One thing we know about Odell Beckham Jr., he can certainly light up the room, or the social space, with his antics on and off the field. That was confirmed for a national audience on Tuesday, when MVP Index and 120 Sports unveiled their analytic look at the most valuable athletes in the social space, with the Giants mercurial star trailing only Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in the rankings. The Texans J.J. Watt was third, with the Nets Jeremy Lin (14th being the only other New York athlete in the top 25 (The Knicks Derrick Rose also landed as 30th for athletes under 30).
To determine the most valued athletes on social media this year, athletes were ranked using a proprietary algorithm that evaluates all of their social activity throughout the past year. The ranking combines three separate scores: Reach (fans, followers, impressions), Engagement (likes, comments, shares, retweets, favorites) and Conversation (positive/negative mentions).
The National Football League dominated the 2016 ranking with nine players in the Top 25. The NBA followed with five of the Top 25 athletes. Wilson claimed the top spot for the second straight year with an overall ranking of 0.983, remaining at the center of the social spotlight this year not only for his athletic performance, but also for his recent marriage to singer Ciara. Although he caught a great amount of heat for shoddy play and an ill-advised social post of a trip to Miami following New York’s season finale against Washington, Beckham’s star continues to shine.
“He is a love em or hate em type of guy, but one thing is for sure, his actions draw a crowd, and for the most part all of that attention has been positive,” said Chris Lencheski, longtime sports marketer and professor at Columbia University. “Where all that goes next year will depend upon his continued dedication on the field and his controlled actions off. We all love a spectacle, but the Giants and their fans love a winning spectacle more.”
The top player in MLB was ex-Yankee Robinson Cano, while LeBron James not surprisingly was king of the NBA.