Male athletes still claim the majority of athlete endorsement deals, but women are beginning to stake their claim as well. As more women increase their influence, more female athletes are signing endorsement deals and earning more opportunities than ever before.
Let’s take a closer look at both the highest earning women and men endorsers in sports today.
Here are the five highest paid female athlete endorsers:
5. Victoria Azarenka | WTA | $9,000,000
Azarenka won back to back singles titles at the 2012 & 2013 Australian Open. She is currently the number two ranked female tennis player in the world.
She has endorsements with Nike, Wilson, American Express, Six Star Pro Nutrition, InstaForex and Citizen Watch. Red Bull signed her to a deal in 2013, making her the first tennis player to sign with the company.
4. Caroline Wozniacki | WTA | $11,000,000
Wozniacki was ranked number one on the WTA Tour for 67 weeks. She has won 21 WTA singles titles. In 2011 SportsPro named her the ninth most marketable athlete in the world.
Wozniacki’s largest endorsement is with Adidas. She also has deals with Rolex, Compeed, Oriflame, Danske Invest, Proactiv and Sony Ericsson amongst others.
3. Serena Williams | WTA | $12,000,000
Serena holds the most major singles, doubles and mixed doubles titles combined amongst active players, male or female! She is the reigning French Open, US Open, WTA Tour Champion and Olympic Women’s’ Singles Champion. She is currently ranked number one in the world in women’s singles tennis, making her the oldest player ever to hold that honor.
Her largest deals are with Nike, Gatorade, Wilson and OPI. She also has equity based endorsement deals with Home Shopping Network and Sleep Sheets.
2. Li Na | WTA | $15,000,000
Na is the most successful Asian tennis player ever having won seven WTA singles titles. Li elevated to stardom after she won the 2011 French Open singles title. The win made her the first and only Grand Slam singles champion from an Asian country. Currently, Na is the number two ranked female tennis player in the world.
Li has endorsements with Rolex, Nike, Häagen-Dazs, Mercedes-Benz, Taikang Life, Samsung and Babolat.
1. Maria Sharapova |WTA | $23,000,000
Sharapova’s athletic achievements combined with her off-court style and beauty have made her the highest paid female athlete endorser in the world.
On the court, Sharapova has won 29 WTA singles titles including four Grand Slam singles titles. She is the sixth woman in the history of tennis to complete the singles career grand slam. Her on court success led to endorsements with Nike, Head, Evian, Samsung and Porsche.
Off the court, Sharapova’s style and beauty led to endorsement deals with fashion company Cole Haan and watch maker Tag Heuer.
Now for the Gentlemen…
Here are the five highest paid male athlete endorsers:
5. Kobe Bryant | NBA | $34,000,000
Kobe is one of the biggest athlete endorsers, ever! On the court he has done it ALL including: five NBA Championships, two NBA Finals MVP awards, one regular season NBA MVP, 15 All-Star selections, 11 All-NBA First Team selections and nine NBA All-Defensive First Team selections. His charismatic personality, instant recognizability and million dollar smile are a perfect fit for Los Angeles and heading endorsement campaigns.
The “Black Mamba” has endorsements with Nike, Coca-Cola, Panini, Lenovo and Smart Car.
4. LeBron James | NBA | $42,000,000
King James has two NBA Championships, two NBA Finals MVP awards, nine All-Star selections, four regular season NBA MVP awards and an Olympic gold medal. LeBron’s on court success and his off court popularity have made him an endorsement giant.
James has many endorsements including: Nike, Powerade, McDonald’s, Baskin-Robbins, Samsung and Dunkin’ Brands. Still not convinced he is worth all the hype? Here are some more reasons why King James warrants his endorsement earnings.
3. Phil Mickelson | PGA | $44,000,000
“Lefty’s” numerous victories and laid back California vibe have made him a fan and brand favorite when it comes to endorsing.
In 2010, he picked up a deal to endorse psoriatic arthritis drug, Enbrel, after he was diagnosed with the disease and began using the drug for his treatment. He also teams up with Callaway, KPMG, Rolex, ExxonMobil and Barclays.
2. Roger Federer | ATP | $65,000,000
Federer is regarded by many to be the greatest tennis player ever. He has held the world number one position for 302 weeks throughout his career; including a stretch of 237 consecutive weeks.
Federer’s athletic success and humble demeanor have made him one of the most likeable players and a marketing juggernaut. The Swede has endorsements with Swiss companies Rolex, Credit Sussie, Lindt and Jura Elektroapparate. He also has deals with Nike, Gillette, Wilson, Moët & Chandon and Mercedes-Benz.
1. Tiger Woods | PGA | $65,000,000
Tiger’s seemingly endless golf victories, awards and accomplishments have made him one of the most recognizable faces in the entire world! He is one of the best golfers to ever play the game and when he speaks, consumers listen.
Woods has a long term endorsement deal with Nike, which produces his signature golf clubs, shoes and apparel. Woods also has deals with Rolex, Fuse Science, Upper Deck and NetJets.
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