Russell Wilson & Odell Beckham Jr. Rank Highest; Wilson Claims Top Spot for Second Straight Year; NFL Dominates with 9 Athletes in Top 25

January 12, 2017 (CHICAGO) - The Seattle Seahawks Russell Wilson (No. 1), New York Giants Odell Beckham Jr. (No. 2) and the Houston Texans JJ Watt (No.3) were officially named the Top 3 Most Valued Athletes in Social Media of 2016 in a ranking created in partnership between MVPindex and 120 Sports. The ranking includes U.S. professional and Olympic athletes.

To determine the most valued athletes on social media this year, Chicago-based digital sports network 120 Sports collaborated with industry-leading social measurement and valuation platform MVPindex to rank athletes using a proprietary algorithm that evaluates all of their social activity throughout the past year. The ranking combines three separate scores: Reach (fans, followers, impressions), Engagement (likes, comments, shares, retweets, favorites) and Conversation (positive/negative mentions).

The Top 25 list is as follows:

  • Russell Wilson (NFL)
  • Odell Beckham Jr. (NFL)
  • J.J. Watt (NFL)
  • Rory McIlroy (PGA TOUR)
  • Conor McGregor (UFC)
  • LeBron James (NBA)
  • Tiger Woods (PGA TOUR)
  • Richard Sherman (NFL)
  • Tom Brady (NFL)
  • Rob Gronkowski (NFL)
  • Stephen Curry (NBA)
  • Antonio Brown (NFL)
  • Jeremy Lin (NBA)
  • Robinson Cano (MLB)
  • Alex Morgan (US Soccer)
  • Serena Williams (WTA)
  • Cam Newton (NFL)
  • Ronda Rousey (UFC)
  • Mike Trout (MLB)
  • Jeff Gordon (NASCAR)
  • Kevin Durant (NBA)
  • Hope Solo (US Soccer)
  • Dwayne Wade (NBA)
  • Dez Bryant (NFL)
  • Kerri Walsh Jennings (AVP)

The National Football League dominated the 2016 ranking with 9 players in the Top 25. The NBA followed with five of the Top 25 athletes. Wilson claimed the top spot for the second straight year with an overall ranking of 0.983, remaining at the center of the social spotlight this year not only for his athletic performance, but also for his recent marriage to singer Ciara.

"We produce and deliver sports content based on whatever is the hottest story as indicated by what is trending on social media and what sports fans are talking about on social platforms," said Jason Coyle, president of 120 Sports. "MVPindex helps us to quantify the commanding voices and influencers on social media from the past year so we can continue to relate with our fans by showcasing the athletes that matter most to them."

The most impressive climbs on the 2016 index include MMA fighter Conor McGregor who jumped an impressive 33 spots from last year's index to claim the No. 5 spot in 2016. In addition, Cam Newton (No. 16), Stephen Curry (No. 11) and Antonio Brown (No. 12) all made notable double-digit climbs up from 2015.

There are five women represented on the list in 2016; Alex Morgan (No. 15), Serena Williams (No. 16), Ronda Rousey (No. 18), Hope Solo (No. 22) and Kerri Walsh Jennings (No. 25). The Seahawks, Patriots and Cavaliers all have two players each; the youngest person on the list is Beckham Jr. at 24, and the oldest is Tiger Woods at 41.

Top athletes in each sport include:

  • Robinson Cano (MLB)
  • Conor McGregor (UFC)
  • Russell Wilson (NFL)
  • Rory McIlroy (PGA TOUR)
  • LeBron James (NBA)
  • Alex Morgan (US Soccer)
  • Serena Williams (WTA)
  • Jeff Gordon (NASCAR)
  • Kerri Walsh Jennings (AVP)

The 2016 list reveals interesting findings including a spotlight on the growth in popularity of MMA/UFC in the past year, as both McGregor (No.5) and Ronda Rousey (No. 18) are featured in the Top 25.

"For years, the yard stick in determining social media value was based solely on the number of followers someone had. But at MVP we know that quantity does not mean quality," said MVPindex co-founder Kyle Nelson. "With our sophisticated Engagement Value Assessment™ tool, we look at social media impressions, engagement, virality and social authority to help figure out what it's all really worth."

Nelson continued: "This year's list rewarded those athletes who were able to leverage their success on the field of play to also win on social. They were able to consistently drive high levels of engagement through compelling content and authentic conversations with consumers. This not only helps build their own personal brands but also makes them the most effective ambassadors for the brands they represent."

In addition, 120 Sports and MVPIndex used the same algorithm to determine the Top 30 Under 30 Most Socially Relevant Athletes. That list includes:

  • Russell Wilson, NFL, 28
  • Odell Beckham Jr., NFL, 24
  • J.J. Watt, NFL, 27
  • Rory McIlroy, PGA TOUR, 27
  • Conor McGregor, UFC, 28
  • Richard Sherman, NFL, 28
  • Rob Gronkowski, NFL, 27
  • Stephen Curry, NBA, 28
  • Antonio Brown, NFL, 28
  • Jeremy Lin, NBA, 28
  • Alex Morgan, US Soccer, 27
  • Cam Newton, NFL, 27
  • Ronda Rousey, UFC, 29
  • Mike Trout, MLB, 25
  • Kevin Durant, NBA, 28
  • Dez Bryant, NFL, 28
  • Le'Veon Bell, NFL, 24
  • Torrey Smith, NFL, 27
  • Andy Murray, ATP, 29
  • Tim Tebow, MLB, 29
  • Novak Djokovic, ATP, 29
  • Robert Griffin III, NFL, 26
  • Carey Price, NHL, 29
  • Pat McAfee, NFL, 29
  • Jon Jones, UFC, 29
  • Elena Delle Donne, WNBA, 27
  • P.K. Subban, NHL, 27
  • Anthony Rizzo, MLB, 27
  • Kyrie Irving, NBA, 24
  • Derrick Rose, NBA, 28

About MVPindex

Founded in 2014, MVPindex was the first social media intelligence platform to analyze athletes' social media portfolios and calculate their digital brand value. Today, MVPindex is a comprehensive social media index and valuation platform for the sports and entertainment industries, offering real-time analytics on more than 43,000 athletes, entertainers, teams, leagues, and brands ranked across the most popular social platforms. The MVPindex Engagement Value Assessment™ (EVA) has become the de facto industry standard for calculating the monetary value of social media campaigns and properties. MVPindex clients rely on this data and insight to make strategic decisions about brand ambassadors; evaluate their partnerships; maximize sponsorships; and see what is resonating with their fans. For more information or to request a demonstration, visit www.mvpindex.com.

About 120 Sports

120 Sports is the ultimate destination for up-to-the-moment expert commentary on all trending sports topics. The digital-only broadcast network offers more than 50 hours of live and original content, plus more than 1,200 on-demand video clips, each week. Equity partners in 120 Sports include MLBAM, the NHL, the PGA TOUR, Campus Insiders, Time Inc. /Sports Illustrated, and Silver Chalice. The network's daily live broadcasts include hosted programming delivering timely narratives of the stories across every sport, as well as breaking news, fan response, video highlights and live look-ins, all integrated with social conversation and expert analysis. The 120 Sports free app has been lauded as one of the best in class by a host of media outlets and is available in both the Google Play and Apple App Store as well as a web experience at 120Sports.com. In addition to Chromecast, 120 Sports is also available on Apple TV, as well as other distribution outlets.