Tennis legend Serena Williams stands as the most commercially valued athlete across women’s sport with her 18 partnerships standing at an estimated $32.2m for 2021. Grand slam rival Naomi Osaka comes in second at $27.1m, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
Patrick Kinch, Sport Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Tennis currently represents the most lucrative sporting sector for women’s sport in terms of athlete endorsements, with 122 brand partnerships across its top 13 players accumulating an estimated $97.26m in sponsorship value this year.”
Osaka, owing to her dual nationality with Japan and the USA, combined with her early grand slam success, makes her an attractive prospect for brands, with her current status pushing her sponsorship value. While as a legend of the game with sustained success over a number of years, makes Williams the most appealing partnership prospect.
Kinch continues: “Of the top 20 athletes appearing on GlobalData’s sponsorship valuation estimates, 11 are tennis players with golf, swimming, gymnastics, winter sports, soccer and badminton also represented.
“Of note, only two of the top 20 athletes are from team sports, with US soccer players Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan featuring. This suggests that the next phase in the commercial development of women’s sport will focus primarily on the marketing of team sports and the engaging rivalries within it, which are more commonly seen across men’s sport.”