After reaching the pinnacle of success with Argentina in the 2022 World Cup, Lionel Messi is poised to win his next Ballon d’Or and succeed Karim Benzema, who was the winner in the previous season. While waiting to add an eighth triumph to his list of accomplishments, the 36-year-old Argentine forward has been named the athlete with the highest commercial potential in 2023.
This is according to the annual ranking “The most marketable athletes of 2023” by SportsPro Media, which highlights athletes from highly visible sports. The current Inter Miami player, who became the record holder for the most goals scored in qualifiers after the match between Argentina and Peru (2-0), surpasses NBA star LeBron James and American footballer Alex Morgan. As for French athletes, the star of the French national team, Kylian Mbappé, ranks 9th. It is worth noting that athletes are ranked based on three indicators: the impact of the athlete’s image, particularly related to their sporting performances, their audience (notoriety, fan engagement), and the economic aspect (growth potential, return on investment).
Lionel Messi’s dominance in the marketability ranking comes as no surprise. Throughout his career, he has consistently showcased exceptional skills, mesmerizing fans and critics alike with his talent on the field. His success in the 2022 World Cup, where he led Argentina to victory, further solidified his status as one of the greatest football players of all time.
Messi’s marketability extends beyond his on-field achievements. His image is synonymous with excellence, professionalism, and humility, making him a role model for aspiring athletes and a favorite among sponsors. His global appeal is evident in his massive social media following, with millions of fans eagerly following his every move.
Furthermore, Messi’s economic value cannot be overlooked. His brand endorsements and sponsorships have been highly successful, generating significant revenue for both himself and the companies he represents. His ability to attract sponsors is a testament to his immense popularity and marketability.
In addition to his individual success, Messi’s team affiliation also contributes to his marketability. Joining Inter Miami, a team in the Major League Soccer (MLS), has expanded his reach to the American market, which is known for its lucrative sports industry. This move has undoubtedly increased his commercial potential and opened up new opportunities for brand collaborations.
While Messi’s marketability is undeniable, it is important to recognize the efforts and achievements of other athletes on the list. LeBron James, a basketball legend, has consistently been a highly marketable athlete, leveraging his success on the court to build a global brand. Alex Morgan, a prominent figure in women’s football, has not only excelled on the field but has also been an advocate for gender equality in sports, making her an influential figure in the market.
As for Kylian Mbappé, his inclusion in the top 10 demonstrates his growing popularity and marketability. At just 23 years old, Mbappé has already achieved remarkable success, winning numerous titles with Paris Saint-Germain and representing France at the highest level. With his skill, charisma, and potential for future success, he is undoubtedly a rising star in the world of sports marketing.