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The Highest-Paid Female Athletes 2019: Serena And Osaka Dominate

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Naomi Osaka entered the U.S. Open last year largely under the radar as the 19th-ranked player in the world. But that all changed with her run to the finals and her memorable win over Serena Williams. When Osaka backed up the Open title with a second straight Grand Slam win at the Australian Open in January, the next marketing superstar was born.

Osaka’s accomplishments, youth, skill and multicultural appeal make her a marketer’s dream. Born to a Japanese mother and a Haitian-American father, she was the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam event and the first Asian player to hold the top ranking in singles.

Her off-court earnings jumped from $1.5 million annually to an estimated $16 million for the 12 months ending June 1, after she signed deals with Mastercard, All Nippon Airways, Nissan and Procter & Gamble.

Her endorsement haul will be even greater over the next year after she signed a blockbuster, multimillion-dollar pact with Nike in the spring, just ahead of our earnings cutoff. Osaka, 21, is primed to be one of the faces of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Including prize money, Osaka’s total earnings over the last 12 months were $24.3 million, by Forbes’ count. That makes her just the fourth female athlete to earn $20 million in a year, joining three fellow tennis aces: Williams, Maria Sharapova and Li Na.

Osaka’s big payday still trails that of Williams, who is the world’s highest-paid female athlete for the fourth year in a row. She earned $29.2 million, including $4.2 million in prize money, after returning to the WTA Tour following the birth of her daughter, Olympia, in September 2017.

Williams continues to expand one of the most robust endorsement portfolios in sports, adding Pampers, Axa Financial and General Mills to her roster. They join more than a dozen other brands, like Nike, Beats, Gatorade and JPMorgan Chase.

The 23-time Grand Slam champ scores highly across all demographics, and among athletes, only Tiger Woods and Tom Brady have higher levels of awareness with U.S. consumers. Williams’ $225 million estimated net worth makes her the only athlete on Forbes’ list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women.

Williams and Osaka both earned more than twice as much as the third-highest-paid female athlete in the world, Angelique Kerber, who pulled in $11.8 million from tennis.

Tennis remains the most surefire way for female athletes to make millions of dollars. Witness the WTA Tour’s announcement last week that the year-end WTA Finals event will pay its winner $4.7 million this year—the largest payout in the history of men’s or women’s tennis. Total prize money on the WTA Tour is $179 million in 2019, and the ten highest-paid female athletes in the world this year are all tennis players (women from golf, soccer and badminton crack the next five).

Female athletes in soccer, basketball and softball earn salaries of pennies on the dollar compared with their male counterparts. The WNBA max salary slot this season is $117,500, compared with $37.4 million in the NBA.

Despite the playing-salary gap in team sports, marketing opportunities have opened up in recent years for female athletes thanks to the growth of social media platforms, says Dan Levy, who heads up the Olympics and female athletes divisions at Wasserman.

“Pro athletes now have a way to connect with their fans that doesn’t rely on network TV to build a fan base and connectivity to the consumers that brands want to reach,” Levy says. “That change alone has helped women become much more powerful in the sports marketing world.”

Wasserman, which represents Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and Katie Ledecky among its 2,000 clients, launched a new service, Athlete Exchange, last month to help match athletes who have robust digital presences with brands chasing a desired audience. Wasserman client Hilary Knight does not get a lot of air time as a member of the U.S. women’s ice hockey team, but her online profile has more social interactions than all but six NHL players in 2019. The engagement is a boost for her endorsement partners like Red Bull, Visa and Bauer Hockey.

Our earnings tally looks at prize money, salaries, bonuses, endorsements and appearance fees between June 1, 2018, and June 1, 2019. There are 15 female athletes who made at least $5 million during that time period; for comparison, roughly 1,300 male athletes will hit that mark this year. The top 15 earned a cumulative $146 million, compared with $130 million last year. It’s an international crew, with athletes from 11 countries represented.

