India’s star batsman Virat Kohli has been named the ‘Third Most Marketable Sportsperson’ in the world ahead of football superstar Lionel Messi, world No 1 tennis player Novak Djokovic in a latest survey published by magazine ‘SportsPro’. Virat Kohli is ranked behind NBA’s ‘Most Valuable Player’ Stephen Curry and Juventus’ French international Paul Pogba. Incidentally, Kohli is just ahead of golfer Jordan Spieth. Djokovic is 23rd in the list, followed by Messi at 27th and ‘Sprint King’ Usain Bolt at 31.

According to SportsPro, which does extensive research on business of sports, the criteria of ranking athletes from across the world is marketing potential over a three-year period from this summer. The components they have been assessed are value for money, age, home market, charisma, willingness to be marketed and crossover appeal. Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton topped the rankings in 2014, while Barcelona’s Brazilian soccer star Neymar, who is at No. 8 this year, took the No. 1 spot in 2012 and 2013. Olympic champion Bolt headed the list in 2011 and NBA star LeBron James was named the world’s most marketable athlete in the inaugural year in 2010.

Sania Mirza, who has had a great year, is also in the top-50 and is the only other Indian in the list. On Sania, the website said, “The joyous on-court resurgence in doubles of tennis player Sania Mirza, one of the finest and best-known sports stars in India’s history, has served as a reminder of the way in which a competitive renaissance can thrust a seasoned star back into the global limelight.Though she is entering the twilight of her career, Sania Mirza peak years are happening now and there is still plenty of time left for a brand to capitalise on her sustained exposure and profile.”

Virat Kohli is the third most marketable player in the world, ahead of Novak Djokovic and Lionel Messi.

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