The World’s 50 Most Marketable Athletes list is powered by Nielsen’s athlete marketability assessment methodology. Called the Influencer Selection and Measurement Framework, the methodology draws on vast amounts of social media data to generate an Athlete Influencer Score comprising four key data points: relevance, reach, return, and resonance.

Designed to accurately monitor social campaign effectiveness, the framework incorporates a range of performance and sponsorship-related KPIs, such as social following, content engagement, fanbase growth over time, media value, and the performance of branded versus organic content. For this list, the Instagram accounts for over 6,000 athletes from 21 sports were tracked over the last 12 months.

This year’s 50 Most Marketable Athletes list is powered entirely by Nielsen. Read the leading media data and measurement company’s analysis on the rise of athlete influencers and how the planet’s elite competitors are harnessing the power of their platform.

SportsPro deputy editor Sam Carp picks out some of the key trends and storylines bubbling beneath the surface of this year’s rankings – and what they mean for the future of marketability.

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Lionel Messi
1
Lionel Messi Argentinian, 33, Soccer Athlete Influencer Score 115
50 5 23 37
Cristiano Ronaldo
2
Cristiano Ronaldo Portuguese, 35, Soccer Athlete Influencer Score 113
50 5 24 34
LeBron James
3
LeBron James American, 35, Basketball Athlete Influencer Score 110
50 5 18 37
Virat Kohli
4
Virat Kohli Indian, 31, Cricket Athlete Influencer Score 109
43 9 26 31
Bianca Andreescu
5
Bianca Andreescu Canadian, 20, Tennis Athlete Influencer Score 107
30 48 11 18
Neymar Jr
6
Neymar Jr Brazilian, 28, Soccer Athlete Influencer Score 107
50 3 21 22
Khabib Nurmagomedov
7
Khabib Nurmagomedov Russian, 32, MMA Athlete Influencer Score 106
43 5 33 25
Rohit Sharma
8
Rohit Sharma Indian, 33, Cricket Athlete Influencer Score 103
42 10 18 33
Mohamed Salah
9
Mohamed Salah Egyptian, 28, Soccer Athlete Influencer Score 103
44 6 16 37
Paulo Dybala
10
Paulo Dybala Argentinian, 26, Soccer Athlete Influencer Score 100
38 6 18 38
Eden Hazard
11
Eden Hazard Belgian, 29, Soccer Athlete Influencer Score 99
41 6 14 38
Ryan Garcia
12
Ryan Garcia American, 22, Boxing Athlete Influencer Score 97
26 17 29 24
Steph Curry
13
Steph Curry American, 32, Basketball Athlete Influencer Score 96
47 4 19 26
Simone Biles
14
Simone Biles American, 23, Gymnastics Athlete Influencer Score 95
50 7 24 14
Kylian Mbappé
15
Kylian Mbappé French, 21, Soccer Athlete Influencer Score 93
35 6 17 35
Erling Haaland
16
Erling Haaland Norwegian, 20, Soccer Athlete Influencer Score 92
30 11 5 17
Alex Morgan
17
Alex Morgan American, 31, Soccer Athlete Influencer Score 92
34 11 13 33
Coco Gauff
18
Coco Gauff American, 16, Tennis Athlete Influencer Score 92
29 44 6 12
Paul Pogba
19
Paul Pogba French, 27, Soccer Athlete Influencer Score 90
40 4 15 31
Robert Lewandowski
20
Robert Lewandowski Polish, 32, Soccer Athlete Influencer Score 87
39 4 23 21
Lewis Hamilton
21
Lewis Hamilton British, 35, Motorsport Athlete Influencer Score 87
44 5 20 18
Dina Asher-Smith
22
Dina Asher-Smith British, 24, Athletics Athlete Influencer Score 86
12 31 23 20
Virgil van Dijk
23
Virgil van Dijk Dutch, 29, Soccer Athlete Influencer Score 84
34 13 13 23
Jorge Masvidal
24
Jorge Masvidal American, 35, MMA Athlete Influencer Score 84
24 24 17 20
Megan Rapinoe
25
Megan Rapinoe American, 35, Soccer Athlete Influencer Score 83
33 24 16 10
Patrick Mahomes
26
Patrick Mahomes American, 25, Football Athlete Influencer Score 82
31 19 7 25
Sky Brown
27
Sky Brown British, 12, Skateboarding Athlete Influencer Score 81
27 11 23 20
Rafael Nadal
28
Rafael Nadal Spanish, 34, Tennis Athlete Influencer Score 79
41 4 19 14
Anna Gasser
29
Anna Gasser Austrian, 29, Snowboarding Athlete Influencer Score 77
23 8 31 15
Tom Brady
30
Tom Brady American, 43, Football Athlete Influencer Score 76
43 7 10 16
Anthony Joshua
31
Anthony Joshua British, 30, Boxing Athlete Influencer Score 76
37 5 18 16
Tyson Fury
32
Tyson Fury British, 32, Boxing Athlete Influencer Score 75
35 8 26 6
Naomi Osaka
33
Naomi Osaka Japanese, 22, Tennis Athlete Influencer Score 75
33 12 9 21
Son Heung-min
34
Son Heung-min Korean, 28, Soccer Athlete Influencer Score 74
33 12 9 27
Roger Federer
35
Roger Federer Swiss, 39, Tennis Athlete Influencer Score 72
41 6 6 19
Luka Dončić
36
Luka Dončić Slovenian, 21, Basketball Athlete Influencer Score 72
30 14 6 23
Charles Leclerc
37
Charles Leclerc Monégasque, 22, Motorsport Athlete Influencer Score 72
27 17 11 17
Kelia Termini
38
Kelia Termini American, 27, Surfing Athlete Influencer Score 72
23 5 29 15
Dele Alli
39
Dele Alli British, 24, Soccer Athlete Influencer Score 71
42 3 13 13
Bethany Hamilton
40
Bethany Hamilton American, 30, Surfing Athlete Influencer Score 71
27 3 27 14
Carissa Moore
41
Carissa Moore American, 28, Surfing Athlete Influencer Score 71
22 3 30 15
Anthony Davis
42
Anthony Davis American, 27, Basketball Athlete Influencer Score 70
36 10 8 16
Zion Williamson
43
Zion Williamson American, 20, Basketball Athlete Influencer Score 70
30 12 7 21
Giannis Antetokounmpo
44
Giannis Antetokounmpo Greek, 25, Basketball Athlete Influencer Score 69
31 9 10 19
Katrín Davíðsdóttir
45
Katrín Davíðsdóttir Icelandic, 27, Crossfit Athlete Influencer Score 69
26 4 27 11
Katelyn Ohashi
46
Katelyn Ohashi American, 23, Gymnastics Athlete Influencer Score 69
26 8 17 18
Dorothea Wierer
47
Dorothea Wierer Italian, 30, Biathlon Athlete Influencer Score 69
25 14 15 14
Ashleigh Barty
48
Ashleigh Barty Australian, 24, Tennis Athlete Influencer Score 69
11 19 21 19
Mikaela Shiffrin
49
Mikaela Shiffrin American, 25, Skiing Athlete Influencer Score 68
26 6 26 10
Russell Westbrook
50
Russell Westbrook American, 31, Basketball Athlete Influencer Score 68
35 4 10 19
1
Name Lionel Messi
  
