More than a few eyebrows were raised this morning when Sportspro magazine released their most marketable athletes list.
Instead of the usual names making the top ten, it was Sloane Stephens and Novak Djokovic that Sportspro decided were the most marketable tennis players. Djokovic, who came in at No.6, didn't surprise too many people. But Stephens, who at No.9 was ranked above Maria Sharapova (16) and Serena Williams (who didn't even make the list) made a few on my Twitter time wonder exactly what the Sportspro people had been smoking.
Sloane may be an up-and-comer with an infectious personality, but she has nowhere near the reach of someone like Sharapova, whose marketability is as certain as a Gulbis temper tantrum.
As it turns out, the entire list was kind of weird. Brazilian footballer Neymar was ranked the most marketable athlete despite never having played club football outside of Brazil or in a major international tournament. Virat Kohli was considered the most marketable cricket star, despite Sachin Tendulkar's name being familiar even to those in the USA. Andy Murray was considered more marketable than Rafael Nadal, as was Victoria Azarenka over Sharapova. Hell, perhaps the most odd choice was that Caroline Wozniacki was ranked higher than Nadal.
Sportspro explained their strange decisions by saying that they were trying to predict marketing value in the future, not the present. "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," the editor-in-chief said.
So having cleared that up, perhaps the blame lies with whoever decided on the header, "Sportpro's Top 50 Most Marketable Athletes".
"Sportpro Predicts The Top 50 Most Marketable Athletes For The Future" might have been a more appropriate title.
You can read the full list here