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
British, 23, Soccer
European soccer’s unassuming hitman
Representatives: Unique Sports Management
Key partners: Nike, Beats By Dre, Lucozade Sport, BT Sport
2016 ranking: New entry
Harry Kane is the accidental hero, the one-season wonder who has now torn up the Premier League three years running. At 20, he was a young prospect written off in some quarters as unremarkable. At 23, he is among European soccer’s deadliest centre forwards.
There are a couple of reasons that so few saw Kane coming. One is that he has no one physical or technical attribute that catches the eye. Instead, he has worked to become a remarkable all-round striker – intelligent, committed and decisive.
“For an essentially unflashy footballer he remains an oddly compelling sight throughout all this, not obviously quick but mobile and relentless, not tricky but precise on the ball, and with a pummelling shot from a low backlift. He is also very dear and likeable, a man slightly out of his time, resembling as he stands to attention in the pre-match line-up the ghost of a kindly Victorian chimney sweep. Albeit with something steely and slightly frightening.” - Barney Ronay, The Guardian.
The other is that he has long been similarly unassuming off the field. An even-spoken teetotaller, he has admitted that he achieved more in his breakout 2015 campaign than he expected in his entire career. Yet there is authenticity in that that brands now respond to as readily as the Tottenham Hotspur fans who so lustily hail the man as one of their own.
Kane leads a Spurs side that have gone from running gag to rolling tide; he is the everyman who now fronts campaigns for a hip-hop impresario’s headphones and stars in EA Sports videogames. He will likely captain England at a Fifa World Cup.
Perhaps few saw him coming, but here he is to stay. EC