Nationality Argentinian
Age 33
Sport Soccer
  
Athlete Influencer Score 115
  
Reach 50
Relevance 5
Resonance 23
Return 37
50 5 23 37
2
Name Cristiano Ronaldo
  
Nationality Portuguese
Age 35
Sport Soccer
  
Athlete Influencer Score 113
  
Reach 50
Relevance 5
Resonance 24
Return 34
50 5 24 34
3
Name LeBron James
  
Nationality American
Age 35
Sport Basketball
  
Athlete Influencer Score 110
  
Reach 50
Relevance 5
Resonance 18
Return 37
50 5 18 37
4
Name Virat Kohli
  
Nationality Indian
Age 31
Sport Cricket
  
Athlete Influencer Score 109
  
Reach 43
Relevance 9
Resonance 26
Return 31
43 9 26 31
5
Name Bianca Andreescu
  
Nationality Canadian
Age 20
Sport Tennis
  
Athlete Influencer Score 107
  
Reach 30
Relevance 48
Resonance 11
Return 18
30 48 11 18
6
Name Neymar Jr
  
Nationality Brazilian
Age 28
Sport Soccer
  
Athlete Influencer Score 107
  
Reach 50
Relevance 3
Resonance 21
Return 22
50 3 21 22
7
Name Khabib Nurmagomedov
  
