2017 Most Popular Athletes - ESPN World Fame 100

This is the second year that ESPN have been calculating the world's most popular athletes, using a ranking based on a proprietary formula which factors online searches, endorsements and social media followers. The most famous athletes this year was the same as in 2016, footballer Cristiano Ronaldo. We have also listed the top ranked athlete from each sport and from each country that was on the list.

List of Top-10 most famous sports people of 2017

Here is the top-10 of the World's most famous sports people of 2017. Income and followers are listed as millions. Search popularity was also factored into the ranking. The top 3 were the same as last year. There were many women on the list too, the highest ranked was Ronda Rousey at 16th.

Name Sport Nationality Endorse-
ments
Followers last year
1 Cristiano Ronaldo Soccer Portugal 32 Instagram 93
Facebook 118.1
Twitter 50.4
1
2 LeBron James Basketball USA 55 Instagram 28.5
Facebook 22.6
Twitter 34.4
2
3 Lionel Messi Soccer Argentina 28 Instagram 65.1
Facebook 86.6
3
4 Roger Federer Tennis Switzerland 60 Instagram 2.8
Facebook 14.2
Twitter 6.7
5
5 Phil Mickelson Golf USA 50 - 13
6 Neymar Soccer Brazil 23 Instagram 68.2
Facebook 58.6
Twitter 27.3
4
7 Usain Bolt Athletics Jamaica 30 Instagram 6.4
Facebook 19
Twitter 4.6
15
8 Kevin Durant Basketball USA 36 Facebook 10.3
Twitter 15.5
6
9 Rafael Nadal Tennis Spain 32 Instagram 2.6
Facebook 12.2
Twitter 12
10
10 Tiger Woods Golf USA 45 Instagram 0.75
Facebook 2.9
Twitter 6.2
7

The Most Famous For Each Country

Here is the most famous sports people for each country in 2017, taken from the top 100 list.

Nationality Name Sport Endorse-
ments
Followers overall rank
Argentina Lionel Messi Soccer 28 Instagram 65.1
Facebook 86.6
3
Australia Jason Day Golf 8.5 Instagram 0.42
Twitter 0.43
85
Belgium Eden Hazard Soccer 4 Instagram 8.1
Facebook 8.6
Twitter 4.8
78
Brazil Neymar Soccer 23 Instagram 68.2
Facebook 58.6
Twitter 27.3
6
Canada Eugnie Bouchard Tennis 5.5 Instagram 1.4
Facebook 1.5
Twitter 1.2
93
Chile Alexis Sanchez Soccer 20 Instagram 5.5
Facebook 4.7
Twitter 2
29
China Ning Zetao Swimming 1.5 - 66
Colombia James Rodriguez Soccer 7 Instagram 29.3
Facebook 31.7
Twitter 11.9
27
Croatia Ivan Rakitic Soccer 10 Instagram 7.6
Facebook 3.5
Twitter 0.63
50
Denmark Caroline Wozniacki Tennis 7 Instagram 1
Facebook 1.5
Twitter 1.9
87
Egypt Mohamed Salah Soccer 5 Instagram 3.9
Facebook 6.7
Twitter 2.2
100
England Wayne Rooney Soccer 6 Instagram 9.5
Facebook 25.1
Twitter 14.5
31
France Antoine Griezmann Soccer 5.7 Instagram 8.7
Facebook 6.7
Twitter 3.4
36
Germany Mesut Ozil Soccer 6.5 Instagram 11.1
Facebook 31
Twitter 14.4
30
India Virat Kohli Cricket 17.4 Instagram 13.4
Facebook 33.9
Twitter 13.9
13
Ireland Conor McGregor MMA 4 Instagram 11.1
Facebook 5.2
Twitter 3.6
25
Ivory Coast Didier Drogba Soccer 5 Instagram 4.9
Facebook 9
Twitter 1.3
80
Jamaica Usain Bolt Athletics 30 Instagram 6.4
Facebook 19
Twitter 4.6
7
Japan Kei Nishikori Tennis 30 Instagram 0.23
Facebook 0.67
Twitter 0.75
20
Mexico Javier Hernandez Soccer 3 Instagram 3.8
Facebook 4.9
Twitter 7.4
70
Northern Ireland Rory McIlroy Golf 35 Instagram 1.2
Facebook 1.1
Twitter 3.1
14
Philippines Manny Pacquiao Boxing 2.5 Instagram 3.7
Facebook 11.5
Twitter 0.12
59
Poland Robert Lewandowski Soccer 2.5 Instagram 8.5
Facebook 9.1
Twitter 0.75
82
Portugal Cristiano Ronaldo Soccer 32 Instagram 93
Facebook 118.1
Twitter 50.4
1
Russia Maria Sharopova Tennis 15 Instagram 2.3
Facebook 14.9
Twitter 5.2
23
Scotland Andy Murray Tennis 15 Instagram 1.1
Facebook 3.7
Twitter 3.7
32
Serbia Novak Djokovic Tennis 34 Instagram 3.1
Facebook 7
Twitter 7
12
Spain Rafael Nadal Tennis 32 Instagram 2.6
Facebook 12.2
Twitter 12
9
Sweden Zlatan Ibrahimovic Soccer 7 Instagram 25.1
Facebook 26.1
Twitter 4.4
26
Switzerland Roger Federer Tennis 60 Instagram 2.8
Facebook 14.2
Twitter 6.7
4
Uruguay Luis Suarez Soccer 5 Instagram 20.3
Facebook 18.3
Twitter 8.7
38
USA LeBron James Basketball 55 Instagram 28.5
Facebook 22.6
Twitter 34.4
2
Wales Gareth Bale Soccer 11 Instagram 27.1
Facebook 28.3
Twitter 11.2
22

The most famous for each sport

Here is the most famous sports people for each sport taken from the top 100 list in 2017. It will probably surprise the North Americans that there are Major League Baseball or National Hockey League players on the top 100.

Sport Name Nationality Endorse-
ments
Followers overall rank
American Football Tom Brady USA 8 Instagram 2
Facebook 4.3
21
Athletics Usain Bolt Jamaica 30 Instagram 6.4
Facebook 19
Twitter 4.6
7
Auto Racing Dale Earnhardt Jr. USA 9 Instagram 0.42
Facebook 2.9
Twitter 2
69
Badminton Lin Dan China - Facebook 0.3 88
Basketball LeBron James USA 55 Instagram 28.5
Facebook 22.6
Twitter 34.4
2
Boxing Manny Pacquiao Philippines 2.5 Instagram 3.7
Facebook 11.5
Twitter 0.12
59
Cricket Virat Kohli India 17.4 Instagram 13.4
Facebook 33.9
Twitter 13.9
13
Golf Phil Mickelson USA 50 - 5
Gymnastics Simone Biles USA 1.7 Instagram 3.5
Facebook 0.95
Twitter 0.94
48
MMA Rhonda Rousey USA 8 Instagram 9.5
Facebook 11.3
Twitter 3.4
16
Soccer Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal 32 Instagram 93
Facebook 118.1
Twitter 50.4
1
Swimming Ning Zetao China 1.5 - 66
Table Tennis Ma Long China - - 71
Tennis Roger Federer Switzerland 60 Instagram 2.8
Facebook 14.2
Twitter 6.7
4

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Lists Extra

Football/Soccer is clearly the world's most popular sport, and has the most popular athletes, but which sport has the fittest players (but not necessarily the greatest athlete). These players do not always earn the most.

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