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
Irish, 28, Golf
Golf’s US$200 million man
Representatives: Rory McIlroy Incorporated, The Communications Clinic
Key partners: Nike, Bose, Omega, Santander, TaylorMade
2016 ranking: 34
It is fair to say that Rory Mcllroy has had a topsy-turvy 12 months.
Still no major win since 2014, a well-publicised round of golf with controversial US president Donald Trump, an ever-increasing injury list and a first Ryder Cup loss have amounted to a challenging spell for the Northern Irishman. That said, he took home a cool US$10 million when he won the PGA Tour's season-ending FedEx Cup, secured two supply deals - an apparel agreement with Nike and a club deal with TaylorMade - for a combined US$200 million over the next decade, and married long-term partner Erica Stoll in early 2017.
“Every ten or 20 years someone like him comes along. Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Seve Ballesteros, Lee Trevino, Nick Faldo, these guys only come along every once in a while and Rory has now arrived and is here to stay.” - Sam Torrance, professional golfer turned commentator.
Golf’s ‘big three’ of Mcllroy, Jason Day and Jordan Spieth has now become a foursome, with world number one Dustin Johnson translating potential to dominant form on the course. There is also the rising threat of the likes of Hideki Matsuyama and John Rahm, but the 28-year-old Mcllroy is still sought after by broadcasters, sponsors and fans alike.
Like Tiger Woods before him, McIlroy is locked into a high-profile personal endorsement with Nike that creates challenges. He is, nonetheless, still the most bankable European golfer and given his natural ability, coupled with his clean-living lifestyle, it seems a case of when rather than if he completes his set of major titles. GD