Neymar is heir to the throne in global social media league

Neymar is heir to the throne in global social media league
Sponsorship evaluation engine POWA Index finds Brazilian soccer star Neymar is “poised” to become the most influential World Cup player on social media.

This analysis by POWA, a data-driven, real-time sports valuation engine, ranks the commercial impact of sponsorship properties by analysing trillions of data points across social media reach, social media engagement, on-field performances and online searches.

According to the analysis, Brazilian striker Neymar Jr, whose sponsors include Nike, Beats and Wish, is poised to surpass the social media influence of Ballon d’or winner Cristiano Ronaldo and Argentinian Lionel Messi.  He sits in third place in the POWA Index (which assesses influence across all social media platforms and search engines) but is searched for more online than Ronaldo (whose sponsors include Nike and Egyptian steel) and Messi, whose include Adidas, combined.

Search engine volumes also indicate that a new generation of talent, including England captain Harry Kane (who was 4th most searched), France striker Antoine Griezmann (5th) and Brazil forward Gabriele Jesus (9th)  are set to take over from this era’s legends in social media influence.

Power says that its index shows there is a ‘global elite’ in commercial impact, as the scores of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Neymar Jr are greater than the rest of the top ten put together – helping them to generate significantly higher fees from personal sponsors and to charge their clubs more for image rights. 

Cristiano Ronaldo sits on top of the overall POWA Index with Lionel Messi in second, but the list, which includes four Fifa World Cup winners (Mesut Ozil, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Ramos, and Gerard Pique) is full of veterans, with seven players over the age of 30. 

Another sign of their likely decline in influence is that most of the POWA Index top ten have struggled for their national teams this summer with only two of them (Neymar Jr and Luis Suarez) going beyond the last 16 of the World Cup.   

England’s top five POWA Index performers are Tottenham’s Harry Kane, Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling, and Manchester United trio Ashley Young, Marcus Rashford and Harry Lingard, who have helped to generate valuable returns for team sponsors including Nike, Marks and Spencer and Lidl.

Michael Flynn, POWA chief executive and founder of the POWA Index, said: “The World Cup is traditionally flooded with scouts who are assessing the on-field performances of young players.  At Data POWA we are the sports industry’s sponsorship scout analysing the off-field commercial potential of players, managers and teams. 

“It’s been instructive to see how many of the players in the POWA Index top ten are at the end of their careers as it shows how commercial impact needs to be built up over years of performances for club and country.

“A World Cup often puts new players into the consciousness of football fans across the globe and search volumes provide a strong indication of future commercial potential as it quantifies the proactive interest in each player. 

 “Our analysis suggests that Harry Kane could now be ready to join Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and Neymar Jr amongst the global elite of commercial performers and we will also be watching the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Philippe Coutinho, Gabriel Jesus and Kylian Mbappé very closely on the POWA Index.”

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