Athletes from across the world have been ranked according to their marketing potential over a three-year period from this summer.
- Value for money
- Home market
- Willingness to be marketed
- Crossover appeal
American, 24, Baseball
MLB’s five-tool entertainer
Representatives: Boras Corporation
Key partners: Under Armour, MusclePharm, Gatorade, New Era
2016 ranking: 18
Branded ‘baseball’s LeBron’, Bryce Harper was only 16 when he featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated. While no shortage of media-built phenomena have slipped through the net in days gone by, the now 24-year-old’s sustained prominence in Major League Baseball (MLB) makes him a success story impossible to ignore.
Despite his relative youth, Harper has already featured in four MLB All-Star Games, and in a sport that predominantly attracts casual spectators it seems appropriate that a Las Vegas native is one of baseball’s few entertainers who demands attention whenever he takes the field.
“I think people get opinions when they see me play the game and see the hard-nosed, chip-on-my-shoulder kind of thing. That's the way I play. I want to kick your teeth in. And after the game I can walk out of those doors and be the happiest person in the world.” – Bryce Harper.
Most significant, though, is that Harper keeps the wheels of his brand in constant motion. On top of his wide-ranging sponsorship commitments, the right fielder has developed his own ‘BH34’ logo, a trademark hair flip celebration, and a signature ‘I love you’ sign he sends to his mother after every home run.
Indeed, Harper knows that repetition breeds meaning, and along with his talent it is his marketability that makes him so valuable to the Washington Nationals. Now other franchises are circling to make Harper, who becomes a free agent in 2019, the MLB’s first US$400 million star, and it would be fitting if that legacy belonged to a player determined to be remembered. SC