Athletes from across the world have been ranked according to their marketing potential over a three-year period from this summer.
- Value for money
- Home market
- Willingness to be marketed
- Crossover appeal
Canadian, 20, Ice Hockey
The NHL’s next ‘one’ making good on his promise
Representatives: Orr Hockey Group
Key Partners: Reebok-CCM, CIBC, BioSteel
2016 Ranking: 20
Rarely has a sporting talent been so widely celebrated before debuting in a professional sphere, but if Connor McDavid’s injury-hit first National Hockey League (NHL) season left any embers of doubt as to why, they were fully extinguished in 2016/17.
Comparisons with past ice hockey greats shadow McDavid like the defensemen he leaves in his wake, but the Canadian has already started writing his own history. Last year he was named the NHL’s youngest ever captain, before accumulating a league-best points haul while leading the Edmonton Oilers to their first Stanley Cup Playoffs in 11 years.
“This year I think there's more pressure to perform and that's good. It's something I've always had to deal with, it's nothing new to me.” - Connor McDavid, speaking to Rolling Stone magazine.
Entrusted with responsibility traditionally bestowed upon someone his elder, it’s ironic that the 20-year-old’s least favourite topic is himself when that’s what all the questions are about. He’s as composed off the ice as he is explosive on it, and exudes a maturity that makes him a safe bet for sponsors.
If the NHL maintains its stance of protecting its assets from next year’s Winter Olympics, however, not only will it prevent McDavid being exposed to new markets, but a wider audience will be deprived of one of sport’s most exciting athletes. Regardless, McDavid is cementing himself as ice hockey’s flag bearer for years to come. SC