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Simone Biles named world’s most marketable athlete for 2021

US gymnastics star tops SportsPro's 50 Most Marketable Athletes list presented by Greenfly and powered by Zoomph.

23 August 2021 Tom Bassam
  • Four-time Olympic gold medal winner takes top spot in SportsPro’s 2021 list of the World’s 50 Most Marketable Athletes presented by Greenfly
  • American star edges out tennis ace Naomi Osaka and USWNT goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris

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 social media flow leader 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 and 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: “SportsPro’s list demonstrates a shift in athlete marketability that goes beyond reach and engagement. Fans want 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.”

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 https://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.

SportsPro 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

Simone Biles has been named as the world’s most marketable athlete for 2021

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