The Rio 50: American athletes win gold medal for marketability, but Team GB stars close behind

Frank Dalleres
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15th IAAF World Athletics Championships Beijing 2015 - Day Eight
Decathlete Ashton Eaton is among 15 Americans in the Rio 50 list (Source: Getty)

They are the most successful nation in terms of medal-winning, and industry experts agree that the United States also have the most sponsor-friendly Olympic sportsmen and women.

City A.M. this week publishes the Rio 50 – a ranking of the most marketable sportsmen and women due to compete at this month’s Olympic and Paralympic Games – and Team USA pips Great Britain to the most entries.

There are 15 Americans among the 50, including women’s tennis No1 Serena Williams, swimmers Michael Phelps, Missy Franklin, Ryan Lochte and Katie Ledecky, and golfers Rickie Fowler and Lexi Thompson.

NBA All Stars Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Klay Thompson also swell the US contingent, as do decathlete king Ashton Eaton, burgeoning track and field prospects Sydney McLaughlin and Trayvon Bromell, gymnast Simone Biles and Rugby Sevens speed merchant Carlin Isles.

Team GB boasts 11 entries in the list, including London 2012 gold medal winners Jessica Ennis-Hill, Mo Farah, Andy Murray, Bradley Wiggins, Laura Trott and Jonnie Peacock.

Masters champion Danny Willett, three-time Tour de France conqueror Chris Froome, diver Tom Daley and track and field medal hopes Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Dina Asher-Smith complete the British nominees.

Hosts Brazil – represented by football stars Neymar and Marta Vieira da Silva, and Paralympic champion Alan Oliveira – and China – who include Daley’s rival Qiu Bo, badminton’s Lin Dan, table tennis player Zhang Jike and swimmer Sun Yang – have four each.

The Rio 50 was chosen and ranked by leading figures from the sports marketing, sponsorship, communications and management industries. To see who else makes the list and the final ranking, click here.