NEW YORK – Kei Nishikori and Yuzuru Hanyu were the only two Japanese athletes named Wednesday to ESPN’s 2019 World Fame 100, the network’s fourth annual list of the most famous athletes on the planet.
Nishikori, the current world No. 7 men’s singles tennis player, placed 28th on the list, while two-time Olympic figure skating champion Hanyu was 64th.
This year’s list, topped by Portuguese soccer sensation Cristiano Ronaldo, is based on how often an athlete’s name is searched on Google, the value of their endorsements for the 2017-2018 seasons, and the number of followers they have on their most popular social media account.
According to ESPN, the 29-year-old Nishikori brings in $33 million in endorsements and has over 900,000 followers on Twitter. Hanyu, 24, had 13.41 million in endorsements but was listed as having zero followers, since he has no official social media accounts.
The Los Angeles Lakers’ four-time NBA MVP LeBron James and Argentina’s Lionel Messi, captain of Spanish soccer powerhouse Barcelona and his national soccer team, were ranked second and third, respectively.
Former Spain international soccer player and current member of Vissel Kobe in the J. League, Andres Iniesta, ranked one spot above Nishikori in 27th.