The official SportsPro 'most marketable’ list 2018 is out and it is little surprise to see the top spot held by Paul Pogba. From his world famous agent, Mino Raiola, and partnership with Adidas to being (at one point…) the world’s most expensive football player, FIFA World Cup winner, Manchester United legend in the making and he is still only 25.
In fact, SportsPro’s list is almost wholly made up of representatives from traditional sports such as rugby, golf, football, baseball, tennis, swimming, basketball, tennis, athletics etc. It is largely male dominated and most entrants are from the US. On this front there isn’t much change. However, for some, the most surprising addition is the new entry of Tyler Blevins, AKA ‘Ninja’.
Ninja’s fame is through his use of Twitch, specifically footage of him playing the game Halo and now Fortnite. SportsPro reports that an estimated 200,000 users reportedly pay $5 per month to watch Ninja play – netting him US$500,000 per month. He is now reported to have sponsorship deals with Red Bull, Uber Eats and Bud Light and runs his own gaming tournaments.
Ninja’s inclusion on to the list shows the rising prominence of eSports and his example in particular demonstrates the value of eSports to both competitors and brands. Red Bull describe his online following as ‘expanding exponentially’ – a description that we consider also applies to eSports.
Paul Pogba named world’s most marketable athlete of 2018