The Most Popular Athletes in Sport

At PledgeSports, we help athletes and teams from every sport known to man woman or child raise money and attract sponsorship through our sports crowdfunding platform.  But right now we’re looking at a group of people who need no such help from us!  We’re looking at the most popular people in sports bases on a number of criteria – Social Media following, endorsements, the amount of times they are searched on the internet and their overall star power.  Accurate as of 17th January 2020

Who are PledgeSports?

Tiger Woods – Golfer

tiger woods golf sports

Endorsements – $50 M

Instagram Followers – 2.1m

Facebook Followers – 3m

Twitter Followers – 6.5m

Tigers legacy as one of the greatest golfers of all time is well deserved, at 21, he was the no.1- ranked golfer in the world. By the age of 30, he had 10 majors to his name, and has in increased that to 15 at his ripe age of 44.  After a period of turbulence in his life he pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in sport- in 2018 Tiger rapidly moved from 656 in the world to 13 in the world inside 1 season. Then in 2019,  Tiger secured his place in sporting legend on the 15th of April 2019, when he won the US Masters by 2 shots, his first major since 2008!  After Jack Nicklaus he’s the only golfer to win a major in 3 different decades.  He may not have the social media following of most on this list, but his star power is up there with the best and his endorsements cement this.

 The 10 greatest athletes of all time

Rafael Nadal – Tennis Player


Endorsements – $29.3

Instagram Followers – 8.5m

Facebook Followers – 14.4m

Twitter Followers – 15.7m

Nadal is the King of Clay, with a record 12 Roland Garros titles to his name and 19 grand slams is just behind the GOAT Roger Federer.  Winning or losing tennis matches, Nadal is one of the most loved and popular athletes in tennis and in the wider world of sport.

The 10 most followed athletes on Twitter 

Kevin Durant – Basketball Player


Endorsements – $37 M

Instagram Followers – 11.5m

Facebook Followers – 10.5m

Twitter Followers – 18m

Kevin Durant played nine seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2008, before signing with the Golden State Warriors in 2016, winning back-to-back championships in 2017 and 2018.  Durant has won two NBA championships, an NBA Most Valuable Player Award, two Finals MVP Awards, two NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Awards, four NBA scoring titles, he now plays for Brooklyn Nets.

The 10 most followed athletes on Instagram

5. Roger Federer – Tennis Player

Most popular athletes

Endorsements – $60m

Instagram Followers –   7.1m

Facebook Followers – 15m

Twitter Followers – 12.7m

Federer is the most successful male tennis player of all-time, with the most Grand Slam single titles (20) and second most career titles (103) . He was no.1 in the world for 310 weeks, the record still stands today. His persona off the court is fantastic, Federer is a true gentleman and legend in the sport of tennis. We won’t see a player of his calibre again, making the GOAT one of the most popular and highest earning athletes in sports today.

 The 10 greatest tennis players of all time

4. Neymar Jr. – Soccer Player

Most popular athletes

Endorsements – $19m

Instagram Followers – 131m

Facebook Followers – 60m

Twitter Followers – 45.2m

The current transfer record was set by the move of Neymar from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain for €222 million (£198 million) in August of 2017.  He is a man who is as famous for his fashion as his diving!  At only 27 years old, his star power is set to continue for many years.

The biggest transfer deals in history

3. Lionel Messi – Soccer Player

Most popular athletes


Endorsements – $28m

Instagram Followers – 141m

Facebook Followers – 92m 

Twitter Followers – 0

Lio Messi remains the greatest current soccer player and one of the greatest to ever play the game. He is a man of skill, agility and pace. As Per Guardiola once said –  “Don’t write about him, don’t try to describe him. Just watch him”. He is an absolute magician on the field and a global superstar off it.

The richest athletes in sport

Messi has won a record six Ballon d’Or awards, and a record six European Golden Shoes. He has spent his entire professional career with Barcelona, where he has won a club-record 34 trophies, including ten La Liga titles, four UEFA Champions League titles and six Copas del Rey.

The 10 most popular female athletes in sport today

2. Lebron James – Basketball Player

Most popular athletes

Endorsements – $52m

Instagram Followers –   51.1m

Facebook Followers – 23.2m

Twitter Followers – 44.4m

Lebron James is 35 years old and still dominating the basket-balling world. He has been described as a hero and a villain. Many Cleveland fans were upset when he left for the Miami Heat in 2010 but he returned back to Cleveland four years later and played a crucial part in the Cav’s first NBA championship.

The most popular sports to bet on

Along side the legend that is Michael Jordan, Lebron is regarded as one of the best basket ball players ever.  his accomplishments include three NBA championships, four NBA Most Valuable Player Awards, three NBA Finals MVP Awards, and two Olympic gold medals.  He has played for the LA Lakers since 2018.

 The greatest NBA players of all time

1. Cristiano Ronaldo – Soccer Player

Most popular athletes

Endorsements – $37 M

Instagram Followers –   198 M 

Facebook Followers – 124 M

Twitter Followers – 82.2  M

He leads the way as the most popular athlete in sport and by a huge margin. Ronaldo is not just a football icon but a massive brand. He is globally recognised and at the age of 34 he has still many years to grow is fantastic legacy. He played for Real Madrid for a lot of his career helping them lift numerous Champions League trophies.  He’s a 4 time  Ballon D’or winner and one the greatest goal scorers the game has seen and will ever see.  Since Ronaldo’s massive transfer to Juventus in 2019, his star power has helped the team become the 4th most followed football club on social media.


PledgeSports is the global leader in crowdfunding & sponsorship for sport.

Are you or someone you know raising money for sport? If so, get in touch with us via, or visit and hit “Create A Campaign” to start raising money today!

For all the latest sports news follow PledgeSports on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.


Create a Campaign Get in touch

Looking for more information? Why not send us a quick message below and we'll get back to you shortly.


They are speaking about us

Design by Lightbox