Four Indian cricketers – Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh – have made it to ESPN’s list of top 100 most famous athletes on the planet. Portuguese Soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo bagged the top place with endorsements running into USD$ 32 million, 93 million instagram followers, 118.1 M Facebook followers and 50.4 M Twitter followers.
For the Indian skipper, this was his second appearance on the list. However, his rank dropped from 8 to 13. His endorsements run into US$ 17.4 million with 13.4 M follower on Instagram, 33.9 M on Facebook and 13.9 M on Twitter.
Dhoni, who also made it to the list for the second time, dropped one rank from rank 14 in 2016 to 15 in 2017. Dhoni has endorsements worth US$ 16 million and followers running into 5.1 M on Instagram, 19.7 M on Facebook and 6 M on Twitter.
Indian tennis player Sania Mirza who was placed 41 in 2016 could not make it to the 2017 list.
As per the ESPN release, Ben Alamar, ESPN’s Director of Analytics, devised a formula that combines endorsements with social media following and Internet search popularity to create the ESPN World Fame 100 rankings.
The ESPN World Fame 100 has been released on ESPN digital editions in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela, the UK as well as the US on ESPN.com and ESPN Deportes, in Africa via Kwese ESPN, in India via Sony ESPN and in China via Tencent’s QQ Sports. Content from the global multimedia project will be produced in Spanish, Portuguese and Mandarin Chinese. In addition to multiple global feature stories, local editorial teams around the world are producing features on key athletes of relevance, and each of the 100 athletes has a short summary addressing why the athlete is famous, a wild-card category that references his/her fame, a quote from or about the athlete and other key information.
The top five athletes on the ESPN World Fame 100 are: Soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo, American baseketball player LeBron James, Argentian soccer player Lionel Messi, Swiss tennis player Roger Federer, American golfer Phil Mickelson.
Included in the extensive World Fame 100 editorial package are features on global superstars like tennis legend Roger Federer, the world’s fastest man Usain Bolt, NBA star Kevin Durant, MMA star Conor McGregor, F1 champion Lewis Hamilton, and footballers Paul Pogba, Didier Drogba, Radamel Falcao and Javier Hernandez.
The World Fame 100 project also includes stories from around the world that examine athletes whose fame may be more concentrated in some parts of the world, like Yuvraj Singh in India, and those whose fame as individual sportsmen and women might surprise — like Jason Day and Eugenie Bouchard.
As part of the overall package, ESPN The Magazine has dedicated an entire issue to World Fame 100, slated to hit newsstands on Friday, June 2.