15. Ariya Jutanugarn

Total Earnings: $5.3 million

Prize Money: $3.3 million

Endorsements: $2 million

Jutanugarn won the LPGA Tour’s Race to the CME Globe season-long points competition and the accompanying $1 million bonus. The Thai pro golfer has more than ten endorsement partners, including Titleist, Toyota, KBank and Thai Airways.

13 (tie). Madison Keys

Total Earnings: $5.5 million

Prize Money: $2.5 million

Endorsements: $3 million

Keys reached a pair of Grand Slam finals in 2018 (French Open and U.S. Open) and won her first clay-court event of her career at the Charlestown Open this year. Nike is her biggest endorsement, and she also counts Evian, Wilson and Ultimate Software as partners.

13 (tie). P.V. Sindhu

Total Earnings: $5.5 million

Prize Money: $500,000

Endorsements: $5 million

Sindhu remains India’s most marketable female athlete. The badminton star has endorsements with Bridgestone, JBL, Gatorade, Panasonic and more. She became the first Indian to win the season-ending BWF World Tour finals in 2018.

12. Alex Morgan

Total Earnings: $5.8 million

Salary: $250,000

Endorsements: $5.5 million

The biggest star of the U.S. Women’s National Team says she’ll be back in uniform for the 2023 World Cup and is bringing personal sponsors like Nike, Coca-Cola, Beats, AT&T, Continental Tires and Volkswagen along for the ride. The USWNT co-captain is planning to launch a media company focused on women in sport.

10 (tie). Garbiñe Muguruza

Total Earnings: $5.9 million

Prize Money: $2.4 million

Endorsements: $3.5 million

Earnings fell for the two-time major winner as her ranking recently dropped to No. 28, from second in the world at the end of 2017. She still maintains a deep endorsement roster with Adidas, Evian, Beats, Rolex and Babolat.

10 (tie). Venus Williams

Total Earnings: $5.9 million

Prize Money: $900,000

Endorsements: $5 million

The 39-year-old Williams invested in wellness brand Astura and was appointed chief brand officer of the company in May. A 23-time Grand Slam champion, including doubles, she launched her own YouTube channel last month focused on “fitness, tennis, wellness, design and more.” Williams can bank six figures a pop on the speaking circuit.

9. Elina Svitolina

Total Earnings: $6.1 million

Prize Money: $4.6 million

Endorsements: $1.5 million

Svitolina scored the biggest win of her career when she captured the WTA Finals title in Singapore to end the 2018 season. The Ukrainian-born pro pocketed $2.4 million for the win and finished the year with a No. 4 world ranking, triggering bonuses from sponsors Nike and Wilson.

8. Karolina Pliskova

Total Earnings: $6.3 million

Prize Money: $4.6 million

Endorsements: $1.7 million

The Czech-born Pliskova has won four events over the past 12 months but has not reached a Slam final since losing the 2016 U.S. Open. Pliskova bumped her off-court earnings with a new contract with FILA that kicked in this year.

7. Maria Sharapova

Total Earnings: $7 million

Prize Money: $1 million

Endorsements: $6 million

Injuries limited Sharapova to only 18 matches over the past year, but she maintains a lucrative endorsement with Nike, in addition to her Porsche, Head, Evian and Tag Heuer partnerships. Sharapova invested in the UFC and skincare brand Supergoop, yet her main off-court focus is building her candy brand Sugarpova.

6. Caroline Wozniacki

Total Earnings: $7.5 million

Prize Money: $3.5 million

Endorsements: $4 million

Wozniacki won a trio of events in 2018 and ranked among the top three players during the entire year. She married former NBA player David Lee in June. The wedding brought together stars from their respective sports, with Serena Williams a bridesmaid and other attendees including Angelique Kerber, Pau Gasol and Harrison Barnes.

5. Sloane Stephens

Total Earnings: $9.6 million

Prize Money: $4.1 million

Endorsements: $5.5 million

Stephens reached the finals of four events last year and finished the year ranked No. 6 overall. Her Nike pact, which began last year, is one of the biggest in the sport. She showcased a tennis shoe based on the “Aqua” colorway of Nike’s retro Air Jordan VIII this summer.

