Russell Wilson and Odell Beckham Jr. Rank Highest; Rory McElroy and Tiger Woods lead professional golfers
(CHICAGO) – The Seattle Seahawks Russell Wilson (No. 1), New York Giants Odell Beckham Jr. (No. 2) and the Houston Texans JJ Watt (No.3) were officially named the Top 3 Most Valued Athletes in Social Media of 2016 in a ranking created in partnership between MVPindex and 120 Sports. The ranking includes U.S. professional and Olympic athletes.
At 9 p.m. ET tonight, 120 Sports will reveal the full list and take a deeper look at the Top Valued Athletes in Social Media on its nightly sports show, The Rally, a two-hour, first-of-its-kind interactive prime-time highlights show exclusively on Twitter. 120 Sports uses up-to-the-moment insight from consumer trends to shape the way it produces its daily live and on-demand programming, providing real-time data on what is resonating most with sports fans.
The National Football League dominated the 2016 ranking with 9 players in the Top 25. The NBA followed with five of the Top 25 athletes. Wilson claimed the top spot for the second straight year with an overall ranking of 0.983, remaining at the center of the social spotlight this year not only for his athletic performance, but also for his recent marriage to singer Ciara.
The 120 Sports talent team will provide insights and analysis on the Top 25 list, as well as break down the top viral trends, videos and photos on social media from this past year, ranking their top 3 in a variety of categories that resonated with sports fans this year like “Best Athlete & Team Mannequin Challenge,” “Cutest Athlete’s Kid Dance,” and “Best Workout Session Video.”
“We produce and deliver sports content based on whatever is the hottest story as indicated by what is trending on social media and what sports fans are talking about on social platforms,” said Jason Coyle, president of 120 Sports. “MVPindex helps us to quantify the commanding voices and influencers on social media from the past year so we can continue to relate with our fans by showcasing the athletes that matter most to them.”
The most impressive climbs on the 2016 index include MMA fighter Conor McGregor who jumped an impressive 33 spots from last year’s index to claim the No. 5 spot in 2016. In addition, Cam Newton (No. 16), Stephen Curry (No. 11) and Antonio Brown (No. 12) all made notable double-digit climbs up from 2015.
There are five women represented on the list in 2016; Alex Morgan (No. 15), Serena Williams (No. 16), Ronda Rousey (No. 18), Hope Solo (No. 22) and Kerri Walsh Jennings (No. 25). The Seahawks, Patriots and Cavaliers all have two players each; the youngest person on the list is Beckham Jr. at 24, and the oldest is Tiger Woods at 41.
Top athletes in each sport include:
- Robinson Cano (MLB)
- Conor McGregor (UFC)
- Russell Wilson (NFL)
- Rory McIlroy (PGA TOUR)
- LeBron James (NBA)
- Alex Morgan (US Soccer)
- Serena Williams (WTA)
- Jeff Gordon (NASCAR)
- Kerri Walsh Jennings (AVP)
The 2016 list reveals interesting findings including a spotlight on the growth in popularity of MMA/UFC in the past year, as both McGregor (No.5) and Ronda Rousey (No. 18) are featured in the Top 25.
“For years, the yard stick in determining social media value was based solely on the number of followers someone had. But at MVP we know that quantity does not mean quality,” said MVPindex co-founder Kyle Nelson. “With our sophisticated Engagement Value Assessment™ tool, we look at social media impressions, engagement, virality and social authority to help figure out what it’s all really worth.”
Nelson continued: “This year’s list rewarded those athletes who were able to leverage their success on the field of play to also win on social. They were able to consistently drive high levels of engagement through compelling content and authentic conversations with consumers. This not only helps build their own personal brands but also makes them the most effective ambassadors for the brands they represent.”
The Top 10 of the list is as follows:
1. Russell Wilson (NFL)
2. Odell Beckham Jr. (NFL)
3. J.J. Watt (NFL)
4. Rory McIlroy (PGA TOUR)
5. Conor McGregor (UFC)
6. LeBron James (NBA)
7. Tiger Woods (PGA TOUR)
8. Richard Sherman (NFL)
9. Tom Brady (NFL)
10. Rob Gronkowski (NFL)
To watch the full reveal of the Top 25 ranking results this evening including an additional spotlight on the Top 30 Social Athletes Under 30, visit rally.twitter.com from 9 -11 p.m. ET.