Lionel Messi beats LeBron James as the Most Marketable Athlete in the world

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.

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.


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 has emerged as the most marketable athlete in the world, surpassing basketball icon LeBron James.

Lionel Messi has emerged as the most marketable athlete in the world, surpassing basketball icon LeBron James, according to the latest rankings from SportsPro’s 50 Most Marketable (50MM) list, reported by GOAL. Michael Long, editorial director at SportsPro, shared insights on Messi’s rise to the top during an episode of the Footballco Business Podcast. “It’s a really interesting dynamic to see Messi in America. A match made in marketing heaven.”

With Messi leading the pack and an impressive 22 footballers making the cut, Long discussed the factors that contributed to Messi’s dominance in the rankings. He highlighted the unique blend of sports and entertainment culture present in football, particularly in leagues like Major League Soccer (MLS), where Messi now plies his trade with Inter Miami.

Long emphasized the significance of Messi’s transition to MLS, noting that it places him in a new realm where he intersects with cultural icons from various spheres, including sports and entertainment. This shift, Long suggests, could potentially elevate Messi to the status of a commercial powerhouse akin to legendary footballer David Beckham.

However, Messi’s position at the top of the 50MM list is not solely attributed to his on-field performances or celebrity status. Long pointed out that Messi’s active involvement in charitable causes and support for social and environmental initiatives played a crucial role in enhancing his marketability.

The top ten Most Marketable Athletes:

1. Lionel Messi
2. LeBron James
3. Alex Morgan
4. Giannis Antetokounmpo
5. Megan Rapinoe
6. Mikaela Shiffrin
7. Lewis Hamilton
8. Simone Biles
9. Kylian Mbappe
10. Max Verstappen

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