Lionel Messi dethrones LeBron James to become most marketable athlete in the world

Lebron James with Lionel Messi before kick off of Messi's first game in the USA

Lionel Messi dethrones LeBron James to become most marketable athlete in the world

Kolawole Babatunde 20:42 - 13.03.2024

Lionel Messi has dethroned basketball legend LeBron James to claim the top spot on SportsPro's prestigious 50 Most Marketable (50MM) list.

According to Yardbarker, there are several factors that contributed to Messi's rise to the top of the sports marketing world, with the biggest one being his move to the MLS in the USA.

A Superstar in a New Market: The Messi-MLS Advantage

Messi in action for Inter miami

Michael Long, editorial director at SportsPro, attributes Messi's dominance in part to his move to Major League Soccer (MLS).  He highlights the unique blend of sports and entertainment in leagues like MLS, creating a "match made in marketing heaven" for Messi.

Long emphasizes the significance of this transition. By playing in the US, Messi intersects with cultural icons from various spheres, similar to how David Beckham leveraged his MLS stint to become a global commercial powerhouse.

Beyond the Field: Messi's Appeal Goes Global

Messi meets Will Smith bags assist in MLS Opener as Inter Miami beats Real Salt Lake.

However, Messi's marketability extends far beyond his on-field prowess and celebrity status.  Long highlights his active involvement in charitable causes and his support for social and environmental initiatives.

Messi's public support for UNICEF and environmental sustainability resonates with fans and brands alike, broadening his appeal beyond the realm of sports. As Long emphasizes, aligning with meaningful causes is increasingly important for athletes, as brands prioritize such factors when selecting endorsement partners.

Messi's reign as the most marketable athlete showcases his multifaceted appeal. His athletic excellence, coupled with his social consciousness, solidifies his position as a global icon both on and off the pitch.

The top ten Most Marketable Athletes

1. Lionel Messi

2. LeBron James

3. Alex Morgan

4. Giannis Antetokounmpo

5. Megan Rapinoe

6. Mikaela Shiffrin

7. Lewis Hamilton

8. Simone Biles

9. Kylian Mbappe

10. Max Verstappen