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Forgotten Russian Star Is Now the Highest Paid Female Athlete Ever

I’m going to be totally honest: I wasn’t even sure Maria Sharapova was still alive. Well, I figured she was alive, but that she spent her days suntanning, jet skiing and hanging out on Mikhail Prokhorov’s yacht. That’s what I would do if I was financially secure and cool enough to know Mikhail Prokhorov.


Turns out that Maria Sharapova is not nearly as lazy as I am. While she hasn’t been tearing it up on the court (and she was never that great to begin with) she has been an absolute marketing beast. She’s used her name, her savvy and her stunning beauty to propel herself to the top of the female athlete earnings chart. 

I guess I never knew how powerful she was because I’m not her target audience. But, to those who buy candy, Nikes (NYSE: NKE), Avon (NYSE: AVP) products, Porshces and much more, she is an icon. She rakes in money from all these endorsements, which also include Tag Heuer and Evian. She seems to be trying to corner the market on “stuff rich people waste money on when shopping in airports.”

She even proudly sells something called “SUGARGOOP!” I mean, when you can get people to buy a product with a name like that, you know you’re a branding force to be reckoned with. That sounds like the coked up fever dream of a Nestle (VTX: NESN) executive trying to invent a cereal-yogurt hybrid. Thankfully, it’s just sunscreen. 

 

Sharapova’s pride and joy product is her signature candy line, the not so creatively named “SugarPova.”She sells some of the candies as a “Sporty Mix.” I wanted to hate on that. It’s a deceptive name, because it makes it seem like the candies are somehow better suited for athletes. Like, they would be some sort of post workout fuel instead of just little balls of sugar. But, just as my full umbrage was about to go into effect, I googled a picture of the Sporty Mix. 


I couldn’t help but fall in love with the little candies that look like adorable, edible tennis balls. If she had a basketball version I would buy it in a heartbeat. I guess that's why she earned thirty million this year while also signing the richest contract Nike has ever awarded to a woman. Winning over cynics like me in the click of a button is how Sharapova continues to dominate long after she's left the public eye.