Which Rio 2016 Olympic stars are the best brand influencers?

Basketball player Carmelo Anthony and swimmer Michael Phelps are the Olympians with the greatest potential to influence purchasing decisions, followed closely by gymnast Simone Biles and British tennis champion Andy Murray, new research suggests.

The most influential athlete is apparently Michael Phelps (©Christian Petersen / Rio 2016)
The most influential athlete is apparently Michael Phelps (©Christian Petersen / Rio 2016)

The Golden Influencers, a new report from marketing and comms firm Allison+Partners, assesses which athletes of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games have the greatest potential to influence.

A+P developed a scoring system alongside data scientists to evaluate the potential impact the athletes can have on decision making, taking into account 'reach' (including the number of channels they use), 'authenticity' (the originality of the content they produce), and 'power' (their influence on other influential sports stars).

US basketball star Carmelo Anthony and swimmer Michael Phelps received the highest score possible (100), followed by gymnast Simone Biles with a score of 96.3. More women were influential overall – of the top 25 American athletes, 52 per cent are women.

The highest ranking British athlete was Olympic tennis gold medallist Andy Murray with 95. He had a wide range of reach and an authentic voice, which boosted his score. Gymnast Max Whitlock scored 82.5. While long-distance runner Mo Farah has an extensive global profile, his score was a lower 77.5, which A+P attributed to a lower level of authenticity while endorsing brands and products.

Cyclist Jason Kenny, who famously said he was not pretty enough to win a personal sponsor, had a score of 75, behind his four-time gold medal winning fiancée Laura Trott on 82.5, who had a wider reach and shares original content with her fans.

Swimmer Adam Peaty and divers Jack Laugher and Chris Mears all posted impressive scores in line with their gold medal wins (80, 80 and 82.5 respectively).

The top-scoring British athletes came from a range of sports including boxing, canoe slalom, cycling, diving, gymnastics and tennis.

In the US, however, swimming, gymnastics, basketball and athletics were the sports that carried the most influence. All of the top 25 American athletes came from these and four of the five US gymnasts featured in the top 25.

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