What is Serena and Venus Williams’ net worth? How much money do they make?
Venus and Serena Williams are nearing the end of their tennis careers but have proven throughout their sporting lives there is plenty more to come.
Serena and Venus Williams were knocked out in the first round of the US Open women’s doubles tournament on Thursday as part of a farewell tour for the younger of the sisters, who has announced she will retire from tennis after the 2022 tournament at Flushing Meadows. Serena, who has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles during her career, remains active in that competition in New York and faces Ajla Tomljanovic in the third round. Between them, the Williams sisters won an astonishing 122 singles titles; 73 for Serena and 49 for Venus including 30 Grand Slams.
Famously coached in their early years by their father Richard Williams and mother Oracene Price – the subject of an Oscar-winning biopic released earlier this year and starring Will Smith – the sisters were quickly tagged as potential future champions at the Rick Macci academy in Florida and sponsors were queuing up to sign Venus and Serena as teenagers. As their careers progressed – both players are former number ones - prize money and massive endorsement deals flowed.
Venus and Serena’s wealth
Venus Williams turned professional in 1994 and was joined on the WTA Tour by her sister a year later. Since then, no female players have come close to matching their incredible earning power. In 2017, Serena was the only female athlete on the Forbes list of the world’s 100 highest-paid athletes. Two years later, she became the first athlete ever to make the Forbes list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women and remained on that list in 2022. Just under $95 million of Serena’s income has come from on-court winnings, twice as much as the next female player on the list, Venus. In 2022, Forbes pegs her net worth at $260 million.
Serena has long been the gold standard for endorsement deals. Nike were swift to capitalize on the American’s global popularity, signing her to a $40m deal in 2004 and supplying her court attire, while Wilson has provided Williams with rackets throughout her career. Among Serena Williams’ other endorsement deals are Gatorade, Delta, Aston Martin, Pepsi, IBM, Intel, Chase Bank and Beats by Dre headphones.
“She has far and away the most career earnings among female athletes and is one of the very few female athletes to be solidly in the top 20 money earners among all athletes in a given year,” Victor Matheson, a sports economist at College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts, told Reuters. “It’s very unusual in sports to see a female athlete have this sort of financial presence.”
In comparison, Venus is estimated to have a net worth of $95 million. This comes from $42 million in on-court earnings with the rest coming from investments, projects and sponsorships. The older Williams sister signed a deal with Reebok in 1995 at the age of 14 and has also has endorsements with Wilson, Tide, Kraft, Electronic Arts, Ralph Lauren and Lacoste during her career. In 2021 alone, Venus is estimated to have earned $11m through sponsorship deals.
Serena was the second highest-paid female athlete in the world last year behind Naomi Osaka, despite being sidelined for the second half of the season by an injury she suffered at Wimbledon. Forbes stated that Serena earned $45.9m in 2021, with just $0.9m of that from on-court earnings, evidence that both she and Venus have transcended tennis to become cultural icons and business leaders. The sisters were also at the forefront of the campaign for pay equality in tennis and have been credited with helping turn the tide of historical economic disparities in tennis and sport in general.
Serena’s business savvy
The 23-times Grand Slam champion has her own company, Serena Ventures, through which she manages her investments in more than 60 startups. She also invests in other sports- she has put in $75 million into the UFC and is also a minority owner of the Miami Dolphins.
The tennis legend has not only used her fame to build a business empire, she has also employed it to promote social causes. Her activism has seen her supporting the LGBTQ and Black Lives Matter communities. She has also fought for gender equality in tennis and was even awarded the NAACP President Award.
She has invested in Karat, the largest interviewing company in the world, to help them expand their Brilliant Black Minds Program. Through this effort, the company will work on helping more black software engineers to find employment.
With her impending retirement, Williams will have more time to focus on her business ventures, activism, and her family.
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