ESPN has released their 2017 World Fame 100. It is their attempt to statistically rank the 100 most famous athletes in the world.
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They began their analysis with a look at Forbes’ list of the highest paid athletes and expanded their pool using national and international sources. The input of ESPN journalists both foreign and domestic was used in generating the list.
ESPN director of sports analytics Ben Alamar devised a formula that weighed endorsements, social media following (on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram), and Google search popularity. The analysis contained five categories: endorsement money, Twitter followers, Instagram followers, Facebook followers, and Google trends score.
Salary was not used a factor because of the differences within sports. Players in a salary cap league (like the NFL) would be at a disadvantage compared to players in an uncapped league (like Major League Baseball).
Retired athletes and amateur athletes are omitted from the list.
Eight NFL players are the 2017 ESPN World Fame 100. Not surprising, six of the players are quarterbacks: No. 21 Tom Brady (New England Patriots), No. 47 Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers), No. 52 Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints), No. 55 Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks), No. 56 Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers), and No. 60 Eli Manning (New York Giants).
The other NFL players on the list are Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (No. 64) and Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (No. 74).
Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo (No. 1), Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (No. 2), and FC Barcelona star Lionel Messi (No. 3) headline the list for the second year in a row.
Rounding out the Top-10 are 18-time tennis Grand Slam champion Roger Federer (No. 4), three-time Masters champion Phil Mickelson (No. 5), FC Barcelona forward Neymar (No. 6), eight-time Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt (No. 7), Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (No. 8), 14-time tennis Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal (No. 9), and 14-time golf Majors champion Tiger Woods (No. 10).
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