Brazilian soccer star Neymar has been ranked as the most marketable athlete on the planet again, topping SportsPro’s annual 50 Most Marketable Athletes list for the second successive year.
The 21-year old Santos player was ranked ahead of FC Barcelona star Lionel Messi and golfer Rory McIlroy in the list, produced in association with Eurosport, which ranks athletes from across the world according to their marketing potential over the next three years.
It is the first time that an athlete has retained the title in the four years SportsPro has published the list. Criteria included age, home market, charisma, willingness to be marketed and crossover appeal. LeBron
The full list of 50 is available here and in the June edition of SportsPro magazine, out today.
SportsPro’s editor-in-chief David Cushnan said: “We ranked Neymar as the most marketable athlete in the world last year and there was really no argument for demoting him this time round. He is poised to be the star of next year’s World Cup, in Brazil, and he still has a blockbuster move to a European club potentially ahead of him. His superstar status and obvious talent make him a magnet for brands in one of the world’s rising economies. He’s everything a brand would want in an endorser and all the signs are his career has not even peaked yet.”
This year’s list features more women than ever before, 14, including five representatives from the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Tour – Sloane Stephens, Victoria Azarenka, Caroline Wozniacki, Maria Sharapova and Laura Robson. The other women on the list are golfers Yani Tseng and Stacy Lewis, racing driver Danica Patrick, swimmer Missy Franklin, skier Lindsey Vonn, ice skater Kim Yu-Na, soccer player Alex Morgan, jockey Katie Walsh and cricketer/soccer player Ellyse Perry.
There are 19 new entries, including Vincent Kompany, Virat Kohli and David Rudisha. There are representatives from 23 countries, with 17 coming from the USA and seven from the United Kingdom.
The list features nine soccer players, including four from the Premier League – Kompany, Jack Wilshere, Shinji Kagawa and Gareth Bale. There are eight representatives from tennis, six from motorsport, five golfers, four basketball players and two each from athletics, ice hockey and boxing. Cricket, American football, swimming, baseball, snowboarding/skateboarding, cycling, mixed martial arts, skiing, ice skating, racing and para-athletics are all represented by a single athlete. Perry, who plays both cricket and soccer for the Australian national team, completes the 50.