Highest-Paid Female Athletes 2023: Coco Scores Top Slot at $23M

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Highest-paid female athletes Coco Gauff, Iga Swiatek and Eileen Gu

For two decades, the title of highest-paid female athlete has belonged to one of a trio of tennis stars in Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Naomi Osaka. Yet, Williams retired last year, and Sharapova hung up her racket in 2020, while Osaka took the year off from tennis with the birth of her daughter Shai and paused many of her lucrative endorsement deals.

It set the stage for a new No. 1, with three athletes tightly bunched. Coco Gauff nudged out Iga Świątek and Eileen Gu with an estimated $22.7 million from prize money and endorsements in 2023. The 19-year-old captured her first Grand Slam at the U.S. Open, triggering lucrative bonuses from partners New Balance and Head.

Tennis players continue to dominate the top of the pay charts, holding nine of the 15 slots among the highest-paid female athletes, followed by soccer and skiing with two each, and single athletes from golf (Nelly Korda) and gymnastics (Simone Biles). The top six all represent different countries, and athletes from nine nations made the cut.

The top 15 earned a combined $174 million, down 19% from the prior year with the retirement of Williams ($35 million in 2022) and Osaka’s earnings off 72% to $15 million. The sum includes prize money, salaries and bonuses during 2023 for active athletes. The endorsement earnings estimates were compiled through conversations with those familiar with marketing agreements and also includes royalties, memorabilia, appearance fees, media and businesses tied to their celebrity. The figures are all before taxes and any agent fees.

Gauff, who turned 19 in March, has been on the radar of corporate sponsors for half a decade. By her 15th birthday, she already had multiyear agreements with racket maker Head, Italian pasta giant Barilla and New Balance. Those partners are still in place, and she added new sponsors this year in Bose, UPS and accounting firm Baker Tilly. Rolex is another partner, and after her Open win, she did campaigns for Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses and The Marvels movie.

In 2022, New Balance redid her contract and made it one of the richest in the women’s game with an extension that runs for more than five years. Other shoe and apparel brands were hoping to get a shot at bidding for Gauff, but the Boston-based firm locked her up before she hit the market. New Balance launched a signature shoe for Gauff last year; she is the only active player with a signature tennis sneaker across all brands.

Gu is a sophomore at Stanford, and we are more than two years away from the next Olympics, but the freestyle ski gold medalist is the rare Olympic athlete who continues to be a marketing force between Olympic cycles. She grew up in San Francisco, but in 2019 she started competing for China, where her mother was born. She partnered with more than 20 brands leading up to the 2022 Olympics in Beijing, and her face littered billboards in China, while she appeared on the covers of the Chinese editions of InStyle, Marie Claire and Vogue.

She has pared her partner list a bit but still pitches for Anta, Red Bull, Louis Vuitton, Victoria’s Secret, IWC and Tiffany. She added down jacket brand Bosideng as a sponsor last year and walked for Bosideng at Milan Fashion Week in September. Sportico estimates she earned $20 million in 2023 from sponsors, more than any other female athlete.

Biles is another athlete whose profile transcends the regular sponsorship cycle of Olympic athletes. Gymnastics’ GOAT continues to be a popular pitchwoman ahead of the 2024 Summer Olympics, with Athleta, Spieth America, Powerade, Wheaties, GK Elite, Nulo, Axonius and MasterClass. She earns an estimated $8.5 million from sponsors and speaking gigs, where she has been active, particularly as it relates to mental health, with companies making it a priority for their employees.

Gauff and Gu are the youngest among the top earners, but the list skews young overall with only soccer icons Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe 30 or older.

Highest-Paid Female Athletes 2023

1. Coco Gauff: $22.7 million

Prize money: $6.7 million | Endorsements: $16 million | Age: 19

Gauff is the rare top singles player—man or woman—who also plays doubles regularly, with Jessica Pegula her partner. The duo reached the French Open final in 2022 and ranked No. 1 in the world as recently as September. They each won $715,000 in prize money in 2023 via their doubles performance.

2. Iga Świątek: $21.9 million

Prize money: $9.9 million | Endorsements: $12 million | Age: 22

The Polish-born Swiatek finished the year atop the WTA rankings for the second straight season, triggering bonuses from endemic partners. She captured her third French Open and fourth Grand Slam overall (2022 U.S. Open), as well as the lucrative year-end WTA Finals, which carried a $3.1 million winner’s purse. Swiss-brand On signed Świątek: this year to help launch its tennis program. She also has deals with Infosys, Visa, Tecnifibre, Polish insurer PZU, Rolex and Porsche Poland.

3. Eileen Gu: $20 million

Prize money: $27,000 | Endorsements: $20 million | Age: 20

Prize money for snowboarding and freestyle skiing severely lags what is available for alpine skiers. Gu’s pair of World Cup wins last season generated $27,000 for her. She was forced to skip the 2023 X Games due to injury. Sponsors are already targeting Gu as one of the faces of the 2026 Winter Olympics in Italy.

4. Emma Raducanu: $16.2 million

Prize money: $238,000 | Endorsements: $16 million | Age: 21

Injuries and poor play have hampered Raducanu since her breakthrough 2021 U.S. Open win as a qualifier. She played only five events in 2023, resulting in a huge reduction in her Nike payout, similar to how almost every tennis sneaker and apparel contract is designed with minimum play requirements. But she maintains a deep roster of non-endemic sponsors that continue to use the duel U.K.-Canada citizen who also speaks fluent Mandarin. Multiyear partners secured after her Open win included HSBC, Tiffany, British Airways, Christian Dior, Vodafone, Porsche and Evian.

