The NFL’s Most Marketable Athletes
While it might be the off-season for the NFL, its famous faces are still very much on our screens, garnering publicity and promoting lucrative endorsement deals across social media platforms. But which players are taking center stage and raking in the most dough off the field?
By analyzing several different social media key metrics (see methodology below), including Instagram followers, brand post engagement rates and audience reachability, we’ve determined which NFL stars are most marketable. We’ve taken into account everything from advertising performance to sentiment analysis to find out who comes out on top.
The top five most marketable players
Based on our index, we can reveal who are currently the NFL’s most marketable stars off the field.
1. Aaron Rodgers – 55.9/100
Coming in first is the recently appointed New York Jets’ and former Green Day Packers’ quarterback, Aaron Rodgers. While Rodgers doesn’t come out on top for Instagram followers (2.1 million), he does take a high spot for audience reachability (91%) and earned media value ($55.94).
With 69.84%, Rodgers has also garnered the most positive sentiments on his social media posts and scores second highest for audience quality (86/100) which helped him secure the number one spot on our list of most marketable NFL stars.
Rodgers has had a fantastic career winning the Super Bowl, receiving multiple MVP awards and is now widely considered to be one the best quarterbacks the NFL has ever seen. Such performances have led to big brands knocking, securing endorsements from brands such as State Farm, Adidas, Bergstrom Automotive, IZOD, Pizza Hut, and Ford, to name just a few.
Estimated earnings/charges per post: $8,600
2. Odell Beckham Jr. - 55.0/100
Taking second place on our most marketable list is the NFL’s most-followed star on social media (17.1m), Odell Beckham Jr. Whilst he’s had a widely successful NFL career, Odell has had a few up and downs on the field thanks to some injuries and occasional losses of form. For all of his mercurial play on the field, he's arguably the surest bet off the field when it comes to marketability.
Since being drafted by the New York Giants back in 2014, the wide receiver has gone on to become an incredibly influential figure online, and his incredible follower count is one of the main reasons why he receives the second-highest score of 55.0 (out of 100).
Over the years, Odell has signed numerous endorsements with the likes of Nike, Head & Shoulders, Moon, Pepsi, Lenovo, and Beats by Dre, which are reported to have been worth millions of dollars. With such big names on his books, the NFL star clearly has strong marketing value.
Estimated earnings/charges per post: $49,200
3. Patrick Mahomes – 53.0/100
In third place for marketability is 2023’s Super Bowl winner and MVP, Patrick Mahomes. Considered by many to be the best player in the NFL, it’s no surprise that the quarterback places highly on the list.
Having one of the largest social media following of any active NFL star (5.6m), Mahomes scores remarkably high for audience reachability (94.3%) and also well for audience authenticity (69.24%). Combine this with the third-highest audience quality score (83/100) and a strong positive sentiment on Instagram posts (58.36%), Mahomes is likely any brand’s dream.
Thanks to his outstanding performances on the field, Mahomes has managed to sign some of the biggest deals in the NFL. Working with the likes of Bose, Oakley, State Farm, and EA, he also signed a massive 10-year deal with Adidas which resulted in him being one the highest-earning stars from off-field endorsements.
Estimated earnings/charges per post: $21,200
4. George Kittle – 49.3/100
Taking the fourth spot is San Francisco 49ers’ tight end, George Kittle. With around 1.2m followers on Instagram, Kittle’s high ranking comes from having one of the best advertising performances across the NFL at 5.04% (the NFL average being 3.01%).
Kittle also scored highly for earned media value (42.79%), positive sentiment on Instagram posts (55.56%), audience authenticity (69.37%) and audience quality (69/100) which helped secure his position as the fourth star on our list.
Aside from his contract, Kittle has also managed to earn a significant amount of money through his various business ventures and endorsement deals over the years. From the likes of signing a multi-year deal with Hyperice, to working with Nike, Bose, New Era, Bud Light, Panda Express and many more, its safe to say Kittle has benefitted from his on-field performances.
Estimated earnings/charges per post: $4,600
[Revealed] Sports Stars Off-Field Business Earnings
5. Davante Adams – 49/100
Las Vegas Raiders’ wide receiver, Davante Adams, takes the fifth spot for most marketable player. While he scores comparatively low on key factors including Instagram followers (1.3 million), audience quality (35/100) and positive sentiments (28.36%), he blows the other top stars out of the water for advertising performance, with an impressive 12.77% - suggesting his followers are very engaged with what he’s advertising.
As well as impressive brand post engagement, Adams also places well, under his former Green Bay Packers’ teammate, Rodgers, for earned media value ($41.90) and scores a middling 84.80% for audience reachability.
Similarly, the rest of the top five, Adams also boasts some incredible deals with some of the biggest brands. Recently he became the first active NFL star to become a brand ambassador for Casino Giants MGM Resorts International, as well as working with major brands such as Pepsi, Head and Shoulders, Gillette and Panini America, to name a few.
Estimated earnings/charges per post: $4,100
Come September when the NFL season gets underway, it’ll be interesting to see if any star athlete knocks Rodgers off the top spot for marketability, and if we see any other changes to this list of in-demands sports stars!
To reveal the NFL's Most Marketable Atheletes, we created an index consisting of several differently weighted metrics:
Weighting = 25
- Followers: Total number of followers on Instagram
Weighting = 20
- Advertising Performance - Brand post engagement rates - comparing the average engagement rate of regular posts with the average engagement rate of posts with brand mentions. If the ER of posts with brand mentions is higher, it means that the influencer is doing a good job promoting products or services and their audience reacts positively.
- Audience Quality Score - The quality of an influencer which consists of several elements, including Engagement Rate, Quality Audience, Follower and Following Growth patterns, and Engagement Authenticity. The higher the AQS, the better.
Weighting = 10
- Audience Reachability - Followers of the NFL stars who follow less than 1,500 people themselves. For people following more than 1,500 people, it is likely they don't see most of the influencer’s posts as it can get lost among thousands of other posts, which is why we view this audience as less reachable.
- Audience Authenticity - Shows the percentage of total authentic audience and depends on the percentage of real people and influencers a given account has. The higher the number of real people and influencers, the more authentic their audience.
- Earned Media Value – Estimated cost to gain the same reach through paid social ad with similar audience. Based on est. post price you’ll get $X value for each $1 you pay.
Weighting = 5
- Sentiment Analysis - Percentage of comments made on social posts that express happiness, approval, or another positive emotion.
All the above metrics were summed to give a total score out of 100.
We are fortunate to have NFL expertise on either side of the Atlantic, where Luke Bradshaw-Lee is a keen UK-based NFL fan attending London games and burning the midnight oil to catch all the weekend action, Whilst in the US, Michael Calabrese [@EastBreese] is an Action Network correspondent and College sports podcaster with the deepest football knowledge we have ever come across. They combine to create the best football content on OLBG US
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