‘SportsPro’, a sports business magazine, has named India’s Test captain Virat Kohli as the 6th most marketable athlete of this year ahead of the likes of football superstars Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and sprint king Usain Bolt.The monthly magazine, which reports on the business and financial aspects of sports across the world, has placed 26-year-old Virat Kohli just a rung below British Formula One reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton while Brazilian football superstar Neymar was named second most markettable sportsperson.
This popularity of Virat should not come as surprise. He is one of the best young batsman in world cricket today along with Aussie Steve Smith. He has a steady fan following and his personal life too is under constant media glare ever since he has admitted that he is in a steady relationship with his girlfriend – Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma.
Below Virat Kohli are tennis player Novak Djokovic who was placed at 14 while Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi were at 16th and 22nd respectively.The only other cricketer in the list, Steven Smith of Australia, got the 45th spot. Saina Nehwal , Indian badminton star is ranked 44th
The magazine said it considered the marketing potential of an athlete over the next three years, not their current potential. Athletes across the world were ranked against criteria including age, home market, charisma, willingness to be marketed and crossover appeal, following several weeks of analysis by the SportsPro team and external industry experts, the magazine said.