It’s easy to see why kids grow up wishing to be pro athletes. Not only does this career path allow individuals to play a game they love for a living, but it also provides them with the opportunity to make some serious cash while becoming a household name. But truth be told, fame is a tricky thing, and not every pro sport garners the same amount of attention as others. While this seems like an obvious notion, we now have the information to prove it.
With their World Fame 100 rankings, the good folks at ESPN attempted to answer a simple question: Who’s the most famous athlete in the world? To determine which individual’s popularity reigned supreme, ESPN used a methodology consisting of the following:
We started off with Forbes’ list of the 100 highest-paid athletes, then sought input from ESPN journalists to add other notable athletes. ESPN director of sports analytics Ben Alamar created a formula that combined athletes’ salary/winnings and endorsements with their social media following — Facebook, Twitter and Instagram — along with Google search popularity to create a comparative ranking system.
It’d be easy for us to simply regurgitate the list, but we thought we’d have a little more fun with it. As we said before, tons of kids grow up wishing to be athletes, however, is it for love of the game or love of the fame?
For those who fall into the latter category, we’re here to say that some sports provide a better opportunity for fame than others. Take a look for yourselves; you might be surprised by what you see.