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Serena Williams, Danica Patrick and More: Life After Sports - Female Athletes Who Became Business Tycoons

Serena Williams, Danica Patrick and More: Life After Sports - Female Athletes Who Became Business Tycoons

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Aug. 31 2022, Published 9:00 a.m. ET

Athletes are conditioned to being on the ball when it comes to their success in the sporting world. However, after their short-lived sporting achievements comes an entirely different opportunity - the business world.

It is all but a foregone conclusion that the most elite of athletes will make the transition from the world of sports to that of entrepreneurship. While most of the most prosperous of this growing group are men, we cannot (and frankly, will not) overlook the fierce females who have gone on to be a pro in the world of CEO.

So, for a few moments let’s give our undivided attention to the ladies who have gone on to rein over the wide world of life after sports. The women who swapped the sweat in a gym for the air-cooled boardroom of business.

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Serena Williams

Serena Williams continues to serve it up in the business world - hard. First, on the tennis courts of the world, Serena earned a reported $94 million in prize money alone. That is twice as much as any other female athlete, ever. That could be a result of her 23 Grand Slam titles.

Serena’s endorsements include Gucci, Gatorade, Nike and DIRECTV. Those, along with others, added almost $50 million in revenue alone giving the tennis icon an overall worth of $260 million.

Proving she isn’t just an ace money earner on the tennis court, Serena made wise additions to her portfolio with investments in over 60 startups. However, she did the boss move and did that investment through her firm Serena Ventures. Just this spring the firm announced it raised $111 million in its first year.

In addition to sitting on the board of Momentive (parent company to SurveyMoney), Serena is set to release her first ever children’s book in the fall of 2022.

Maria Sharapova

This legendary tennis pro isn’t just one of the world’s top tennis players, she is also an ace business lady. Maria Sharapova, with five Grand slam titles, has a reported net worth of $220 million bucks. Apart from the money she earned from her athleticism, Sharapova has endorsements from Nike, Porsche, and Evian.

Even more impressive is the fact that the star tennis player made the Forbes’ highest-paid female athlete list a remarkable 11 years in a row. Her top earning year as an athlete came with a $30 million dollar year in 2015.

After her pro-athlete years, her business success has come from her stakes in the crypto market most recently. However, Sharapova not only sits on the board of fashion company Monclear Group, she also has a 100% ownership over her own candy business Sugarpova.

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Venus Williams

The current third top earning female athlete is Venus Williams with a reported earning of $11.3 million dollars in 2022. Most of that money comes from her endorsements with brands like American Express, Stitch Fix and Clif Bar. In fact, only $300,000 is from winnings, while the remaining $11 million is from endorsement deals.

Throughout her career Venus has amassed over $40 million in winnings from the court. This is due in part to her seven Grand Slam Championships.

Outside of the tennis world, Venus has earned the title of business women with part ownership in the Miami Dolphins in 2009. And later with the launching of her own fashion line, EleVen. Most recently Venus along with her sister Serena entered the world of Hollywood. Both served as executive producers on the Oscar-winning movie King Richard, which centered on her father Richard Williams.

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Danica Patrick

Danica Patrick is estimated to have a net worth of $80 million dollars. Patrick is easily the best female racer in the world with the most wins of any female in racing history. Those accomplishments have helped Patrick land some of the biggest endorsements in sports. Among the companies that she promotes are Coca-Cola, Chevrolet and Nationwide Insurance.

Her retirement in 2018 has led to ventures in the business world. Most notably Patrick created a wine company called Somnium, her own clothing line called Warrior, and a candle company called Voyant. Most however know the post-professional Patrick for her podcast called “Pretty Intense Podcast.”

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Michelle Brooke-Marciniak

Michelle Brooke-Marciniak is a former WNBA point guard with impressive accomplishments to her credit. Brooke-Marciniak competed for two National Championships at the University of Tennessee before going pro. After a stint in the American Basketball League she would enter the WNBA for the Portland Fire before going over to the Seattle Storm. In her tenure with the sports she would become known as one of the best point guard in the sport.

After retirement Brook-Marciniak went on to create the company SHEEX. Best known for their bedding and sleepwear, the company was created to make the world’s first athletic-performance sheets.

That along with other ventures have helped this woman amass a net worth of $13 million dollars.

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