Thanks in large part to the propriety methodology of CSE, a leading integrated marketing agency, Bloomberg Sports compiled the top 100 most powerful athletes on-and-off-the-field in 2013, and tennis athletes have left an indelible mark on this list.
To little surprise, LeBron James came in at No. 1, but tennis stars Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams stole the headlines as they ranked fifth, sixth and 12th respectively—Serena also registered as the highest-ranked woman on the list.
Host of Bloomberg TV “Sportfolio” and CEO of Horrow Sports Ventures, Rick Horrow, acknowledged the growing presence of athletes beyond just sports, and the value of this annual list.
This is the fourth year of the Power 100, and it continues to command attention as an invaluable tool to evaluate an athlete’s brand and measure his or her market value, says Horrow. In today’s 24/7 news cycle, as athletes increasingly dominate front page headlines well out of the sports section, their endorsement contracts are increasingly under scrutiny.
All data was analyzed over a two-year basis, valuing 80 percent for the most recent season and 20 percent for the season that preceded it.
"On field" attributes consisted of ranking within their sport, popularity and viewing audience.
"Off field" attributes consisted of their expected endorsement potential (75 percent), endorsement earnings (15 percent) and their social media presence (10 percent).
Under that formula, Federer and Djokovic came in right behind NFL superstars Peyton Manning and Drew Brees, and right in front of sure-fire NBA Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant and the most decorated Olympian ever, Michael Phelps.
The next closest female athlete to Serena would have been Maria Sharapova if it wasn't for Olympic standout Gabby Douglas slipping in at 18 overall thanks to her meteoric rise after the 2012 London Olympic games.
Sharapova rounded out the top 20, and Rafael Nadal fell from fifth last year to 22 this year.
Djokovic wasn't even ranked among the top 100 after 2009 or 2010, but he's made a huge splash last year and this year and doesn't appear to be vacating the top 10 in the future.
Serena has always hovered among the top quarter of the list, but more importantly, she has been a mainstay among female athletes on these rankings since they've existed.
Also noteworthy was the huge jump that Victoria Azarenka and Andy Murray both made in the last year—Azarenka going from 96 to 32, and Murray climbing from 80 to 31.
It shouldn't come as any surprise that Federer impresses the most, as he is the only tennis player who has consistently moved up on the list every year.
All in all, this is a huge step forward for the sport of tennis—it sends a message that tennis stars have as much power as NBA, MLB and NFL stars and have more clout than golf's elite right now.
Horrow's partner in compiling the Power 100 and CEO of E-Poll, Gerry Philpott, added how athletes today transcend sports and how it will be exciting to see who can sustain their "power".
Longevity is the key to this year’s top grouping. From Peyton to Federer to Kobe to Brady, these athletes are on the backside of their historic careers yet still command on and off field attention and respect, notes Gerry Philpott, CEO of E-Poll Market Research. It will be interesting to see if the young stars of today can hold up over the years like these pros.
Social media and endorsement deals are definitely playing bigger roles for both newcomers and returnees of this list.
Sportfolio's Power 100 has made it clear that athlete power and influence is going well beyond the playing surface, and that tennis is at the forefront of this cultural shift.