It's difficult to become a major endorsement machine in the sport of tennis, save for a few breakout mega-stars. On the women's side, those have been the same three for a while now: the Williams sisters and Maria Sharapova.
Venus signed a gargantuan $40 million deal with Reebok in 2009 that continues to make her $8 million each year through the end of 2013. Her active deals include American Express, Kraft, Avon and Jamba Juice. Her sister Serena has deals with Wilson, Gatorade, Mission Athletecare, Sheets energy strips, and the Home Shopping Network. This year she added a deal with OPI nails and invested in photo app Mobli.
But Sharapova makes more off the court than either sister. Her Nike deal, renewed in 2010 for eight more years at a reported $70 million, is the biggest in all of pro tennis. She has active deals with Evian, watchmaker Tag Heuer, Homestead Properties, Head, and Cole Haan (her ballet flat has been the top-selling female shoe at Cole Haan for more than two years). This year, she hooked up with Samsung for a three-year sponsorship deal. And in August she launched Sugarpova (yes, really), her own line of candy that will sell in Macy's, F.A.O. Schwartz, and elsewhere. "Sharapova and the Williams sisters are still the biggest draws at women's tennis matches," says Shabelman. "Until they retire or get knocked off the throne, sponsors would be ridiculous not to take them."
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