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Brazilian star Neymar is the most marketable sportsperson in the world.
The Santos striker has been placed ahead of the likes of Lionel Messi, Usain Bolt and Lewis Hamilton at the top of SportsPro magazine’s top 50 most marketable athletes.
But why is a 21-year-old who has never played club football outside of Brazil or featured in a major international tournament considered more valuable than some of the greatest athletes across the sporting world? Scroll down for the full list Money man: Brazil and Santos star Neymar has been ranked the world’s most marketable athlete again Superstar: Barcelona and Argentina favourite Lionel Messi is just behind Neymar at No 2 David Cushnan, the editor of SportsPro, explains that there are three key reasons why Neymar, who also topped the list last year, earned his position.
‘Essentially the crux of it is we are trying to predict marketing value over the next three years.
We’re trying to forecast who is going to be worth investing from a sponsorship point of view but also who perhaps offers real value for money.
‘Our feeling is that Neymar has the World Cup coming up next year, where he’s going to be the star at home, he’s a megastar in Brazil.
‘He still has this big move to come, probably to Barcelona, that will launch him to whole new level of fame.
And there is no doubt that Messi is the more talented player but you can make the argument he is not particularly charismatic off the pitch, not animated or confident in front of the camera.
Swoosh: Rory McIlroy recently signed a mega-money deal with American giants Nike Rookie sensation: Robert Griffin III had a superb debut season with the Washington Redskins ‘You can’t ignore him but when it comes to marketing our conclusion was Neymar.
From a marketability and brand appeal point of view, if you’re picking someone for three years he’s the guy.’ A team of five sport-business experts at SportsPro have the final decision on the list but use sources around the globe from marketing and advertising agencies and federations across different sports.
There are more sportswomen in the annual list for the first time since its inception in 2008, with American tennis player Sloane Stephens the highest-ranked woman at No 9.
Cushnan believes the Olympics has had an impact on th e number of women on the list, saying: ‘It is certainly true to say there is a lot more potential in women’s sports.
In Britain the Olympics had an effect on that.
Top five: Jamaican sprint king Usain Bolt lit up the London Olympic Games last summer Serb and volley: World No 1 tennis player Novak Djokovic is at No 6 in the list Girl power: American tennis star Sloane Stephens is the only female in the top 10 Hoop dreams: Blake Griffin (No 32) from the Los Angeles Clippers completes the top 10 ‘It underlines they’re not only incredible athletes but are incredible at endorsing a brand and going beyond the sport.
They are comfortable promoting sport as well as there brand or someone else’s brand.
They’re comfortable in front of the camera.’ Cushnan added that social media is also playing a huge factor in how marketable athletes are.
He is high up just because of the way he’s very sensible but also keeps his own personality on Twitter,’ Cushnan said.
Talks about not just football but other issues.’ Net gain: Caroline Wozniacki is one of the world’s most marketable females Coming up on the rails: British jockey Katy Walsh sneaks on to the list at No 50 SPORTSPRO’S TOP 50 MOST MARKETABLE ATHLETES Sportspro take the following into account when compiling the list: Value for money , a ge , h ome market , charisma , w illingness to be marketed , c rossover appeal.
1 Neymar football, Brazil 2 Lionel Messi, football, Argentina 3 Rory McIlroy, golf, UK 4 Robert Griffin III, American football, USA 5 Usain Bolt, athletics, Jamaica 6 Novak Djokovic, tennis, Serbia 7 Lewis Hamilton, Formula One, UK 8 Cristiano Ronaldo, football, Portugal 9 Sloane Stephens, tennis, USA 10 Blake Griffin, basketball, USA 11 Tiger Woods, golf, USA 12 Sebastian Vettel, Formula One, Germany 13 Virat Kohli, cricket, India 14 LeBron James, basketball, USA 15 Victoria Azarenka, tennis, Belarus 16 Maria Sharapova, tennis, Russia 17 Alan Oliveira, Paralympic sprinter, Brazil 18 Andy Murray, tennis, UK 19 Alex Ovechkin, ice hockey, Russia 20 Missy Franklin, swimming, USA 21 Vincent Kompany, football, Belgium 22 Carmelo Anthony, basketball, USA 23 Caroline Wozniacki, tennis, Denmark 24 Sergio Perez, Formula One, Mexico 25 Rafael Nadal, tennis, Spain 26 Lindsey Vonn, skiing, USA 27 Alex Morgan, football, USA 28 Mike Trout, baseball, USA 29 Jack Wilshere, football, UK 30 Yani Tseng, golf, Taiwan 31 Manny Pacquiao, boxing, Philippines 32 Saul Alvarez, boxing, Mexico 33 Lucas Moura, football, Brazil 34 Bubba Watson, golf, USA 35 Shaun White, snow/skateboarding, USA 36 Ellyse Perry, cricket/football, Australia 37 James Harden, basketball, USA 38 Shinji Kagawa, football, Japan 39 Seth Jones, ice hockey, USA 40 Laura Robson, tennis, UK 41 David Rudisha, long-distance runner, Kenya 42 Mark Cavendish, cycling, UK 43 Stacy Lewis, golf, USA 44 Kim Yu-Na, figure skating, South Korea 45 Danica Patrick, Nascar, USA 46 Anderson Silva, MMA, Brazil 47 Dale Earnhardt Jnr, Nascar, USA 48 Gareth Bale, football, UK 49 Robert Kubica, Formula One, Poland 50 Katie Walsh, jockey, UK
‘There is no reason why the existing South Bank undercroft cannot be accommodated into plans by developers with vision and a sense of continuity.’ Photograph: Felix Clay The first time I went to the undercroft at South Bank, the spiritual home of UK skateboarding, I was 11 years old.