Nationality Russian
Age 32
Sport MMA
  
Athlete Influencer Score 106
  
Reach 43
Relevance 5
Resonance 33
Return 25
43 5 33 25
8
Name Rohit Sharma
  
Nationality Indian
Age 33
Sport Cricket
  
Athlete Influencer Score 103
  
Reach 42
Relevance 10
Resonance 18
Return 33
42 10 18 33
9
Name Mohamed Salah
  
Nationality Egyptian
Age 28
Sport Soccer
  
Athlete Influencer Score 103
  
Reach 44
Relevance 6
Resonance 16
Return 37
44 6 16 37
10
Name Paulo Dybala
  
Nationality Argentinian
Age 26
Sport Soccer
  
Athlete Influencer Score 100
  
Reach 38
Relevance 6
Resonance 18
Return 38
38 6 18 38
11
Name Eden Hazard
  
Nationality Belgian
Age 29
Sport Soccer
  
Athlete Influencer Score 99
  
Reach 41
Relevance 6
Resonance 14
Return 38
41 6 14 38
12
Name Ryan Garcia
  
Nationality American
Age 22
Sport Boxing
  
Athlete Influencer Score 97
  
Reach 26
Relevance 17
Resonance 29
Return 24
26 17 29 24
13
Name Steph Curry
  
Nationality American
Age 32
Sport Basketball
  
Athlete Influencer Score 96
  
Reach 47
Relevance 4
Resonance 19
Return 26
47 4 19 26
14
Name Simone Biles
  
Nationality American
Age 23
Sport Gymnastics
  
Athlete Influencer Score 95
  
Reach 50
Relevance 7
Resonance 24
Return 14
50 7 24 14
15
Name Kylian Mbappé
  
Nationality French
Age 21
Sport Soccer
  
Athlete Influencer Score 93
  
Reach 35
Relevance 6
Resonance 17
Return 35
35 6 17 35
16
Name Erling Haaland
  
Nationality Norwegian
Age 20
Sport Soccer
  
Athlete Influencer Score 92
  
Reach 30
Relevance 11
Resonance 5
Return 17
30 11 5 17
17
Name Alex Morgan
  
Nationality American
Age 31
Sport Soccer
  
Athlete Influencer Score 92
  
Reach 34
Relevance 11
Resonance 13
Return 33
34 11 13 33
18
Name Coco Gauff
  
Nationality American
Age 16
Sport Tennis
  
Athlete Influencer Score 92
  
Reach 29
Relevance 44
Resonance 6
Return 12
29 44 6 12
19
Name Paul Pogba
  
Nationality French
Age 27
Sport Soccer
  
Athlete Influencer Score 90
  
Reach 40
Relevance 4
Resonance 15
Return 31
40 4 15 31
20
Name Robert Lewandowski
  