4. Simona Halep

Total Earnings: $10.2 million

Prize Money: $6.2 million

Endorsements: $4 million

Halep led the sport in prize money in 2018 and ranks fifth on the all-time list with $33 million. She won Grand Slam titles each of the past two years, triggering lucrative bonuses. The Romanian pro counts Nike, Wilson, Mercedes-Benz and Hublot among her sponsors.

3. Angelique Kerber

Total Earnings: $11.8 million

Prize Money: $5.3 million

Endorsements: $6.5 million

Kerber won Wimbledon in 2018 and finished the year ranked second in the world, triggering bonuses from her partners. She renewed deals with Adidas, SAP, Generali and NetJets and recently inked a new pact with Procter & Gamble’s Head & Shoulders brand. Other endorsements include Yonex, Porsche, Rolex and Lavazza.

2. Naomi Osaka

Total Earnings: $24.3 million

Prize Money: $8.3 million

Endorsements: $16 million

Nike shocked the tennis world when it announced in April it had secured Osaka to an endorsement deal. Most observers thought she would return to Adidas, which had Osaka under contract until her deal expired at the end of 2018.

1. Serena Williams

Total Earnings: $29.2 million

Prize Money: $4.2 million

Endorsements: $25 million

Williams, 37, wants to play through at least next year but is already planning her next act with a clothing line, S by Serena, and aims to launch jewelry and beauty products lines by the end of 2020. She has also built a venture portfolio worth more than $10 million.

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I am a senior editor at Forbes and focus mainly on the business of sports and our annual franchise valuations. I also spend a lot of my time digging into what athletes earn on and off the field of play. I’ve profiled a bunch of athletes that go by one name: LeBron, Shaq, Danica and others. I also head up our biennial B-School rankings and our annual features on the Best Places for Business (metros, states and countries). I joined Forbes in 1998 after working 3 years at Financial World magazine.

Source: https://www.forbes.com

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Kofi Kingston And Seth Rollins Are Two Of The Worst-Drawing Champions In WWE History

Kofi Kingston and Seth Rollins are two of the most beloved stars in WWE, but they haven’t drawn well as world champions.

Wrestling statistician and Twitter user @nWoWolfpacTV recently compiled and analyzed data regarding average domestic live event attendance during the Universal title reign of Rollins and the ongoing WWE Championship reign of Kingston.

He found that domestic house shows headlined by Rollins averaged just 3,334 fans, lower than Jinder Mahal’s universally panned 2017 WWE title reign. Similarly, Kingston-headlined events had, as of July 18, averaged just 2,940 fans per show, which would make him “the fourth worst drawing in company history in this regard” behind Kurt Angle, Booker T and Eddie Guerrero.

                             

So, what’s this mean? Well, it’s hard to tell.

However, Kingston and Rollins are probably not the actual problem as both stars rank among WWE’s most popular acts and its biggest merchandise sellers. The issue with the decreased attendance during their world title reigns stems from larger problems with WWE’s creative process and its live event event strategy, which is something that needs to change.

According to WWE’s Q1 Key Performance Indicators, domestic live event attendance dropped 11% between Q1 2018 and Q1 2019, averaging just 4,800 fans in the first quarter of 2019, a massive drop of 25% from the 6,400 per show it averaged in the second quarter of 2017. Attendance was down yet again in Q2, as were TV ratings for both Raw and SmackDown.

Vince McMahon raised some eyebrows when he blamed WWE’s disappointing Q1 2019 results—which included significant drops in Raw ratings, SmackDown ratings and the WWE Network subscriber count as well—on “superstar absences” because stars coming and going has always been and will continue to be a reality.

In response to the underwhelming live event attendance, McMahon added a slew of new hires to WWE’s creative and live event teams and had the following to say about revamping its live event strategies (from The Motley Fool via Wrestling Inc)

“We’ve hired new people in writing team that are really going to help us out in terms of television ratings and digital, social, all that sort of stuff, we’ve got a new team in terms of live events that have just started now. So we’ll see the live events going to continue on an upward trend.”

