Roger Federer has emerged as the most marketable sports star in the world, as tennis heroes dominate the latest power list prepared by the London School of Marketing (LSM).
Despite his loss in the Wimbledon final to Novak Djokovic, Federer is considered one of the most influential persons in the world. The Swiss player, who has 17 Grand Slam singles titles to his credit, missed his chance to grab his eighth Wimbledon title.
"He may not have won Wimbledon this year, but it's Federer's personal characteristics which sponsors find so attractive," said Jacques de Cock, faculty member at the London School of Marketing.
Tennis stars feature prominently throughout the rest of the top 20 list, which weighs sports stars based on their influence when it comes to attracting sponsors and advertising.
Novak Djokovic ranks seventh on the list, followed by Rafael Nadal. Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams – the only two women to make it into the top 20 – claim the twelfth and twentieth spots, respectively.
While compiling the list, LSM researchers looked at the brand value of the individuals along with their current income from sponsorship and the percentage of their total earnings it accounted for as well as their social media presence.
Golfer Rory McIlroy and Andy Murray are the only UK nationals on the list, having secured the sixth and sixteenth ranks, respectively.
Soccer sensation David Beckham has been excluded from the list in 2015, as he has officially retired.
According to LSM research, companies spend around £500m (€715.9m, $778m) on the top 100 best paid athletes in the world and this represents 25% of their combined total income.
"Sport is the obvious way to do this due to the 'hero' status of many sportsmen," de Cock said.
"Sports stars are also brilliant vessels for increasing brand awareness purely down to the sheer volume of people who watch sport."
The full power list is given below.
1. Roger Federer – Tennis
2. Tiger Woods – Golf
3. Phil Mickelson – Golf
4. LeBron James – Basketball
5. Kevin Durant – Basketball
6. Rory McIlroy – Golf
7. Novak Djokovic – Tennis
8. Rafael Nadal – Tennis
9. Mahendra Singh Dhoni – Cricket
10. Cristiano Ronaldo – Football
11. Kobe Bryant – Basketball
12. Maria Sharapova – Tennis
13. Lionel Messi – Football
14. Usain Bolt – Track
15. Neymar – Football
16. Andy Murray – Tennis
17. Kei Nishikori – Tennis
18. Derrick Rose – Basketball
19. Floyd Mayweather – Boxing
20. Serena Williams - Tennis