|Naomi Osaka, the 22-year-old tennis ace, has racked up $37 million in earnings in the past year, more than any other woman in history. That includes Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova.
“For many people, Osaka’s introduction to the world was the memorable 2018 U.S. Open final versus Serena Williams, where Serena’s confrontation with the chair umpire overshadowed Naomi’s win,” notes SportsMoney Senior Editor Kurt Badenhausen. But tennis insiders had been buzzing about Osaka for a couple of years about her potential on and off the court.
“She checks all the boxes for marketers: young, accomplished and multicultural in a global sport where the fan demographics are off the charts,” says Badenhausen.
Look to IMG, the dominant sports agency in tennis for decades. “They had huge success getting deals for clients like Maria Sharapova, who broke through at a young age; Li Na, who made history at age 29 as the first Asian-born person to win a grand slam; and Kei Nishikori, who until 2018 was the most accomplished player in the history of the wealthy Japanese market.”
Osaka represents the most marketable aspects of each of them. Read more for the full story.