Lionel Messi Replaces Michael Jordan As Most Popular Athlete in USA

Lionel Messi is the most popular athlete in the United States of America right now, according to a poll conducted by

The research company has been polling American sports fans aged 12 and over every quarter since 1995 and this is the first time that a soccer player has received the most votes.

Messi received just under 5% of all votes in the most recent poll but that was still more than any other individual.

Lionel Messi pictured celebrating a goal scored by Leonardo Campana (not in shot) during Inter Miami's victory over FC Cincinnati in the semi-finals of the 2023 U.S. Open Cup

Lionel Messi is currently the most popular athlete in the United States of America

IMAGO/ZUMA Wire/Kevin Schultz

Retired NBA star Michael Jordan had been America’s favorite sportsperson in the previous two quarters – also with just under 5% of each vote.

Jordan had previously been no.1 for over a decade between 1995 and 2006, peaking at close to 20% in 1998.

A graph showing who has been the most popular athlete in the USA in every quarter since 1995

A graph showing who has been the most popular athlete in the USA in every quarter since 1995

ssrs.com

Messi’s popularity in the USA spiked following his transfer from Paris Saint-Germain to Inter Miami in June 2023.

However, he was already America’s favorite professional soccer player before coming to Miami.

A few months after leading Argentina to FIFA World Cup glory in Qatar in December 2022, Messi was three times more popular among Americans than his great rival Cristiano Ronaldo.

He is now more than four times more popular than Ronaldo in the USA.

A graph charting the popularity of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo based on who American sports fans voted for as their favorite soccer player

A graph charting the popularity of Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo between 2021 and December 2023 based on who American sports fans voted for as their favorite soccer player

Lionel Messi is currently the most popular athlete in the United States of America

IMAGO/ZUMA Wire/Kevin Schultz

Retired NBA star Michael Jordan had been America’s favorite sportsperson in the previous two quarters – also with just under 5% of each vote.

Jordan had previously been no.1 for over a decade between 1995 and 2006, peaking at close to 20% in 1998.

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