Sportico released data on 2023’s 15 highest-earning women athletes
The GIST: On Wednesday, Sportico released data on 2023’s 15 highest-earning women athletes. Aside from one trend — tennis has a clear advantage — the data showed how a Grand Slam victory can kickstart sponsorships, why Eileen Gu is the perfect model for luxury brands, and how USWNT stars can succeed under a constant spotlight. Let’s get into it.
🏆 Great Expectations
This year marked a seismic shift in women’s tennis that extended beyond the court. Coco Gauff’s historic US Open winnings — and the bonuses and endorsements that followed — dethroned a royal trio of women’s tennis stars who collectively dominated the top earnings spot for two decades. Aces.
- Gauff’s $6.7M annual winnings were less than world No. 1 Iga Świątek’s $9.9M, but she topped Świątek in endorsements by $4M. Additionally, Gauff’s recent New Balance deal included the only signature tennis sneaker among active women players.
🎿 China’s Next Top Model
Chinese-American freestyle skier Eileen Gu won gold in more ways than one after her Beijing 2022 breakthrough. After medaling for China, she became a professional model and has walked for Louis Vuitton, graced international covers of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, and banked lucrative deals in China, which will be the world’s largest luxury market by 2025.
- What’s remarkable about Gu’s No. 3 ranking is that she earned an estimated $20M solely from endorsements, raking in more sponsorship dollars than any other woman athlete and totally eclipsing her $27K in winnings. Sick.
💰 Layin’ down the baseline
Gu isn’t the only woman athlete stacking sponsorship money during a quiet year. Fellow skier Mikaela Shiffrin earned $5M in endorsements in a non-Olympic year, while gymnast Simone Biles raked in $8.5M exclusively from deals.
- In tennis, Emma Raducanu won $238K in prize money, yet she earned $16M in endorsements. Meanwhile, Naomi Osaka — who was on maternity leave — saw a $15M payday from sponsorships alone.
⚽ Can she kick it?
Every athlete on Sportico’s list plays an individual sport, with two notable exceptions: USWNT besties Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe. Despite the increased marketability and recognition for individual athletes, Morgan and Rapinoe’s endorsements proved women’s soccer equals money, especially in a FIFA Women’s World Cup year. A big score.