Are Tennis Players Underpaid?
During the summer, Sports Illustrated came out with its list of the Top 50 highest earning athletes in the U.S. and the Top 20 internationally. One tennis player, Andre Agassi, made the Top 50 U.S. list in 13th place. Two players, Swiss star, Roger Federer, and Russian, Maria Sharapova, made the Top 20 international list in 7th and 4th places respectively. Agassi earned almost $25 million of which $23 million was from his myriad endorsements. Sharapova also banked $25 million last year while Federer earned $22 million. In contrast to many of the top team sport athletes on the list, the tennis players garnered most of their earnings from off-court endorsements. Tennis players’ on-court “salaries” are not guaranteed like most team sport athletes and so they need to not only play regularly, but also win regularly to earn their prize money. As a result, they can maintain their rankings and popularity which leads to their off-court endorsements. Obviously, prize money is a function of the tournament/tour sponsorship money tennis can attract in the marketplace, but do tennis players deserve more prize money as the top athletes in their sport worldwide? There was a lot of talk at Wimbledon regarding equal prize money for men and women, but what about paying tennis pros as much as other top athletes?
Related post: Show Me the Money!