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Lionel Messi Tops the List of the World’s Most Marketable Athletes in 2023

The Argentine football legend Lionel Messi has been named as the world’s most marketable athlete for 2023 by SportsPro, a leading global sports media and events company. The forward tops SportsPro’s annual list of the world’s 50 Most Marketable Athletes (50MM) for a second time, finishing ahead of NBA icon LeBron James and USWNT striker Alex Morgan.

Messi’s Marketability

Lionel Messi is widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time, having won six Ballon d’Or awards, four Champions League titles, and 10 La Liga titles with Barcelona. He also led Argentina to their first Copa America title in 28 years in 2021. In August 2021, he made a sensational move to Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) after Barcelona could not afford to renew his contract due to financial difficulties.

Messi’s popularity and influence transcend the sport of football, as he has a massive global fan base and a strong social media presence. He has over 250 million followers on Instagram, making him the most followed athlete on the platform. He also has lucrative endorsement deals with brands such as Adidas, Pepsi, Gatorade, Huawei, and Mastercard. According to Forbes, he earned $130 million in 2021, making him the second-highest-paid athlete in the world behind Conor McGregor.

Lionel Messi Tops the List of the World’s Most Marketable Athletes in 2023

SportsPro’s Methodology

SportsPro’s 50MM list is based on a comprehensive assessment of athlete marketability using a proprietary algorithm that considers factors such as age, gender, nationality, sport, social media following, engagement, reach, crossover appeal, brand value, and commercial potential. The algorithm also takes into account the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the sports industry and the changing consumer behavior and preferences.

SportsPro’s editorial director Michael Long said: “This year’s 50 Most Marketable Athletes list follows the most comprehensive assessment of athlete marketability we’ve ever undertaken in the 14-year history of SportsPro’s annual ranking. It reflects not only the huge disruption caused by Covid-19 but also the seismic shifts taking place across the global sports industry as it adapts to meet the demands of a new era.”

The Top 10 Athletes

The top 10 athletes in SportsPro’s 50MM list for 2023 are:

  1. Lionel Messi (Football, Argentina)
  2. LeBron James (Basketball, USA)
  3. Alex Morgan (Football, USA)
  4. Giannis Antetokounmpo (Basketball, Greece)
  5. Megan Rapinoe (Football, USA)
  6. Naomi Osaka (Tennis, Japan)
  7. Lewis Hamilton (Formula One, UK)
  8. Simone Biles (Gymnastics, USA)
  9. Cristiano Ronaldo (Football, Portugal)
  10. Tom Brady (American Football, USA)

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