As the highest male athlete for 2021, Conor McGregor raked a whopping $180 million. Thanks to sales he made on his joint ownership of Proper No. Twelve, an Irish Whiskey maker, this is more than the $167 million earned by the top ten highest-paid female athletes in 2021. For a long time, the pay disparities between men and women in sports have been fodder for sports tabloids. However, with the record earnings of Naomi Osaka and other top female athletes, all of that looks to change very soon.
Topteny magazine presents the ten best females that earn the highest amount of money in sports.
Naomi Osaka is a US-bred Japanese lawn tennis champion. Picking off from Serena Williams, the young female athlete, at just 24 years, earned almost $58 million in 2021. Off this amount, she earned $55 million from off-the-field activities while $2.3 million was on-the-field. Her current endorsement portfolio has over ten brand partners. Popular brands include Tag Heuer, Sweetgreen, and Louis Vuitton. She is both hardworking on the court and off it. She jointly owns StatusPRO (a VR startup) and (Daring Foods), a maker of plant-based chickens. She recently launched Kinlo, her skincare brand, while also releasing her NFT collection on Autograph (owned by Tom Brady).
With decades of dominating female lawn tennis, Serena Williams is still going strong. She is second on this list, with a total income of $45.9 million in 2021 alone. Ranking 41st in 2018, Williams has struggled to make a comeback after having her daughter. Nevertheless, she still has a charming group of admirers by brands. Her endorsement portfolio has names like DirecTV, Gatorade, and Nike. She owns a company, Serena Ventures, that has invested in over 60 startups. She recently executive-produced the 2021 film of her father, King Richard, starring Will Smith. As she struggles to keep fit to compete, Williams is financially in shape to compete for the top-earning female athlete.
Venus is one-half of the sister-duo, the Williams sisters. At 41 years old, she managed to make $11 million in 2021. With $11 million in earnings from off-the-field activities, it is evident that her earning power is down to her celebrity status. She earned just $300,000 on the field in 2021 after winning three matches. Venus has been busy with various mouthwatering side hustles. She gives keynote speeches around the world. She has, EleVen, her apparel fashion line. She was also an executive producer in 2021’s King Richard.
With the top three earners from lawn tennis, a gymnast steals the fourth spot. Simone Biles, at just 24, earned a total of $10 million in 2021. With just $100,000 earned from her field activities, it is easy to see why. She famously declined to participate in five major events at the Olympics, citing mental health as her primary reason. The withdrawal, however, failed to stop her earnings. Her story of survival and resilience seemed like a magnet for brands and she has recently partnered with brands like Autograph, Cerebral, and the Gold Over America Tour ( GOAT).
Spain’s Muguruza steals the fifth spot with $8.8 million in total earnings from 2021. The 28 years old lawn tennis player earned $2.8 million on the field. In 2020’s Australian Open, she finished second. However, she had a dominating run between 2015 and 2017. She currently ranks number three in the female lawn tennis category. This ranking led to multiple endorsement bonuses. Muguruza is a very popular name back in her home country of Spain and in many former Spanish colonies worldwide. Her endorsement portfolio includes Babolat, Adidas, Nivea, and auto giant, Jaguar.
Ko is a female golfer from South Korea. At 26 years, she earned $7.5 million from golf. Ko was busy in the field throughout 2021, raking a whopping $3.5 million. For almost two years, she retained the number one spot in golf. However, she has since relinquished her top status to Nelly Korda. However, Ko had a lot to smile about last year. She won player of the year from LPGA and $1.5 million from November’s CME Group Tour Championship. While she currently has no equipment deal in place, her country’s passion for golf was the prime catalyst for her massive endorsement revenue. She currently partners with Rejuran Skincare line, Jeju SamDaSoo, Korean Air, and LG Electronics.
Sindhu is number 7 on the list, with a total earning of $7.2 million in 2021. Sindhu only earned $200,000 from her on-the-field activities. Sindhu may not be known in the US, but the 26 years old badminton star, is a celebrity in her home country of India. In 2018, she was a top-ten earner in the female sports category. She is the first woman from India with two medals in the Olympics (Silver in 2016 and bronze in 2020). As soon as Sindhu returned home from the Olympics, her endorsement portfolio grew by four, with Bank of Baroda (India), Li-Ning sportswear, Spinny, and Byju, rounding up her endorsement partnership.
Barty is currently the eighth highest-paid woman in the Sporting Industry. The 25-year-old Australian earned a total of $6.9 million in 2021 alone. She earned more from her field activities last year with $3.9 million. This means that she was the highest-paid woman in the court for 2021. She is the highest-ranked in the world. She is the current Wimbledon champion. She is most likely to win the Australia Open at home. Barty has continued to dominate the women’s lawn tennis rankings for years. Her performance opened the door for her to add one more endorsement deal to her portfolio. Marriott Bonvoy recently signed her on as a partner. Aside from her earnings from endorsement deals, Barry’s on-the-field efforts are a significant catalyst for the giant bag she has earned.
Nelly Korda steals the month on this list with just $5.9 million. Korda is a 23-year-old golf player from the US. Her total on-the-field earnings were $2.4 million. She was the best golfer in the female category in 2021. She even won a gold medal in the August Olympics and her first major golf title with the Female PGA Championship. Korda is starting to make massive headlines on and off the field. Her endorsement portfolio currently includes UKG and Hanwha Q Cells.
Parker rounded up our top-earning women athletes in 2021. The 35 years old basketball veteran from the US earned a whopping $5.7 million last year. Of her total 2021 salary, she made $200,000 from her on-the-field activities. This means that nearly all of her salary is from endorsement deals. The WNBA veteran currently partners with brands like CarMax, Capital One, Adidas, and Band-aid. The money she earns a year is more than two times her total on-the-field salary for almost 14 years. The Chicago Sky player holds the enviable title of the first woman to feature on the NBA 2K video game cover. She is also among the top sportswomen investors in Alt, an exchange for trading cards. Parker also maintains a lucrative deal working for Turner sports as an analyst of the NBA. Her deal with Turner Sports was extended in 2021.