5. Naomi Osaka: $15 million

Prize money: $0 | Endorsements: $15 million | Age: 26

Osaka has not played an event since September 2022 but is expected to return to the courts at the end of the month in Brisbane, Australia. She cut way back on her sponsor commitments in 2023, but she did add a new partner three months ago; Meta created her own AI chatbot character named Tamika. Other celebrities with AI personalities on some Meta platforms include Snoop Dogg, Tom Brady, Kendall Jenner and Dwyane Wade.

6. Aryna Sabalenka: $12.2 million

Prize money: $8.2 million | Endorsements: $4 million | Age: 25

Sabalenka had a dominant 2023 as the only women to reach the semifinals of all four Grand Slam events, including an Australian Open win and U.S. Open runner-up finish. In September, she became the 29th women to ever hold the No. 1 ranking. Nike represents the bulk of the earnings for the Belarus-born player, who finished the year ranked second in the world.

7. Elena Rybakina: $9.5 million

Prize money: $6 million | Endorsements: $3.5 million | Age: 24

Rybakina backed up her 2022 Wimbledon win with a pair of WTA 1000 tournament wins this year at Indian Wells and Rome, as well as a runner-up finish at the Australian Open. She switched from Adidas to Yonex as her clothing sponsor in 2023—she also uses a Yonex racket. Red Bull and Bank RBK are among her other partners.

8. Jessica Pegula: $9 million

Prize money: $6 million | Endorsements: $3 million | Age: 29

Pegula has yet to make it past the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam event but finished the year ranked fifth in the world thanks to wins in 77% of her matches and two tournament titles. Adidas is her primary endorsement deal, and she also represents Yonex and Ready Nutrition. She is the founder of skin care line Ready 24 and is the daughter of the Buffalo Bills owners Terry and Kim Pegula.

9. Simone Biles: $8.5 million

Prize money: $0 | Endorsements: $8.5 million | Age: 26

Biles returned to competition in 2023 and was as dominant as ever, including four gold medals at the World Championships, extending her record to 30 total career medals at the event, including 23 golds. She led the U.S. to a record-breaking seventh consecutive world team title. In 2021, she left Nike to join Athleta, and this year, the brand released their third Athleta Girl Collection with Biles, which is entitled “Because I Can.”

10. Nelly Korda: $7.9 million

Prize money: $1.4 million | Endorsements: $6.5 million | Age: 25

Korda failed to reach the winner’s circle in 2023, but her sponsor portfolio was transformed in a boost tp her off-course earnings. The 2021 Women’s PGA Championship winner added lucrative new deals with Nike and TaylorMade—replacing J Lindeberg and Titleist—to start the year, as well as another pair of global brands, Delta Airlines and Goldman Sachs.

11. Alex Morgan: $6.9 million

Salary: $850,000 | Endorsements: $6 million | Age: 34

The U.S. Women’s National Team flamed out early at the 2023 World Cup, but Morgan remains the sport’s most popular choice for marketers. She has endorsement deals with Nike, Calvin Klein, Molecule, Hublot, Bodyarmor and Michelob Ultra. In 2021, she founded a female-focused media platform, Togethxr, with fellow star athletes Sue Bird, Chloe Kim and Simone Manuel, and this year, she launched her own foundation. Her latest is an investment in Los Angeles Golf Club, a franchise in the Monday night golf league TGL set to launch in 2025.

12. Megan Rapinoe: $6.8 million

Salary: $750,000 | Endorsements: $6 million | Age: 38

Rapinoe did not get the storybook ending to her career as she was injured early in the NWSL Championship game, and her OL Reign fell to Gotham FC. Retirement will free up time for Rapinoe, who is a sought-after corporate speaker and last year launched a production company, A Touch More, along with her partner, WNBA legend Sue Bird.

13. Leylah Fernandez: $6.1 million

Prize money: $1.1 million | Endorsements: $5 million | Age: 21

Fernandez burst on the scene with her 2021 U.S. Open finals appearance that attracted the attention of marketers. The Canadian has more than 10 endorsements partners, including Lululemon, Morgan Stanley, Subway, Google and Gatorade.

13. Mikaela Shiffrin: $6.1 million

Prize money: $1.1 million | Endorsements: $5 million | Age: 28

In March, Shiffrin broke Ingemar Stenmark’s long-time record for World Cup wins with her 87th title at the slalom event in Are, Sweden. Her prize money last season was nearly three times that of Sofia Goggia in second, but she makes most of her money off the snow thanks to big-money deals with Atomic and Barilla. Other partners include Adidas, Bose, Oakley, Toyota, Usana, Longines, Visa, Land Rover, Comcast and Reusch.

15. Ons Jabeur: $5.7 million

Prize money: $3.2 million | Endorsements: $2.5 million | Age: 29

Jabeur reached her second straight Wimbledon final in 2023 and finished the season ranked sixth in the world. The Tunisian-born tennis ace was the first African and Arab woman to contest a major singles final. She has endorsements with Lotto, Wilson and Laval, and will collect an appearance fee in Saudi Arabia at the end of December.

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