We are not a huge fan of lists, especially since most, the biggest and brightest, the 40 under this the 25 best here, are pretty arbitrary and many times do more harm then good by those assembling because inevitably some are left off, and frankly, some get on that are there more for popularity and political reasons than for merit.
The lists that work best however, are those which help us look ahead, not back, to what we should have an eye on, and hopefully are justified with some analytics to back them up. This week CHARGE came up with a pretty good list by measuring the digital and social impact of some rising stars in sports to see who we should be watching as they rise. The list is interesting because its not your same old, and gives some broad perspectives as to who, where and why we should be looking as we check out broadcasts, partnerships and whatever comes along on the mobile device of choice.
The data focused on three key areas – social media, search and media coverage. They looked at social following and engagement, search history and recent trends as well as how much noise they were making with traditional media.
They also wanted to capture athletes that haven’t necessarily peaked yet, but whose brands can still be on the ascent, so it is limited it to US-based athletes under 25 years old. After looking at nearly 250 athletes from 22 sports, it was narrowed it down to the top 25. Odell Beckham and Ezekiel Elliott topped the list.
You can view the 25 hottest athlete brands at www.charge25under25.com and here are some fast facts about the inaugural class:
- The NBA was king with 11 names on the list and it included some not yet household names, Devin Booker, Jayson Tatum and Zach LaVine. The youngest were all NBA rising stars, at 19.
- There were athletes from nine sports: basketball, football, baseball, racing, gymnastics, golf, skateboarding, MMA and motocross. NASCAR, a sport which has slid a bit in recent years and is starting to rebuild through its rising stars, had a pair to follow; Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson.
- 18 markets were represented from big cities like New York and LA to smaller markets including Milwaukee and Portland.
- Three women made the top 25, all from individual sports. The UFC name on the list? Paige VanZant.
- Combined, the index has more than 16 million Twitter followers (16,006,573); more than the populations of Wyoming, Vermont, Alaska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Delaware, Montana, Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire, Hawaii, Idaho and West Virginia combined.
Again there is always room for debate, but its not a bad analytic list to share and keep an eye out as the never ending talk of brand development and “what’s next” plays out in the world of fandom.