Rory McIlroy

50 Most Marketable 2016 - Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy


Athletes from across the world have been ranked according to their marketing potential over a three-year period from this summer.

  • Value for money
  • Age
  • Home market
  • Charisma
  • Willingness to be marketed
  • Crossover appeal

Irish, 26, Golf

Former world number one and part of golf’s ’big three’

Representatives: Rory McIlroy Incorporated, The Communications Clinic

Key partners: Nike, Bose, Omega, Santander

2015 ranking: 17


A four-time major winner and member of two victorious Ryder Cup teams, Rory McIlroy has undoubtedly fulfilled his divine talent. World number one for 95 weeks, he stands alongside Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods as one of three players to win three majors by the age of 25. 

Together with Jason Day and Jordan Spieth, McIlroy completes golf’s present-day ‘big three’. However, since the ascendency of his two rivals, he has found majors harder to come by – his last was the 2014 USPGA Championship. His lack of big victories has coincided with serious injury, a UK£20 million (US$29.1million) lawsuit with former agent Horizon Sports Management, and a perceived over-obsession with the gym.

McIlroy, along with the ailing Woods, is perhaps the only active golfer to transcend the sport and he remains the face of Nike Golf thanks to a 2013 deal believed to be worth US$200 million over ten years. That head-to-toe endorsement reduces the Northern Irish golfer’s marketability due to the restrictions the American sportswear giant places on other visible logos about his person. Despite that, and his relative drop in form, he remains one of the most desirable assets in golf, especially in the European market. GD    

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