Sports remain a huge industry. This is thanks to people’s love of sports and the athletes who have dedicated their lives to them. To fans around the world, these athletes have become sports celebrities. From the games to their personal lives, major sports fans have long been curious about these individuals.
Social media has become a game-changer for everyone. Because of this, sports enthusiasts gained access to some of the most intimate aspects of these athletes’ lives. But most importantly, these sports celebrities have managed to gain a strong and loyal following over the years.
Gone are the days when readers and viewers had to rely on the newspaper for information. Thanks to social media, sports stars can now update their following wherever they are in the world. Keen to know who has the biggest following and who is still considered great off the court? Take a look.
Tyler “Ninja” Blevins – 109.2 million engagements
A professional gamer in the field of esports, Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins is known for his thousands, if not millions, of followers during live streams of his games. Blevins is most known for his skilled approach to Fortnite.
Although Blevins has been participating in different gaming competitions since 2009, he had risen to fame thanks to his live streams on Mixer and a huge following of 22 million on YouTube. According to a Forbes article, Ninja has been hailed as the number 1 athlete that gained the most social interactions in 2019.
LeBron James – 125.5 million engagements
Four-time MVP in the NBA, LeBron James certainly seems to be doing it all. Once hailed as the king of social media, James remains ever-present and socially relevant because of his fans around the world.
His total number of followers span a whopping 116.3 million, with total interactions hitting 125.5 million. He promotes Blaze Pizza, of which he owns 21 franchises. He also promotes other brands on his profiles, such as Nike and Ladder Sport.
PewDiePie – 141.9 million engagements
Another e-gamer, Swedish star PewDiePie, also known as Felix Kjellberg, has a massive following. He is in the business of streaming his games and sharing his feats with the world. As a YouTuber, PewDiePie has also commanded a strong following that not only allowed him to connect with his fans but also expanded his horizon into the vlogging world. Because of his reach, he was able to resurrect the popularity of Minecraft back to life.
Conor McGregor – 159.7 million engagements
An Irish professional mixed martial art competitor and boxer, McGregor’s following has soared over the past number of years. This is largely because of his success in the ring. For this year’s rankings on Forbes, McGregor is the only athlete that does not play soccer.
Garnering 159.7 million interactions, McGregor usually promotes Irish whiskey brand, Proper No. Twelve. Because of his endorsement, the brand reportedly sold more than 200,000 cases of whiskey within 1 year of launching the company.
Neymar Jr. – 289 million engagements
Apart from his dashing good looks and charisma, Neymar’s marketability lies with his wide-spread social presence. Having left Barcelona, Neymar has been struggling to choose between Barca and Real Madrid. He is considered to be one of the top players in the world and has endorsed numerous brands and companies on his social media accounts, including QNB and Replay.
Having been in a pinch recently, Neymar had previously left hints as to what team he wanted to join by liking a series of posts. Real subtle, Neymar.
Lionel Messi – 367.1 million engagements
The engagement of Lionel Messi can not be missed. Especially not when his total following reached 215 million. His interactions, on the other hand, amounted to 367.1 million and it’s not hard to wonder why this star athlete is endorsing known brands such as Adidas. Though Messi takes second place to Ronaldo, he takes the cake for being the world’s highest-paid athlete.
Cristiano Ronaldo – 887.2 million engagements
The total interactions of Cristiano Ronaldo reached 887.2 million. Some of the aspects that may account for his interactions is his successful increase in follower count by 26 million – and that’s just in the first six months of the year.
Currently, Ronaldo has 177 million followers throughout his social media accounts, making him perhaps the most followed person on the planet. He is also one of the highest-paid athletes year after year, marking his success not just on the football field, but also in life.
The Bottom Line
These athletes have certainly become celebrities in our eyes. Through their social media platforms, these sports celebrities manage not only to earn profits and boost marketability but also secure the chance to interact with their fans and increase their engagements.