With the rise of social media, television and instantly obtainable viewing platforms on the internet, the soar of sports to its present astronomical levels really is enough to take back even the most avid of fans. With sports stars now fulfilling roles as celebrity icons, politicians and even high flying business, the monetary and social commodities that come with even just their name is staggering. Competition for the right to call yourself the world’s most marketable athlete is a fierce and volatile ordeal these days, with positions constantly shifting and changing through bigger and better deals from the world’s biggest company partners.
#1 Anthony Joshua
Easily the world's most famous current boxer, Anthony Joshua has experienced a truly meteoric rise through the sporting world. From winning gold at his home nation olympics in 2012, the British boxer is the current undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. Winning all of his fights bar one by a knockout, Joshua's powerful punch and subsequent success in boxing rings has made him one of the most instantly recognisable faces on the globe. Sporting several major sponsorship deals, media appearences and even bigger hyped fights, Joshua's rise up the marketing tables is sure to keep growing over the coming years.
#2 Stephen Curry
The superstar of the NBA league in the United States, Stephen Curry is a complete megastar in his own right. Not only does he have the claim of owning a huge array of impressive records, ranging from the most three pointers in a season to scooping up the MVP award by a unanimous vote, but Curry has the ability to boast the fact that he's the one who had previously set that record. His consistent improvements is truly staggering and his standing in the American press has led him to being idolised by millions up and down the country.
#3 Paul Pogba
Paul Pogba's massive transfer fee of 89 million to Manchester United in the summer 2016 personified the unrivalled wealth of global football clubs, and thrust the player to the front of every single page and website on the planet. Always the focal point of everyone's attention, Pogba's charismatic and 'out there' character has made him one of the most actively talked about individual on the internet at times, and with the amount of sponsorship deals and promotion appearences he's racking up this season, don't be surprised to see Manchester United midfielder climbing up this list again in the future.
#4 Conor McGregor
An absolutely massive character in and out of the ring, Conor McGregor has almost single handedly taken the MMA scene from the backlog of the sporting world, right to the very front of it. His public persona of being a slightly crazed and extroverted character with a no filter approach to life and the people he encounters has really won over millions of fans across the planet as he establishes himself as the fan favourite of the sport. Quickly becoming the face for an entire sport, McGregor's ability to stay at the very front of every news form possible is what keeps his place in this list assured.
As controversial as it was lucrative, nothing in the giant world of football was talked about more than the Neymar transfer from Barcelona to PSG in the summer of 2017. Seen by millions as the golden successor of the great Lionel Messi, the transfer was riddled with allegations of underhand dealings and the public shows performed by Neymar before, during and after the drama certainly helped keep his image relevant. With blistering speed, superb dribbling and one of the naturally best eyes for goal in the entire game, it's clear that Neymar will go down as one of the sport's very best players ever. The hopes of an entirely football mad country in Brazil continue to thrust Neymar's way and it looks like his image is destined to keep growing.
#6 Virat Kohli
There are very countries in the world where sport is adored as much as India when it comes to cricket. Comparable to a religion in many respects, Kohli has rapidly established himself as Indian's Messiah. Stylish, talented beyond belief and with a personality that people either love or hate him for, it's clear to see why the world keeps talking about Virat Kohli. Captain now of all forms of the national team and with twenty different brands behind him, Kohli has blended himself so much in the public image that he combines the celebrity status he's acquired with his role as a sportsperson.
#7 Rory McIlroy
Ranked number one at the top of the golfing rankings for a mammoth ninety-five weeks, Rory McIlroy has really put a charm and appeal back into a one time nearly depleted sport in golfing. Practically the face of the sport in his home nations, McIlroy has an impressive trophy cabinet, even though he is still at the relatively young age of 29. With one of the biggest and most staggering sponsorships in the entire world of sport with Nike behind him, McIlroy's marketable worth will remain one of the powerhouses in the world.
#8 Harry Kane
A talismanic and exciting young player, Harry Kane took the footballing world by storm in his breakout year and has continued to prove critics and fans alike wrong with his impressive goal tally rising and rising. The iconic player of both the Tottenham and England teams, the looming world cup could make Harry Kane one of the world's most top and talked players. The face of so many sponsorship deals and with plenty of guest appearences on the football youtube scene behind him, his is a face that people are more than familiar with. Plenty of rumours are refusing to budge linking Kane with a massive, potentially record breaking move to the likes of Real Madrid which would only take Kane to the next level.
#9 Lewis Hamilton
One of the most daring and successful Formula One racers of all time, Lewis Hamilton's consistent deliverance at the top of the podium has been staggering. His ability to keep up the pace with rivals from all makes and models shows off his raw talent for his sport. With four world championships behind him, he constantly shows himself off as the most valuable fast paced driver in the world. With sponsorship deals reportedly close to over a £100 million behind him, Lewis Hamilton has almost single handedly thrust Formula One into the limelight as a creditable and fashionable sport to invest in.
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