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Naomi Osaka tops 2022 list as women athletes’ earnings surge

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Naomi Osaka once again tops the list of the highest-paid female athletes in the world, bringing in $51.1 million in 2022, according to Forbes.

She’s followed by Serena Williams, who earned $41.3 million. Eileen Gu, who gained popularity following her performance at the 2022 Beijing Olympics, brought in $20.1 million, which included $20 million in endorsements.

In total, the 25 highest-paid female athletes in the world made roughly $285 million this year before taxes and agents’ fees. The top 10 of those athletes made up for $194 million of that total, a 17 percent increase from 2021.

Eight of the 10 made at least $10 million in 2022 for the first time since Forbes introduced the rankings in 2008. That number also doubled from a year ago.

“I think everybody’s seeing a tremendous amount of momentum with women’s sports and women’s sports sponsorships,” Cameron Wagner, Chief Client Officer of Elevate Sports Ventures, told Forbes. “We’ve made a ton of progress. We have a ton of progress left to be made, but brands are starting to see the value in women’s sports here and today as a driver of their business.”

The year brought increases across women’s sports, including for England’s players following their Euros win. The Athletic recently detailed how their endorsement deals have skyrocketed in the months following the title.

Women’s soccer sponsorships have also increased. FIFA recently released a report detailing how 77 percent of women’s soccer leagues had a title sponsor in 2022, an increase from 66 percent in 2021.

While tennis players still make up the majority of the top 10, golfers have also increased their earnings after the LPGA introduced record tournament purses. That should only increase in the coming year as the tour stands to break records once again with its offerings.

The top 10

  1. Naomi Osaka, Tennis – $51.1 mil
  2. Serena Williams, Tennis – $41.3 mil
  3. Eileen Gu, Freestyle Skiing – $20.1 mil
  4. Emma Raducanu, Tennis – $18.7 mil
  5. Iga Swiatek, Tennis – $14.9 mil
  6. Venus Williams, Tennis – $12.1 mil
  7. Coco Gauff, Tennis – $11.1 mil
  8. Simone Biles, Gymnastics – $10 mil
  9. Jessica Pegula, Tennis – $7.6 mil
  10. Minjee Lee, Golf – $7.3 mil