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Rory McIlroy is officially the most marketable golfer in the world – at least, according to a new study.

SportsPro has revealed its top 50 Most Marketable (50MM) athletes for 2022, with four-time major winner McIlroy making it onto the list. However, the Northern Irishman is the only golfer listed.

He is ranked 48th on the list, a long way back of footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, who was named the most marketable athlete in the world. McIlroy only just made the top 50 despite winning the FedEx Cup, contending at the majors and repeatedly speaking out in the LIV Golf/PGA Tour row.

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It means golf has less representatives in the top 50 than sports such as skiing, snowboarding, boxing and swimming.

To rank athletes, SportsPro and solutions group NorthStar employed experts to judge each one’s “marketability score”, which rated their brand strength, audience and reach, and economics.

The scores were added together to give an overall score out of 100.

It also took into account how much web and social media coverage they generated from fans and media outlets and whether they raised any red flags in a “brand risk assessment”.

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“Marketability can be defined in many ways, but what’s clear from our in-depth assessment is that each of the athletes in this year’s diverse list delivers considerable value to their brand partners,” said Michael Long, editorial director at SportsPro.

“Not only are they elite, highly visible performers in their respective sports, their individual reach and influence and, in many cases, willingness to speak out on social issues positions them as ideal ambassadors for companies seeking to communicate authentically to consumers.”

The world’s most marketable athletes

  1. Cristiano Ronaldo
  2. Serena Williams
  3. Lewis Hamilton
  4. LeBron James
  5. Lionel Messi
  6. Naomi Osaka
  7. Virat Kohli
  8. Alex Morgan
  9. Sam Kerr
  10. Tom Brady

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