Top 10 highest-paid female athletes in the world (2023) - Track and Field stars missing

Sha'Carri Richardson and five of the highest-paid female athletes in 2023

Top 10 highest-paid female athletes in the world (2023) - Track and Field stars missing

Funmilayo Fameso 20:01 - 06.12.2023

Track and field stars for another year running aren't on the list of the Top 10 highest-paid female athletes in the world. Should this be a cause of worry?

For another year running, track and field stars are not on the list of the highest-paid female athletes in the world.

The list, which has been dominated by tennis stars for over two decades, has been topped by one of the trio of Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, and Naomi Osaka.

Serena Williams is considered one of the greatest tennis players in history

However, this year, new sets top the list, having witnessed the retirement of Williams and Sharapova, while Osaka took the year off from tennis with the birth of her daughter Shai and paused many of her lucrative endorsement deals.

Professional tennis players overwhelm the list of the highest-paid sportswomen in the world, while athletics stars struggle to even be on the top 30-50 list.

They continue to command the top of the pay charts, holding nine of the 15 slots among the 2023 highest-paid female athletes, followed by soccer and skiing with two each, and single athletes from golf (Nelly Korda) and gymnastics (Simone Biles). 

The inability of track and field stars to make the list has been a major concern for athletes and fans through the years, on the poor allocation the sport gets, even during major meets like the World Athletics Championships and Diamond League. 

Elaine Thompson-Herah and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce are two of the greatest track and field stars in history

The athletes are paid meager amounts after winning medals, and the only way the stars get enough money to live by is through shoe contracts and other endorsement deals, which the amounts signed are also insubstantial compared to other sports stars.

For example, the gold-medal-prize-winning money at a senior world athletics championship is US $60,000 in contrast to US $3,000,000 for the winner at the 2023 US Open tournament

While track and field athletes work hard all year round to improve their best and get to the elite level like their counterparts, the business side of the sport has been poor for decades, despite it being one of the world's most popular sports.

Athletics enthusiasts and shakers in the sport have discussed several means by which it can be more marketable, but every year there aren't many changes seen or that evolves.

With recent reports of the world's fastest woman Sha'Carri Richardson allegedly signing a US $20 million with Nike for five years, if true, will be a huge game changer in the future endorsements of female athletes in track and field.

To 10 highest-paid female athletes in 2023

According to sportico.com, 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 US Open, triggering lucrative bonuses from partners New Balance and Head.

Coco Gauff poses with her 2023 U.S Open title| Photo Credit: Instagram(@cocogauff)

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. 

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This 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 include royalties, memorabilia, appearance fees, media, and businesses tied to their celebrity. The figures are all before taxes and any agent fees.

Here are the highest-paid female athletes

  1. Coco Gauff (Tennis) - $22.7 million (6.7m prize money, 16m endorsements)
  2. Iga Swiatek (Tennis) - $21.9 million (9.9m prize money, 12m endorsements)
  3. Eileen Gu (Skiing) - $20 million (27k prize money, 20m endorsements)
  4. Emma Raducanu (Tennis) - $16.2 million (238k prize money, 16m endorsements)
  5. Naomi Osaka (Tennis) - $15 million (0 prize money, 15m endorsements)
  6. Aryna Sabalenka (Tennis) - $12.2 million (8.2m prize money, 4m endorsements) 
  7. Elena Rybakina (Tennis) - $9.5 million (5.5m prize money, 4m endorsements) 
  8. Jessica Pegula (Tennis) - $9 million (6m prize money, 3m endorsements)
  9. Simone Biles (Gymnastics) - $8.5 million (0 prize money, 8.5m endorsements)
  10. Nelly Korda (Golf) - $7.9 million (1.4m prize money, 6.5m endorsements)
Picture Credit - @Sportico / X
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