They’re not in the same category as international sports luminaries like Cristiano Ronlado or LeBron James, but three NHLers cracked ESPN’s list of the most famous athletes in the world.
ESPN’s analytics team created a formula that combined elements such as salary, social media following and Google search popularity to create the World Fame 100 rankings. Alex Ovechkin was the highest-rated hockey player at No. 65. Sidney Crosby followed at No. 82 and Penguins teammate Evgeni Malkin checked in at No. 92.
Ovechkin was sandwiched between skateboarder Ryan Sheckler and Giants quarterback Eli Manning. The article calls Ovechkin “the most gifted hockey player in two countries” and makes many wise-cracks about his teeth. Ovechkin has 129,000 Facebook likes and 2 million Twitter followers.
Crosby was flanked by a pair of golfers – Lydia Ko at No. 81 and Billy Horschel at No. 83. Crosby doesn’t have much of a social media presence. He’s listed as having 119,000 Twitter followers, but there’s no sign of Crosby having an official Twitter account. Parody account @SidneyCrosbyEgo has 121k followers. Crosby is the only Canadian on the list.
Malkin rounds out the list of hockey players but is ahead of well-known North American stars like Albert Pujols (No. 93), Andy Dalton (No. 95) and Ben Roethlisberger (No. 98).
How do the three NHL players compare to the other Big Four North American pro sports? The NBA led the way with 20 players on the list, with James at No. 2. The NFL had 16 players listed led by Cam Newton at No. 32. MLB had eight players on the list, topped by Bryce Harper at No. 71.