Serena Williams, Alex Morgan Among Highest-Paid Female Athletes in 2019

The numbers are in, and tennis star Serena Williams has been named as the highest-paid female athlete in 2019.

Every year, Forbes identifies the female athletes that are raking in the cash and ranks them according to the total amount earned. However, these stars aren't simply arranged by contracts or yearly salaries. Forbes also adds in the amount of money earned through endorsement deals.

This year, Williams, 37, tops the list with a total of $29.2 million earned. She brought in $4.2 million as prize money while accruing a staggering $25 million in endorsement deals. She beat out Naomi Osaka for the top spot despite earning less prize money. Osaka won $8.3 million in 2019 but only earned $16 million through endorsements.

Interestingly enough, Serena is ranked higher on the list than Venus Williams, 39, who earned $900,000 in prize money and $5 million in endorsement deals.

What's fascinating about this list of the highest-paid female athletes is that of the 15 names included, 13 play tennis. The other two (Alex Morgan, Ariya Jutanugarn) play soccer and golf, respectively.

Jutanugarn is the last name included after she won $3.3 million in prize money. She also brought in $2 million in endorsement money. Jutanugarn is actually one of the only names on the list that earned more money in prize money than she did from sponsors.

Possibly the most staggering difference in terms of money earned is that of Morgan. The most recent World Cup champion was placed at 12th overall but was significantly aided by her endorsements. Morgan was paid a mere $250,000 as her salary, but she brought in an additional $5.5 million from sponsors in Nike, Coca-Cola, Beats, AT&T, Volkswagen, and Continental Tires.

This lower salary compared to other athletes actually prompted Morgan and her teammates on the United States Women's National Soccer Team to band with an organization named Time's Up to fight for equal pay for women.

With this new partnership that also involved big Hollywood stars such as Jessica Chastain and Brie Larson, the hope is that the USWNT and Time's Up can fight for equal pay in entertainment, sports, and every other industry.

Morgan and her teammates are also currently heading toward mediation due to a class-action lawsuit that they filed against the U.S. Soccer Federation on March 8. According to the lawsuit, the women's team was paid only $1.725 million in bonuses for winning the 2015 World Cup while the men's team landed $5.375 million after being eliminated during the round of 16.


If Morgan and her teammates are successful in their pursuit of equity, it's very likely that she could be vying for one of the top spots on Forbes' 2020 list. She already earns a large sum of money through endorsement deals, so adding in a larger salary would launch her into the top 10, if not the top five.