Lionel Messi goes past LeBron James to become the world’s most marketable athlete – Here’s why

Lionel Messi goes past LeBron James to become the world’s most marketable athlete – Here’s why

Lionel Messi has surpassed LeBron James to become the most marketable athlete in the world, as per the editorial director of SportsPro. He claims that the Argentine’s charitable causes and the move to MLS only boosted his popularity.

Messi Surpasses LeBron as World’s Top Marketable Athlete

Speaking on the Footballco Business Podcast, Michael Long stated that the Inter Miami star was getting more eyeballs than any other sportsperson in the world. He added that the celebrities going to watch the former Barcelona star in action at the Chase Stadium got him on top of their list.

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He was talking about Lionel Messi topping the 50 Most Marketable athlete’s list, Long stated:

“There’s that courtside culture, that sports and entertainment culture that we see in the NBA and the NFL, more so than anywhere else. And I think he’s [Messi] rubbing shoulders now with not only [David] Beckham and other past and present greats of football, but all these other cultural icons in the sports and the entertainment world.”

He added:

“That kind of moves him into a different dimension almost, I think, that we haven’t really seen around Messi and certainly didn’t see when he was at Barcelona so much. But I think he has the potential to have a Beckham-like impact, commercial impact on MLS, however long he sticks around in the league, building up to the next World Cup for sure, which could ultimately be a swansong. It’s a really interesting dynamic to see Messi in America. A match made in marketing heaven.”

Lionel Messi at Inter Miami
Lionel Messi at Inter Miami (Photo by Getty Images)

Long continued:

“From an economic perspective, his market value and estimated worth rank him very highly. But also his public support for environmental and social causes that he’s not necessarily well known for. [He’s a] UNICEF ambassador, he’s got the Leo Messi Foundation, he supports other environmental initiatives and things like that. So that’s worked in his favour. That kind of cause element is really important for brands these days, I think, when they’re aligning with athletes.”

Apart from Lionel Messi, there are 22 other footballers in the top 50. Alex Morgan, Megan Rapione and Kylian Mbappe are the only ones in the top 10 this year.

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Barcelona’s Robert Lewandowski comes in at number 16, while Bayern Munich’s Alphonso Davies is the final name in the Top 20. Lionel Messi’s long-time rival in the world of football, Cristiano Ronaldo, is sitting at #27 in the list, a place behind Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka.