Maria Sharapova’s Super Earnings Near Top of Forbes

by The Insider on May 13, 2013 · 0 comments

in WTA News

Maria Sharapova is still holding her durability in the headlines.  She recently ended her engagement and is now dating Grigor Dimitrov, and her outfits for competition continue to draw attention to her as a fashion icon in addition to (and sometimes, without regard for) her performance on the court.

In time, of course, Maria will lose enough topspin and foot speed to justify a permanent exit from competitive tennis.  Issues with her shoulder may yet put her racket into storage, but as long as her arm is capable of lifting a Tag Heuer watch or a Canon camera to her face, she’ll likely maintain endorsement deals that have her on the list of Forbes’ highest earning tennis players.

Maria earned the #3 spot on that list, behind Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.  Her $27.1 million in earnings for 2012 are impressive indeed, but what’s most impressive is how little of that is actually from tennis.

Maria’s on-court success has never been nearly as important to sponsors as her ability to sell a product.  Her looks and style brought in $22 million in endorsement deals.  And oh yeah, she earned $5.1 million in a little sport called tennis.

And Sharapova’s revenue is well in bounds relative to the other big names on the list.  Right behind her is Novak Djokovic, socking away a cool $19.8 million.  What’s interesting about his place on the list is the distribution of his income.

While Sharapova gets roughly 1/5 of her daily bread from the sport, Djokovic earned twice as much in tennis but less than half as much in endorsement deals.  Maybe a photograph would help explain why, but as long as pretty ladies are good at selling products, they’ll continue to command bigger money from advertisements.

Even the bottom of the list is no financial slouch.  Andy Roddick netted $8.8 million, of which $8 million was endorsement deals.  His value is sliding with his career (cautionary tale, anyone?  Ms. Sharapova, are you getting this?), but it’s still solid enough to log in with Forbes.

Tennis is well-documented as a high viewership sport, and its fans are more likely to be higher-income earners themselves.  Add a strong international fan base, and you’ve got a very lucrative advertising market to the flagship sponsors of the game.

How lucrative? Strong enough that Corona Extra is aboard for a five-and-a-half year deal that was worth a reported $70 million when it was inked in early 2008.  Shipping giant FedEx, office tech firm Ricoh, and champagne magnate Moet are other marquee sponsors of the ATP Tour.

As big as they are, though, those endorsements equate to just three average years for Sharapova.  So there’s no question that the players drive the bus when it comes to endorsements, relative to the tour itself.

Of course, Maria’s earning potential is heavily front-loaded.  She is piling it up right now, but endorsements figure to wane when she retires.

So while you’re planning for your financial future online, you may be asking yourself what is term vs whole life insurance? She’s potentially in position for a big drop in income.  From the beginning, Sharapova hit the headlines for beauty first and her tennis power second, and she’s been pretty savvy in parlaying both into an effective means of income.

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