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POP QUIZ

Which Tennis Star Is More Marketable?

By Glenn S. Demby, Esq.

Two female tennis players have been rivals for nearly a decade. Although both are popular, one player makes twice as much in annual endorsements.

Player A is a 33-year-old American who has:

  • Won 67 career singles titles
  • Won 21 career Grand Slam singles titles, second most for any woman all-time
  • Won 13 career Grand Slam doubles titles
  • Beaten Player B in 18 of their 20 head-to-head matches

Player B is a 25-year-old from Russia who has:

  • Won 35 career singles titles
  • Won 5 career Grand Slam singles titles
  • Won 0 career Grand Slam doubles titles
  • Lost to Player A in 18 of their 20 head-to-head matches

Question: Which player makes more in endorsements?

Check your answer and view explanation. open

Answer: Player B, of course.

Player A is Serena Williams. With $13 million in annual endorsements, she’s the 47th highest paid athlete in the world, according to Forbes.

Player B is Maria Sharapova whose $23 million in endorsements puts her at number 26 on the Forbes list, highest of any female.

Although nobody needs to feel sorry for Serena Williams, the fact is that Maria Sharapova is about twice as marketable despite being less than half the player Serena is. Why?

  • Race: Serena has been the target of racial abuse throughout her career, especially at the start;
  • Looks: Maria’s classic, pin-up girl looks enhance her appeal, especially in fashion (to her credit, Serena has pioneered her own fashion lines);

Controversy: Serena has been known to behave badly on and off the court; and her family has also made unfortunate remarks over the years.

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