DALLAS, Dec. 18, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- MVPindex, the de facto social media index and valuation platform for sports and entertainment, today released its 2017 rankings for the most valuable athletes in social media. This year's Top 3 are: Conor McGregor (UFC), LeBron James (NBA) and Stephen Curry (NBA). The NBA dominated the 2017 list with eight players in the Top 25. (The ranking includes active professional and Olympic athletes who reside or compete primarily in the U.S.)
MVPindex ranks entities using a proprietary algorithm that evaluates social activity throughout the calendar year. The MVPindex score is composed of three different variables: Reach, Engagement, and Conversation. Scores are displayed as a normalized scoring range between 0.00 and 1.00, and are measured relative to the other entities in their respective categories.
Mixed martial arts fighter Conor McGregor claimed this year's top spot with a 0.978 MVPindex score. Had he not retired, Floyd Mayweather – who has more than 41 million followers – would have made the Top 25 list. But unlike his victory in the ring, Mayweather would not have been able to grab the top spot from McGregor, whose total social media footprint was worth $616 million in 2017 compared to Mayweather's $92 million.
Four women made the Top 25 in 2017: Serena Williams (#7), Simone Biles (#16), Ronda Rousey (#21) and Danika Patrick (#22). The Cavaliers, Thunder, Rockets and Warriors are the only teams with more than one player on the list. The youngest athlete on the list is Biles at 20, and the oldest is NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr. at 43. A number of sports did not have an athlete crack the Top 50 let alone the Top 25, including Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League, whose top social performers were Bryce Harper (#63) and P.K. Subban (#74) respectively. The PGA, LPGA and WNBA also failed to make the Top 25 with Rory McIlroy coming the closest at #46.
"This year's list rewarded those athletes who harnessed the incredible power of social media to build deeper relationships with their fans and drive value for their sponsors," said Kyle Nelson, co-founder of MVPindex. "This should be a wake-up call to athletes, leagues, players and brands across all of sports – social media is a legitimate marketing channel that builds authentic fan engagement, drives tangible value and warrants a dedicated strategy. Develop a winning social playbook by listening and engaging, or you are leaving money on the table."
MVPindex's 2017 ranking does not include WWE and esports. If MVPindex included WWE superstars, the Top 25 list would look much different. John Cena, Niki Bella and Roman Reigns all would make the Top 10, with Cena taking the #2 spot ahead of James.
Esports, which like the WWE is as much an entertainment business as it is a sports business, is growing rapidly on a global scale. In 2018, as streamers and competitive gamers continue to enter the mainstream, look for their follower counts to rise and top gamers like Scump, Trump, YoDa, felps and brTT to give "traditional" sports athletes a run for their money.
Which brand earned the most value in 2017 from mentions by teams, leagues, players, media, events, and venues across major professional sports in the U.S.? Nike took the top spot for 2017, with mentions from sports entities generating $69.1 million for the brand – 67 percent of which came from the NBA. It's no coincidence that this season marked the introduction of Nike as the NBA's official jersey provider, not to mention the brand's longstanding relationship with LeBron James.
Taking the #2 spot for 2017 was a little-known brand from a very popular UFC athlete. F.A.S.T. (Fighter Aerobic/Anaerobic System of Training) Conditioning is a 12-week workout program developed by leading sports doctors and exercise physiologists in conjunction with Conor McGregor, MVPindex's #1 ranked athlete for 2017. While the brand was only mentioned 54 times on social in 2017, McGregor mentioned the brand 46 times, accounting for nearly all of its $22.5 million in social value. The UFC fighter generated 22 percent more social value for his brand than the 351 sports entities that mentioned Under Armour during the same time period.
Reebok came in at #5 earning $20 million in social value, with the UFC generating 91 percent of the brand's social value through top activations, including posts from McGregor. Under Armour takes the #6 spot earning $18.6 million in social value. The brand's activation strategy focuses on optimizing social media performance with fewer athlete ambassadors than #1 Nike or #4 adidas. Under Armour's top ambassadors in 2017 were NBA Champion Stephen Curry and 2017 Open Champion Jordan Spieth.
Moving outside of athletic apparel, Bud Light takes the #3 spot. With major partnerships with the NFL and NHL, Bud Light earned $22.4 million in social value. Top team partners by social value for Bud Light include the Los Angeles Lakers (NBA) and Denver Broncos (NFL).
For a complete look at the MVPindex 2017 social media rankings, including the Top 25 Most Valuable Athletes, the Top Athletes by Sport, the Top 10 Most Valuable Brands and the Top 10 esports Personalities, please visit our website.
Founded in 2014, MVPindex was the first social media intelligence platform to analyze athletes' social media portfolios and calculate their digital brand value. Today, MVPindex is a comprehensive social media index and valuation platform for the sports and entertainment industries, offering real-time analytics on more than 65,000 athletes, entertainers, teams, leagues, and brands ranked across the most popular social platforms. The MVPindex Engagement Value Assessment™ (EVA) has become the de facto industry standard for calculating the monetary value of social media campaigns and properties. MVPindex clients rely on this data and insight to make strategic decisions about brand ambassadors; evaluate their partnerships; maximize sponsorships; and see what is resonating with their fans. For more information or to request a demonstration, visit www.mvpindex.com.