Female athletes are forced to rely more on endorsements than their male counterparts.
Even the best female athletes are forced to rely on endorsements to earn an income in professional sports.
According to data obtained from Sportico by Fair Betting Sites, the 15 highest-paid female athletes in the world earned over 87 percent of their total income from endorsements.
That is far higher than the top-15 paid male athletes, who earned just over 45 percent of their total income in sponsorship deals last year.
Check out the highlights of the data below:
- The highest-paid female athletes earn 87% of total income from endorsements
- Top paid male athletes earn just 45% of their total income from endorsements
- 8 of the top-15 highest-paid female athletes were tennis players
- Tennis is the only sport where the average female player earned more than the average male in 2021
- By comparison, the average NBA player makes 91x more than the average WNBA player
Nick Raffoul, a data analyst at Fair Betting Sites, commented on the data, “It’s no secret that female athletes get paid less than their male counterparts. The gender pay gap in sports has forced female athletes to partner with brands and agencies to make up for some of that lost income.”
Highest-Paid Females Earn 97% Of Income From Endorsements
For female athletes, earning endorsement income is more of a necessity than a luxury, especially when compared to male athletes.
The problem is even larger for the top earning females.
The top-5 richest female athletes earned 96.71 percent of their total income from endorsements.
Sitting atop the list, Naomi Osaka led the way as the highest paid female athlete despite making just $1.2 million from her tennis earnings. While she earned an estimated $53 million in 2022, nearly 98 percent of that money ($52M) came away from the tennis court.
Serena Williams, Eileen Gu, and Simone Biles all earned more than 99 percent of their total income in endorsements.
Only Emma Raducanu (12.21 percent) earned more than 10 percent of her total income in salary/winnings.
|Athlete||Endorsements||Salary||Total Earnings||Percentage of Total Earnings|
|Jin Young Ko||4,700,000||3,600,000||8,300,000||56.63%|
Gender Pay Gap By Sport
Several tennis players find themselves near the top of the list of highest-paid female athletes.
That’s because tennis players are among the highest paid female athletes in any sport.
In fact, in 2021, the average WTA player actually earned more ($254,395) than the average ATP player ($185,107).
However, female athletes in other sports aren’t as lucky, as the gender pay gap has grown substantially in nearly every major sport.
For example, in professional basketball, the average NBA player will earn $9.37M in 2022 compared to just $102,751 for the average WNBA player.
The discrepancy is at its worst in professional baseball, where MLB players earn a whopping 735x more than professional softball players ($4.41M) who earn an average of just $6,000 per season.
While the gender pay gap isn’t as wide in other sports, it is still alarming.
Female golfers in the LPGA made an average of $375,992 in 2022, which is still more than 4x less than the $1,621,221 that the average PGA Tour player brought home this year.
MLS soccer players earned an average of $533,131 last season, nearly 10x more than NWSL players, who earn just $54,000 per year.