Vince McMahon

That upward trend just hasn’t happened, though.

During that same one-year span in which live event attendance plummeted, so too did Raw viewership (down 25% between WrestleMania 34 and 35) and SmackDown viewership (down about the same). By the end of Q2, Raw ratings were down 14% over the previous year while SmackDown’s were down by 11% as live event attendance dropped by 2%.

Those dips in TV viewership and live event attendance were less indicative of the drawing power of WWE’s world champions, including Brock Lesnar, AJ Styles, Daniel Bryan, Kingston and Rollins and more indicative of WWE’s lackluster programming, which had struggled to consistently put on entertaining feuds and storylines.

As a result of those sizable dips, WWE will reportedly reduce the number of live events in 2020 amidst reports that Roman Reigns even suggested WWE have an off-season. Though that is unlikely to happen, the substantial decreases in live event attendance do speak to a bigger problem.

It’s not a star power issue—WWE has more talent than ever before currently under contract. It’s not an issue directly caused by Rollins or Kingston either, though they’re easy scapegoats.

The bottom line is that when the WWE Network was launched in 2014, it effectively put an end to the days of champions being individual draws. Unless your name is John Cena and you’re a massive star who is able to make huge differences in live event attendance, it’s largely going to be up to WWE’s creative team to make fans want to go to non-televised house shows. How does that happen?

By booking a quality product, with great matches and feuds on TV, that make fans want to go see live events that really don’t impact the TV product in any way. The better WWE’s TV product is and the more major stars it has based on how they are presented on TV, the more fans will want to pay to go see them wrestle at a non-televised event.

It’s no secret that WWE’s TV product has, for the most part, been quite lackluster in 2019, which is probably a better explanation as to why Rollins and Kingston have floundered as champions in terms of their drawing ability. Rollins’ entire title reign was spent battling Baron Corbin in a feud that was downright awful at times on a Raw brand that didn’t really build up any other exciting rivalries, either.

Kingston, meanwhile, has actually been booked well as WWE Champion but is on WWE’s clear No. 2 brand, has spent the past 11 years as a tag team and midcard performer and also just so happens to be the WWE Champion at a time when SmackDown has been plagued by bad storylines, like the never-ending push of Shane McMahon.

Blaming WWE’s lackluster attendance on Rollins and Kingston is the easy way out, but it doesn’t paint the whole picture. A wide variety of factors, ranging from poor creative choices to WWE’s failures to create truly mainstream stars, are the real culprits here.

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I’m a contributor for the SportsMoney team at Forbes, where I’ll examine the interesting effect that sports have on business…and vice versa. I graduated from Louisiana State University in 2010 with a degree in journalism and a minor in English, and during my time in Baton Rouge, I worked for Tiger Weekly, a newspaper focusing on LSU athletics. Upon graduation, I spent more than three years as a columnist for a well-known national sports Web site. Name a sport, and I’ve probably written about it at some point in my life. My goal at Forbes is to analyze the shrinking space between sports and business, and of course, to stir up the discussion. After all, what fun would sports be if no one ever talked about them?

Source: Kofi Kingston And Seth Rollins Are Two Of The Worst-Drawing Champions In WWE History

Masters Champion Tiger Woods: By The Numbers

The 83rd Masters will go down as one of the most memorable events in modern golf history.

Many fans point to Jack Nicklaus’ unexpected run to a sixth green jacket in 1986 at 46 years old as the ultimate Augusta moment, but Tiger Woods, who has been chasing Nicklaus’ legacy his entire career, might have just topped the Golden Bear.

Woods, decked in his trademark red, won the Masters by one stroke Sunday, holding off a stacked leader board of seasoned, elite golfers. It was a moment that many sports fans thought would never happen after a series of back surgeries pushed Woods to the brink of retirement.

Americans love to see their brightest stars fall, and few have fallen from a higher point than Woods, who was the most marketable athlete on the planet for a decade-plus. But the one thing Americans seem to love even more is the redemption story. Sports fans had waited 11 years for Woods to take another step toward Nicklaus’ hallowed record of 18 major titles.

