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SportsPro names Naomi Osaka the world's most marketable athlete for 2019

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

Tennis star Naomi Osaka’s tops the chart for the “World’s 50 Most Marketable Athletes 2019,” which was released by SportsPro on Tuesday.

The London-based magazine and website stated that its comprehensive list “assesses athletes from across the world according to their marketing potential over the coming three-year period, taking into account criteria such as age, home market, crossover appeal, charisma and willingness to be marketed.”

An article on sportspromedia.com also reported: “For the second year running, the list has been informed by social media analytics and insights provided by Hookit, SportsPro’s official data partner, whose Promotional Effectiveness (PE) Score aims to evaluate how effective a promoter an athlete is on social media, regardless of their follower count.”

Raheem Sterling (soccer) is No. 2, followed by Zion Williamson (NBA’s No. 1 draft pick in 2019), Megan Rapinoe (soccer) and Kylian Mbappe (soccer) at three, four and five. From Nos. 6 to 10, it is Giannis Antetokounmpo (NBA), Brooks Koepka (golf), Charles Leclerc (Formula One), Dina Asher-Smith (track sprinter) and Simone Biles (gymnastics).

Also in the top 50, Los Angeles Angels standout Shohei Ohtani at No. 39.

The 21-year-old Osaka’s profile page featured this succinct summary: “Tennis queen with profile stretching from west to east.” The Osaka entry cited her “key partners”: Nike, Mastercard, Nissin Foods, All Nippon Airways, Yonex and Hyperice. It also noted that she was fourth among female athletes in endorsement deals last year, hauling in $16 million.

According to SportsPro, Osaka, winner of the 2018 U.S. Open and 2019 Australian Open women’s singles titles, became the first Asian to be selected No. 1 for its annual list, which debuted in 2010.

Osaka is the world No. 1 entering this year’s U.S. Open, which begins on Monday.

Another female tennis player, Eugenie Bouchard, was No. 1 in 2015.

Soccer star Paul Pogba was chosen No. 1 for 2018.

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