Business magazine Forbes has ranked the top 10 highest-paid female athletes of 2021.
In total, the top 10 highest-paid sportswomen of 2021 earned a whopping $167 million (£122 million) before taxes, a 23 percent increase from 2020.
It is also a 16 percent jump from the prior record of $143.3 million (£104 million), set in 2013.
In addition, there has been a change in the amount of sports represented in the top 10. Only five of this year’s top 10 are tennis players, in contrast to 2019, when all 10 athletes played tennis.
Without further ado, here are the top 10 highest-paid female athletes of 2021, according to Forbes.
10) Candace Parker – $5.7 million (£4.2 million)
On field earnings: $0.2 million
Off field earnings: $5.5 million
Candace Parker, who won this year’s WNBA title with Chicago Sky, is the first basketball player on the list in a decade.
With WNBA league salaries capped at around $200,000, the 35-year-old makes nearly all of her money from endorsements, partnering with brands like Adidas, Band-Aid, Capital One and CarMax.
Parker became the first woman to appear on the cover of an NBA 2K video game last year, and she also has a lucrative contract as an NBA analyst for Turner Sports.
9) Nelly Korda – $5.9 million (£4.3 million)
On field earnings: $2.4 million
Off field earnings: $3.5 million
Nelly Korda, the 23-year-old golfer, won her first major title at the Women’s PGA Championship in June. She also claimed Olympic gold at Tokyo 2020, before ending 2021 as the top-ranked women’s golfer.
Korda has more than ten sponsors, including Hanwha Q Cells, a manufacturer of solar cells, and UKG, a tech company focused on workforce management.
8) Ashleigh Barty – $6.9 million (£5 million)
On field earnings: $3.9 million
Off field earnings: $3 million
Ashleigh Barty won more prize money than any other female tennis player last year. The world number one triumphed at the Melbourne Open, Miami Open, Stuttgart Open, Cincinnati Open and Wimbledon.
She recently signed a sponsorship deal with Marriott Bonvoy, the Marriott hotel company’s loyalty programme.
7) P.V. Sindhu – $7.2 million (£5.2 million)
On field earnings: $0.2 million
Off field warnings: $7 million
P.V. Sindhu makes the majority of her earnings through commercial partnerships, bringing in four sponsors off the back of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games alone.
The Indian badminton player is incredibly popular in her home country. The 26-year-old became the first Indian woman to achieve two Olympic medals after adding a bronze at Tokyo 2020 to the silver she claimed at Rio 2016.
6) Ko Jin-young – $7.5 million (£5.5 million)
On field earnings: $3.5 million
Off field earning: $4 million
Ko may have lost out to Korda on her place at the top of the women’s golf rankings, but she still managed to pick up $1.5 million in prize money after triumphing at the end of season CME Group Tour Championship.
The South Korean has a number of valuable sponsorship deals with companies from her home country, including LG Electronics, Korean Air, Jeju SamDaSoo mineral water and Rejuran skincare products.
5) Garbiñe Muguruza – $8.8 million (£6.4 million)
On field earnings: $2.8 million
Off field earnings: $6 million
Muguruza was the winner of last year’s WTA Finals, the most profitable tennis tournament in the world. Her subsequent rise to world number three also helped the Spaniard unlock a number of sponsor bonuses.
The 28-year-old’s endorsement portfolio includes Jaguar, Nivea, Adidas and Babolat.
4) Simone Biles – $10.1 million (£7.4 million)
On field earnings: $0.1 million
Off field earnings: $10 million
Simone Biles is the first gymnast to feature on the top 10 highest-paid female athletes list for a decade.
The 24-year-old had a turbulent 2021, withdrawing from the majority of her events at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games with mental health struggles, but this only served to enhance her image.
Biles partnered with Tom Brady’s Autograph platform to release NFTs starting in August, before joining mental-health startup Cerebral as chief impact officer. She was also the face of a post-Olympics gymnastics tour which took place across the United States.
3) Venus Williams – $11.3 million (£9.4 million)
On field earnings: $0.3 million
Off field earnings: $11 million
At 41-years-old, Venus Williams has not yet retired, but she now rarely makes appearances on the WTA Tour.
This has not impacted her earnings, however, due largely to her partnerships and sponsorship deals. Williams has her own apparel brand, EleVen, which has collaborated with K-Swiss, and she was an executive producer on the film King Richard alongside her sister Serena.
2) Serena Williams – $45.9 million (£33.5 million)
On field earnings: $0.9 million
Off field earnings: $45 million
Despite playing in only six WTA Tour tournaments and falling to 41st in the world, tennis legend Serena Williams is still a massive draw for brands.
She still has partnerships with Nike, Gatorade and DirecTV, was an executive producer on the 2021 film King Richard, and has investments in more than 60 startups through her firm Serena Ventures.
1) Naomi Osaka – $57.3 million (£41.8 million)
On field earnings: $2.3 million
Off field earnings: $55 million
Naomi Osaka has an extremely impressive endorsement portfolio, which has only grown over the past year. It now includes Louis Vuitton, Sweetgreen and Tag Heuer.
The 24-year-old has also picked up equity stakes in VR startup StatusPRO and plant-based-chicken maker Daring Foods, released a collection of NFTs on Autograph, and launched a skincare line called Kinlò.
Like Biles, Osaka had a tough time in 2021, and has only just returned from a four-month break from tennis. But her openness about her mental health struggles has made the Japanese even more popular in the sporting world.