I had a little blue plastic Rolling Star board.
It was 1977, the height of the skate craze.
The place was bedlam, with kids flying in every direction, 70s shaggy blond hair alongside unpicked afros.
The energy was electric.
I tried to ride one of the smaller banks but my skateboard was so crap the nose made contact with the bank before the wheels did and I flew to the floor.
It hurt, but I was hooked.
The spot is now set to be demolished as part of a 120m revamp unless campaigners succeed in having it declared a village green and it is saved.
Images of South Bank dominated the main UK magazine Skateboard.
Bonafide US skate superstars passed through.
In an era largely devoid of purpose-built skate spots, it was our home, our mecca.
By the time some good commercial spots had been built, the bubble had burst, the money went elsewhere, and one by one they closed down until we were back where we started.
Five years later, South Bank was a ghost town.
Middle-class arts patrons would scurry quickly across the desolate space between the Royal Festival Hall and the National Theatre and avert their gaze from the gathered homeless seeking rudimentary shelter and a little company.
If they had looked a little closer they would have seen us too.
A handful of diehards, we were pretty much all that remained of skateboarding in London.
There were other skaters around, true, but South Bank belonged to everyone.
Like a unit of forgotten troops left behind after the action had moved on, we were our own dedicated urban ronin, masterless samurai drawn together by our love and devotion to this thing, this simple rolling piece of wood that delivered such joy, valour and freedom.
Several weeknights and every Sunday, rain or shine, we would gather there and share jokes, talk shit, and skate until the last tube home.
All of UK skating passed through, as well as various Europeans, visiting US pro legends, plus the occasional Antipodean.
Passersby would stop and gawp at our diverse and mysterious tribe.
Our fashion sense was sufficiently confusing that one was overhead remarking, “Why are all the tramps skateboarding?” Despite the banks and legendary wall being closed off some years ago, the undercroft remains an icon of global skateboard culture a culture that still inspires talent and creativity across the arts, in film, TV, visual culture, sound culture and alternative spaces.
The visionless proposals to replace the undercroft with yet more soulless glass-fronted corporate retail units is an attack on our communal spaces and ability to lead creative lives with spontaneity and a measure of freedom.
These qualities are the bedrock of creative possibility.
Our culture industry is envied around the world.
The people currently making all those ‘cool’ adverts, innovative designs, original music the kinds of creative arts and theatre that makes the chattering classes feel so smug and excited are mostly of the generation that was inspired by pirate radio, warehouse parties, street skating, graffiti: all those urban activities that are necessarily messy and unstructured and that allow playfulness and creative exploration room to flower and blossom.
There is no reason why the existing site cannot be accommodated into plans by developers with vision and a sense of continuity.
By doing so the South Bank complex would remain an exciting, multidimensional urban space that includes all aspects of culture, high and low, street and salon, loose and structured.
This is the sort of public space we need, not another glut of privately owned, heavily regulated opportunities to spend what little money we have left.
Moving the skaters to a purpose-built spot along the river misses the point.
Reclaimed urban spaces are more than just bits of forgotten concrete.
They have memories.
They resonate with ghosts of the past.
They contribute to the richness and diversity of our lives.
Their value cannot be measured in material terms.
We need South Bank.
Crispin Robinson is a skater who was sponsored by Madrid and Santa Cruz Skateboards from 1986 to 1990
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