net worth of any female athlete and helps go to show that tennis is the sport that women should play if they want to make lots of money. Sharapova has earned her money through a combination of tennis earnings, modeling, and endorsement deals. In 2015 she brought in $29.7 million, of which $23 million came from sponsors and endorsements alone. Maria also earned a respectable $6.7 million from tennis in 2015. She has been paid by companies like Nike and even sold a ballet flat through Cole Haan. Maria Sharapova is not a newcomer to this list; she has been the highest paid female athlete in the world for more than 10 years.