How much did Puma pay Serena Williams? A look into the American's first big endorsement deal
Serena Williams' numerous achievements have made her a household name all over the world. She also frequently found a way to intertwine fashion with tennis. Her sartorial choices both on and off the court have also made her a style icon.
Before every tournament, fans would also eagerly await to see what kind of outfit Williams would don. Her stature as one of the sport's very best meant she often wore a custom outfit designed especially for her.
While the American dressed in Nike for most of her career, it was Puma who sponsored her during the early days.
Is Serena Williams sponsored by Puma?
While Williams' partnership with Nike is still going strong, she was endorsed by Puma once upon a time. The German sports giant was her first major deal back in the late 90s, even before she claimed her maiden Grand Slam title.
Her father, Richard Williams, was a major contributing force behind the deal and handled the negotiations. Despite his daughter being ranked 99th at the time, he made sure to factor in bonuses for her performances when she would reach the top 10. Talks between the Williams family and Puma began in 1997 and by February 1998, it was a done deal.
How much did Puma pay Serena Williams?
Williams fronted some memorable outfits during her stint with Puma. Her outfit at the 2002 French Open, which was inspired by Cameroon's football team, is one such dress. The black catsuit she wore during the 2002 US Open caused plenty of controversy, but she brushed it all aside to win the tournament.
During her association with Puma, Williams earned around $13 million, making her one of the highest paid female athletes of the time. By the end of 2003, she had six Major singles titles under her belt and had ascended to the top of the world rankings.
In December of that year, Puma went into a bidding war with Nike to retain Williams, but she chose to go with the latter as she bagged a $40 million deal.
Who are Serena Williams' other sponsors?
The legend of Williams only grew over time as she broke record after record. She subsequently bagged numerous endorsement deals that would make her one of the most marketable athletes on the planet.
Aside from Nike, she has also been endorsed by Wilson, Gatorade, Delta Airlines, Aston Martin, Pepsi, Beats by Dre, IBM, Chase Bank, Intel, OnePiece, Tempur, Audemars Piguet and Berlei. After being one of the top earners for a long time, she became the highest paid female athlete in 2016 and maintained the status until 2019.
The American was then pushed to second place by Naomi Osaka, who took over the mantle in 2020. Despite her reduced on-court activities and eventual retirement in 2022, Williams has continued to rake in the big bucks.