Missy Franklin ranked as #4 Most Marketable Athlete over the next three years

Just a few months into her professional career, Missy Franklin has earned distinction as the world’s 4th-most-marketable athlete in SportsPro’s annual rankings.

Though the top 10 haven’t gone up yet on the official SportsPro website, NBC Sports reported earlier today that Franklin will check in at #4 on this list.

Franklin, of course, starred at the 2012 Olympic Games for the United States before making a college commitment to the University of California. Franklin swam two seasons in Berkeley and led the Golden Bears to a national title earlier this year.

The plan had long been for Franklin to turn pro after just two collegiate seasons, and this lofty ranking is a pretty good explanation on why that seemed like the logical move for Franklin. Just 20 years old, Franklin is already a world record-holder and the owner of four Olympic gold medals. On top of her extensive in-the-pool accolades, Franklin is a confident public speaker with an outgoing, bubbly personality that makes her a marketing dream.

This is Franklin’s third season on the list. She started at #20 in 2013, after her breakout performances in London, and moved up to #8 last year. She is the only swimmer on this year’s list.

According to NBC Sports, the SportsPro rankings take into account a whole host of factors for each athlete, including “value for money, age, home market, charisma, willingness to be marketed and crossover appeal.” The rankings predict which athletes will be most marketable over the next three years.

NBC reports that Franklin trails only Canadian tennis player Eugenie Bouchard, Brazilian soccer player Neymar and American golfer Jordan Spieth.

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It will be interesting to see how Missy handles the pressure of performing up to her “marketability”. Obviously she will be the headline swimmer at the Rio games for the public, especially if Phelps isn’t in the equation. And despite Katie Ledecky coming on incredibly strong, Missy probably still has the edge in total medal count possible (assuming the 100 back, 200 back, 200 free, plus 3 relays).


Missy got a lot of attention at the 2012 Olympics, which probably helps her on this list. I wouldn’t be surprised if Katie Ledecky passes her after 2016.

Gina Rhinestone

Obama will be number one sports star on the circuit in Jan 2017 .

Lane Four

What event will he swim? Once he leaves office he will have all the time he needs for training. Maybe 2018 since 2017 is a little too soon. 😉


I was thinking more of the speaking circuit . I doubt he will do swimming because Vlad is already up there as a FINA medallist.

Justin Thompson

He plays a lot of golf so maybe he can parlay that into some endorsements.


In regards to the whole subject of Missy Franklin vs Katie Ledecky and how they compare in terms of “marketability” going into Rio, I think it’s obvious why Franklin gets much more attention. For one, she obviously had a much more memorable showing at London 2012. I also think that the media prefers her bubbly and flattering style of interviews. Not the mention the fact that its much easier for non-swim fans to watch and appreciate Franklins events in comparison to Ledecky where her most dominant performance will be in a race that takes over 8 minutes. It’s like comparing the Mo Farah to Usain Bolt. Everyone knows Bolt simply because he dominates the more popular events.


I don’t think personality outside the pool is the biggest deal. At the end of the day impressive swims and medals win fans. That’s why Phelps leaves everyone else in the dust when is comes to endorsements – I don’t think he has a top notch personality that would work outside of the pool to win fans.


I would put things on a scale: ACCOMPLISHMENTS PERSONALITY On that continuum: Phelps’ achievements in the pool were so superlative that they made up for his lack of public personality. He may be quite charming in real life, but even after a LOT of interviews, he still comes across stiff as a board. Ledecky – not going to win 8 golds, but her achievements are still more understandable to non-swimmers than Missy’s. See the Grantland article about “Katie F—— Ledecky”. When you’re half a lap ahead of the next fastest swimmer, people can appreciate that. She seems very nice, but not extroverted enough to be a natural spokesperson. Lochte – Doesn’t have to accomplish anything else in the pool. Swimmers… Read more »

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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