⚡️ Get the free App now
Favorites Edit

Cristiano Ronaldo, Messi, Federer and Kohli all feature in list of 30 most marketable sportsmen in the world

12 Jan 2017, 12:42 IST
messi ronaldo federer
Federer earned more than Ronaldo and Messi combined in 2016!

What’s the story?

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are undoubtedly amongst the two most popular sportsmen at the moment, but what is surprising perhaps is the fact that Roger Federer earned more than the combined sponsorship deals of both Ronaldo and Messi!

Researchers at the London School of Marketing compiled the Sports Marketing Power List after taking into account sponsorship deals of global athletes during 2016. The list threw up some interesting names including those of popular Indian cricketers, Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni.

Speaking about Federer's number 1 position in the list, Jacques de Cock, faculty member at London School of Marketing said:

“Despite Roger Federer’s slow year in terms of success in his sport, his successful endorsement deals show that personal characteristics can also be an important part of long-lasting sponsorships.”

He also spoke about why only two women (Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams) made the list:

“Male athletes still dominate perhaps because they offer advantages to marketers that want to tap into the traditionally hard to reach male consumer market. Fans tend to buy sports clothing and equipment based on what the key sportsman wear, which explains why endorsements are such a major part of cricket, tennis and golf.”

In case you didn’t know...

While Roger Federer is undoubtedly one of the greatest sportsmen of our generation, it is slightly surprising that he heads the list as he missed a major chunk of last year’s action through injury.

One would have expected stars like Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and even Novak Djokovic to have earned more than Federer, but brands seem to have an immense liking for the Swiss maestro and have remained loyal to the 17 time Grand Slam champion. Also, ace golfer Tiger Woods also features on this list at a very high position despite not winning a major competitive tournament since 2014.

The heart of the matter 

Even though the stars of some of these athletes might be on the wane, they still remain extremely marketable to brands all over the world. Top endorsement brands like to go for trusted faces which is seen by the fact that a high number of athletes on this list are above 28 years old.


Also shockingly, only two women make the top 30 list which shows that the sporting world is still incredibly biased towards males. Here is the top 30 list:

RankNameSportEarnings (in £ million)
1Roger FedererTennis49.2
2Lebron JamesBasketball44.3
3Phl MicklesonGolf41
4Tiger WoodsGolf36
5Kevin DurantBasketball29.5
6Rory McilroyGolf28.7
7Novak DjokovicTennis27.9
8Cristiano RonaldoFootball26.2
8Jordan SpiethGolf26.2
8Rafael NadalTennis26.2
11Lionel MessiFootball23
12MS DhoniCricket22.1
13Kobe BryantBasketball20.5
14Neymar Jr.Football18.9
15Kei NishikoriTennis16.4
15Usain BoltAthletics16.4
15Serena WilliamsTennis16.4
15Maria SharapovaTennis16.4
19Virat KohliCricket14.8
20James HardenBasketball13.9
21Peyton ManningAmerican football12.3
21Andy MurrayTennis12.3
23Derrick RoseBasketball11.5
24Cam NewtonAmerican football9.8
24Floyd MayweatherBoxing9.8
24Dwayne WadeBasketball9.8
24Drew BreesAmerican football9.8
24Steph CurryBasketball9.8
29Gareth BaleFootball9
29Kyle IrvingBaskettball9
virat kohli ad ms dhoni
Kohli and Dhoni are the only two Indians on this list

What’s next?

From the list above, it can be seen that the sport of tennis, golf and basketball have the most number of sportsmen on this list. It will not be a surprise if one of the sportsmen from these disciplines top the list next year as well.

Also, Virat Kohli is undoubtedly the face of cricket and if he has a strong year once again, he might well end up being much higher on this list next year.

Sportskeeda’s take

Tennis, football, golf and basketball are all global sports and it is no surprise that these disciplines dominate the list. What comes as a surprise is the fact that brands have decided to stick by performers like Federer, Nadal and Tiger Woods despite the fact that they are possibly over their prime.

In India as well, we can see that trend continuing as the much more experienced Dhoni is well above Virat Kohli on this list. The list definitely gives an interesting insight into the world of sports endorsements where brands are willing to back trusted and famous athletes above new and emerging talents.

Fetching more content...