SportsPro and NorthStar Solutions Group’s expanded methodology assessed hundreds of global athletes across three key scoring pillars: Brand Strength, Total Addressable Market, and ECON – Triple Bottom Line.

For the first time, sophisticated qualitative research was integrated with quantitative marketability measurements, while comprehensive mathematical and statistical formulas from multiple data sources were then applied to determine the final rankings according to each athlete’s Total Marketability Score.

Read on to find out more or watch our short video explainer.

What does 'Marketability Score' mean?

Athletes are ranked according to their ‘Marketability Score’, which is split into three distinct scoring components: Brand Strength, Total Addressable Market, and Economics. These weighted scores have been added together to generate an overall Marketability Score out of 100, with each athlete assigned a proportionate score in relation to the top performer for each metric.

Brand Strength, which carries a maximum score of 35, is determined by individual factors such as authenticity, risk and reputation, in-sport performance, presentation, momentum, and each athlete’s purpose, mission and values.

Total Addressable Market – with a maximum score of 45 – encompasses factors such as overall reach, attention growth, social sentiment, audience engagement, and sponsor, sport and team awareness.

Meanwhile Economics, which carries a maximum score of 20, incorporates an athlete’s market value and estimated worth, their public support for environmental causes, and the extent to which they generate social and community benefits through their actions, influence and engagement.

See our example athlete, Mikaela Shiffrin, and how the scores breakdown:

How is the 50 Most Marketable Athletes list generated?

This year marks the first time in the 14-year history of SportsPro’s 50 Most Marketable Athletes that qualitative research has been integrated with quantitative metrics to determine the final ranking.   

SportsPro and NorthStar’s methodology comprised three main assessment stages. First, the entire sports ecosystem was mapped out and narrowed down to 174 sports categories, out of which we derived a total universe of 993 athletes for further analysis (compared to a list of 700 athletes in 2022).   

In order to be considered eligible for this year’s list, an athlete must have been active during the evaluation period 15th June 2022 to 20th August 2023. Upon applying layers of qualitative and quantitative analytics on the full universe of athletes, we whittled down the final list to 125 global athletes that were active during the evaluation period.

We then applied 16 qualitative and quantitative drivers to each of the 125 athletes. Each driver was weighted and comprised of comprehensive mathematical and statistical formulas pulling from multiple primary and secondary data sources.

All 16 weighted drivers rolled up into three weighted scoring pillars, the sum of which equals an athlete’s Total Marketability Score (out of 100), which determined the final rankings.