Lang Ping and Cristiano Ronaldo are most marketable sports stars in China: SMART Index

Chinese National Volleyball team coach Lang Ping and Portugal and Juventus’s football player Cristiano Ronaldo are the most valuable sports personalities in China according to a new ranking done by The SMART Index. The SMART Index is produced by sponsorship marketplace SponsorForce and a data firm named Miaozhen Systems, which ranks the domestic and international sports stars. This is done on a series of digital and non-marketing metrics and it also determines the brand value of an athlete even before they invest in partnership and endorsements. 

It is a deep-rooted analysis of the impact of endorsement deals and the positive or negative feelings of social media discussions of athletes. These stars are also judged on their level of engagement with social media posts and are given scores for their sporting achievements. 

Chinese volleyball player Lang Ping has huge fan following in the country due to her huge success as the Chinese national volleyball team captain and also because of her success as the coach of the team. The 60-year-old was followed by table tennis player Zhang Jike, skier Gu (Eileen) Ailing, and volleyball player Zhang Changning on the list. 

Internationally, Portugal’s talisman Cristiano Ronaldo was on top of the list and Argentina’s Lionel Messi was at the second place followed by basketball players Stephen Curry and LeBron James, respectively. Han Mu, chief executive of Chinese sports industry information service Lanxiong Sports, said Ronaldo’s discipline makes him a solid choice for most brand owners. John Yan, a sports broadcaster said that Stephen Curry’s presence in this list is because he’s one of the top performers in NBA even though he has a short stature. 

Nine out of ten sports personalities are male meanwhile, the domestic stars are split into equal 50:50 ratio between males and females. The creator of these rankings insisted that brands should be looking to seize the opportunity of increasing sponsorship of women since women athletes are increasing in the country

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