Woods’ Tour Championship win last year was an indicator of what was to come, and he’s once again a marketing force. Woods and Phil Mickelson had a $9 million winner-take-all pay-per-view event in November, and Woods signed a multiyear content deal last fall with Discovery’s new over-the-top streaming service, GolfTV. He will do weekly golf instructional videos and is set to do a series of showdown-type events in Asia as part of the Discovery partnership.

Here are some of the numbers behind Woods and his history at Augusta.

4: Back surgeries for Woods.

5: Wins at Augusta for Woods, but the most recent was 14 years ago. It is the longest gap between Masters wins ever.

11: It has been just shy of 11 years since Woods won his last major tournament (2008 U.S. Open).

11: Number of times Woods has won the Player of the Year award.

12: Woods’ current rank in the World Golf Ranking.

16: Woods’ rank last year among the world’s highest-paid athletes. He earned $43.3 million.

20: Woods has made the cut in all 20 of his Masters appearances.

21: Woods was the youngest Masters champion ever when he won in 1997 at 21 years old by a record 12 strokes.

35: Number of players who had won a major title since Woods’ last Masters win in 2005. That span covered 55 tournaments.

43: Woods is the second-oldest Masters champion, with only Nicklaus having been older when he put on the green jacket.

81: Career PGA Tour wins for Woods, one shy of Sam Snead’s record.

281: Consecutive weeks Woods was ranked No. 1 in the world between 2005 and 2010.

$1.19 million: Payout for a bettor who put down $85,000 at 14/1 odds at William Hill’s Las Vegas sportsbook on Woods to win. “It’s great to see Tiger back. It’s a painful day for William Hill—our biggest golf loss ever—but a great day for golf,” says Nick Bogdanovich, William Hill U.S.’s director of trading.

$2.07 million: Woods’ prize money for the 2019 Masters win.

$20 million: Value of his yacht Privacy.

$20 million: Estimated value of Woods’ PGA Tour pension plan.

$800 million: Estimated net worth for Woods.

$1.5 billion: Cumulative career earnings for Woods, including prize money, endorsements, appearance fees and golf course design fees.


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I am a senior editor at Forbes and focus mainly on the business of sports and our annual franchise valuations. I also spend a lot of my time digging into what athletes e…

Source: Masters Champion Tiger Woods: By The Numbers

Canelo Alvarez Set To Be World’s Highest-Paid Athlete After Blockbuster $365 Million Contract – Kurt Badenhausen

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Boxer Saul “Canelo” Alvarez scored one of the biggest paydays in the history of sports in the wee hours of Wednesday morning when he signed a deal with sports streaming service DAZN for 11 fights over the next five years. The deal is worth a minimum of $365 million, an average of $33 million per fight, according to his promoter Golden Boy Promotions. Alvarez will kick off his DAZN deal December 15 at Madison Square Garden against Rocky Fielding, and then likely fight again in early May for a Cinco de Mayo match. With the two DAZN fights…….

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/kurtbadenhausen/2018/10/17/canelo-alvarez-set-to-be-worlds-highest-paid-athlete-after-blockbuster-365-million-contract/#a2a165b263bf

 

 

 

 

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Raising Our Daughters To Be Brave: 5 Tips from Top Athlete Crista Samaras – Samantha Walravens

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Crista Samaras made headlines as a nationally ranked lacrosse player at Princeton from 1994-1999 and a gold medalist in the 2001 IFWLA World Cup as a member of the Women’s National Team. She went on to coach women’s lacrosse at Yale and start three companies. From the outside, she is a true American success story. What is less known about her is her lifelong struggle with depression. “I wasn’t a person who ‘kind of” suffered from depression,” explains Samaras. “I was a suicidal kid from seventh grade until today. It’s just the state I’m in……

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/geekgirlrising/2018/09/13/never-use-the-word-fearless-5-tips-for-raising-brave-girls/#154544a42cf6

 

 

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