Gymnastics icon Simone Biles named World’s Most Marketable Athlete

Four-time Olympic gold medal winner takes the top spot in SportsPro's 2021 list of the World's 50 Most Marketable Athletes presented by Greenfly.

23 August 2021 Kirsty Arundale
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London, UK – 23rd August 2021

Gymnastics icon Simone Biles has been named as the world’s most marketable athlete for 2021. The 19-time world champion and owner of four Olympic gold medals edges out four-time Grand Slam tennis champion Naomi Osaka to take top spot in SportsPro’s 2021 list of the World’s 50 Most Marketable Athletes presented by Greenfly. 

USWNT goalkeeper and social activist Ashlyn Harris, boxing great Canelo Alvarez, along with Argentinian soccer star Paulo Dybala round out this year’s top five. 

This year’s 50 Most Marketable (50MM) Athletes list is presented by digital media monetization specialist Greenfly and powered by Zoomph’s digital engagement measurement expertise. The methodology draws on vast amounts of social media data to generate an Athlete Influencer Score comprising five key metrics: post frequency, reach, engagement, fan demographic and fan attractiveness. 

Designed to accurately measure social media marketability, the Athlete Influencer Score is based not just on an athlete’s social media reach, but also demographic makeup and consumer affinities of their audience. More than 7,000 athletes who have been active in 2021 on at least three of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, as well as TikTok were tracked and analysed in order to inform the list. 

Now in its 12th year, SportsPro’s 50MM platform enables sports marketers to make sponsorship decisions more quickly and intelligently than ever by objectively assessing where true value lies in sports marketing through the application of in-depth data analysis, social media monitoring, and consumer insights. 

After their successful launch in 2020, this year also sees the continuation of the separate global top 50 lists for brands and properties, including leagues, teams, governing bodies and major events across the globe. Those two lists will be published in the coming months. 

The 2021 list of the World’s 50 Most Marketable Athletes presented by Greenfly has been released in full today via a dedicated 50MM content hub containing interactive tables and graphics, individual commercial profiles, features, podcasts and more. 

“With the social media expertise of Greenfly and the analytical nous of Zoomph, we are confident that this year’s 50MM list and dedicated content hub offers a comprehensive ranking of athlete marketability,” said Paul Guest, SportsPro’s Commercial Director. 

“Based not just on reach but also an understanding of crossover appeal and the demographics with buying power, we feel as if this year’s 50 represent a true snapshot of where athlete marketing is in a world where their voices are being heard louder than they ever have before.” 

Tom Kuhr, Chief Marketing Officer at Greenfly, added:  As this list demonstrates, athlete marketability now goes way beyond reach and engagement. Fans now prefer to connect directly with athletes on social, bypassing leagues and teams. When athletes are authentic and relatable, they’re able to connect more deeply with fans and followers. That’s what brands should be looking for now – honest endorsement and an audience that listens. Reach and frequency is perfect for assessing ad spend, but athletes are really our most valuable influencers. 
 
“The 50MM is about driving consumer purchase behaviour. It serves as a menu for marketers to first determine their desired audience segment(s) and secondly, to then identify an athlete(s) that both best connects with that audience(s) and fits with their brand’s values and mission” Scott Lewis, Zoomph Director of Strategic Initiatives, says. 

To view the full list of the World’s 50 Most Marketable Athletes presented by Greenfly, head over to SportsPro’s dedicated 50MM content hub at www.sportspro50mm.com. Join in the conversation on social media using the hashtag #SP50MM

The list will also be explored in depth during a dedicated virtual event, titled ‘Inside the 2021 Most Marketable Athletes’, on Thursday 2nd September. Register to access the event at www.sportspro50mm.com

World’s 50 Most Marketable Athletes presented by Greenfly – the top ten: 

  1. Simone Biles, Gymnastics, USA, 24 
  2. Naomi Osaka, Tennis, Japan, 23 
  3. Ashlyn Harris, Soccer, USA, 35 
  4. Canelo Alvarez, Boxing, Mexico, 31 
  5. Paulo Dybala, Soccer, Argentina, 27 
  6. Cristiano Ronaldo, Soccer, Portugal, 36 
  7. Ali Krieger, Soccer, USA, 37 
  8. Stefanos Tsitsipas, Tennis, Greece, 23 
  9. Novak Djokovic, Tennis, Serbia, 34 
  10. Alex Morgan, Soccer, USA, 32 

About SportsPro 

SportsPro is the world's leading international media company for the sports industry in print, digital and events. Launched in 2008, SportsPro is our highly respected flagship magazine combining in-depth reporting and analysis with diverse features and top-level interviews. Since 2014 SportsPro has also hosted annual conferences across the globe providing outstanding content, access and networking opportunities to top-level executives from the leading rights holders, broadcasters and content distributors. For more information about SportsPro, or to contact a member of the team today, visit sportspromedia.com

About Greenfly 

Greenfly, the leader in media flow management, empowers organisations to generate more revenue by automating the collection and large-scale distribution of short-form videos and photos to their partners and advocates. The company’s award-winning software platform and mobile app transforms athletes, sponsors and broadcasters into social promoters and harnesses the true value of their digital media inventory. Founded in 2014, Greenfly is headquartered in Santa Monica, California, with offices across the US and Europe. For more information, visit www.greenfly.com 

About Zoomph 

Zoomph empowers brands agencies and rights holders across sports and esports with data to increase revenue and identify new opportunities through media measurement & valuation, benchmarking, and consumer insights. Zoomph, which is headquartered in Reston, Virginia, is partnered with leagues and teams across sports and esports, including the Chicago White Sox, Golden State Warriors and LA Rams, NASCAR, and Angel City FC and Team Liquid. For more information, check us out at Zoomph.com 

For more information contact: 

Paul Guest, Commercial Director, SportsPro 

info@sportspromedia.com