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Serena Williams gets no respect when it comes to endorsement. Here's why.
Serena Williams stands on the cusp of winning all four major tennis tournaments in one year, a feat that has been seen just five times, the last time in 1988. Despite her prowess on the court, Williams makes much less money than other tennis stars.
On Forbes's list of highest paid athletes Williams ranks 47th, reports The Atlantic. Of the seven tennis players on the Forbes list, Williams is last for endorsement deals with just $13 million annually. Williams is poised to win her 22nd Grand Slam title this year, and has dominated American sports, let alone women's tennis. Roger Federer, the male tennis counterpart to Williams, will earn almost $58 million in endorsements this year. Even Maria Sharapova, no where near able to touch Williams' skill, will make $10 million more than Williams. So what gives?
For starters Williams isn't male. Despite what one could assume, Federer falls short of Williams' 21 Grand Slams, holding only 17. Federer has spent 302 weeks ranked number one. Williams has been number one for 250 weeks, but she's on the road to surpass Federer soon. And as for win-loss rations, Federer has about 4.4 wins per loss. Williams has 6. It's not like Federer or his male counterparts are bringing more viewers than Williams either. The women's finals in the U.S. Open have surpassed the men's for the last two years. This year, the women's final of the U.S. Open sold out before the men's.
Sorry "experts," men really aren't more marketable for athletics either, even though marketers love targeting young men. Women control $29 trillion buying power in across the globe, and make 64% of household purchasing decisions. Sketchers and Nike have both picked up on it, steering their marketing to women.
Williams' other problem, apparently, is that she's black and muscular. Thin, blonde Sharapova makes more than Williams, although she's not as strong of a player. Williams has been attacked before for looking too "manly," and not fitting the stereotypical feminine sexy that Sharapova does.
At least Williams' doesn't let her under-appreciated value keep her down. She recently launched the "Greatness Collection" with Nike, and is ready to slay anyone standing between her and another Grand Slam.
Photo: Marianne Bevis