Nationality Polish
Age 32
Sport Soccer
  
Athlete Influencer Score 87
  
Reach 39
Relevance 4
Resonance 23
Return 21
39 4 23 21
21
Name Lewis Hamilton
  
Nationality British
Age 35
Sport Motorsport
  
Athlete Influencer Score 87
  
Reach 44
Relevance 5
Resonance 20
Return 18
44 5 20 18
22
Name Dina Asher-Smith
  
Nationality British
Age 24
Sport Athletics
  
Athlete Influencer Score 86
  
Reach 12
Relevance 31
Resonance 23
Return 20
12 31 23 20
23
Name Virgil van Dijk
  
Nationality Dutch
Age 29
Sport Soccer
  
Athlete Influencer Score 84
  
Reach 34
Relevance 13
Resonance 13
Return 23
34 13 13 23
24
Name Jorge Masvidal
  
Nationality American
Age 35
Sport MMA
  
Athlete Influencer Score 84
  
Reach 24
Relevance 24
Resonance 17
Return 20
24 24 17 20
25
Name Megan Rapinoe
  
Nationality American
Age 35
Sport Soccer
  
Athlete Influencer Score 83
  
Reach 33
Relevance 24
Resonance 16
Return 10
33 24 16 10
26
Name Patrick Mahomes
  
Nationality American
Age 25
Sport Football
  
Athlete Influencer Score 82
  
Reach 31
Relevance 19
Resonance 7
Return 25
31 19 7 25
27
Name Sky Brown
  
Nationality British
Age 12
Sport Skateboarding
  
Athlete Influencer Score 81
  
Reach 27
Relevance 11
Resonance 23
Return 20
27 11 23 20
28
Name Rafael Nadal
  
Nationality Spanish
Age 34
Sport Tennis
  
Athlete Influencer Score 79
  
Reach 41
Relevance 4
Resonance 19
Return 14
41 4 19 14
29
Name Anna Gasser
  
Nationality Austrian
Age 29
Sport Snowboarding
  
Athlete Influencer Score 77
  
Reach 23
Relevance 8
Resonance 31
Return 15
23 8 31 15
30
Name Tom Brady
  
Nationality American
Age 43
Sport Football
  
Athlete Influencer Score 76
  
Reach 43
Relevance 7
Resonance 10
Return 16
43 7 10 16
31
Name Anthony Joshua
  
Nationality British
Age 30
Sport Boxing
  
Athlete Influencer Score 76
  
Reach 37
Relevance 5
Resonance 18
Return 16
37 5 18 16
32
Name Tyson Fury
  
Nationality British
Age 32
Sport Boxing
  
Athlete Influencer Score 75
  
Reach 35
Relevance 8
Resonance 26
Return 6
35 8 26 6
33
Name Naomi Osaka
  
Nationality Japanese
Age 22
Sport Tennis
  
Athlete Influencer Score 75
  
Reach 33
Relevance 12
Resonance 9
Return 21
33 12 9 21
34
Name Son Heung-min
  
Nationality Korean
Age 28
Sport Soccer
  
Athlete Influencer Score 74
  
Reach 33
Relevance 12
Resonance 9
Return 27
33 12 9 27
35
Name Roger Federer
  
Nationality Swiss
Age 39
Sport Tennis
  
Athlete Influencer Score 72
  
Reach 41
Relevance 6
Resonance 6
Return 19
41 6 6 19
36
Name Luka Dončić
  
Nationality Slovenian
Age 21
Sport Basketball
  
Athlete Influencer Score 72
  
Reach 30
Relevance 14
Resonance 6
Return 23
30 14 6 23
37
Name Charles Leclerc
  
Nationality Monégasque
Age 22
Sport Motorsport
  
Athlete Influencer Score 72
  
Reach 27
Relevance 17
Resonance 11
Return 17
27 17 11 17
38
Name Kelia Termini
  
Nationality American
Age 27
Sport Surfing
  
Athlete Influencer Score 72
  
Reach 23
Relevance 5
Resonance 29
Return 15
23 5 29 15
39
Name Dele Alli
  
Nationality British
Age 24
Sport Soccer
  
Athlete Influencer Score 71
  
Reach 42
Relevance 3
Resonance 13
Return 13
42 3 13 13
40
Name Bethany Hamilton
  
Nationality American
Age 30
Sport Surfing
  
Athlete Influencer Score 71
  
Reach 27
Relevance 3
Resonance 27
Return 14
27 3 27 14
41
Name Carissa Moore
  
Nationality American
Age 28
Sport Surfing
  
Athlete Influencer Score 71
  
Reach 22
Relevance 3
Resonance 30
Return 15
22 3 30 15
42
Name Anthony Davis
  
Nationality American
Age 27
Sport Basketball
  
Athlete Influencer Score 70
  
Reach 36
Relevance 10
Resonance 8
Return 16
36 10 8 16
43
Name Zion Williamson
  
Nationality American
Age 20
Sport Basketball
  
Athlete Influencer Score 70
  
Reach 30
Relevance 12
Resonance 7
Return 21
30 12 7 21
44
Name Giannis Antetokounmpo
  
Nationality Greek
Age 25
Sport Basketball
  
Athlete Influencer Score 69
  
Reach 31
Relevance 9
Resonance 10
Return 19
31 9 10 19
45
Name Katrín Davíðsdóttir
  
Nationality Icelandic
Age 27
Sport Crossfit
  
Athlete Influencer Score 69
  
Reach 26
Relevance 4
Resonance 27
Return 11
26 4 27 11
46
Name Katelyn Ohashi
  
Nationality American
Age 23
Sport Gymnastics
  
Athlete Influencer Score 69
  
Reach 26
Relevance 8
Resonance 17
Return 18
26 8 17 18
47
Name Dorothea Wierer
  
Nationality Italian
Age 30
Sport Biathlon
  
Athlete Influencer Score 69
  
Reach 25
Relevance 14
Resonance 15
Return 14
25 14 15 14
48
Name Ashleigh Barty
  
Nationality Australian
Age 24
Sport Tennis
  
Athlete Influencer Score 69
  
Reach 11
Relevance 19
Resonance 21
Return 19
11 19 21 19
49
Name Mikaela Shiffrin
  
Nationality American
Age 25
Sport Skiing
  
Athlete Influencer Score 68
  
Reach 26
Relevance 6
Resonance 26
Return 10
26 6 26 10
50
Name Russell Westbrook
  
Nationality American
Age 31
Sport Basketball
  
Athlete Influencer Score 68
  
Reach 35
Relevance 4
Resonance 10
Return 19
35 4 10 19
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