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Power 100

Power 100: Methodology

CSE, an integrated sports and marketing firm in Atlanta, and Horrow Sports Ventures developed the 2012 edition of the Power 100 ranking of the most powerful athletes in professional sports. Using the same methodology for the third consecutive year, the ranking comprises only professional athletes playing in the United States. Coaches, executives, owners, agents, and even retired athletes were not considered. Only regular season statistics were used.

An athlete’s ranking is comprised of on-field attributes (50 percent) and off-field attributes (50 percent) to develop an overall ranking.


The on-field attributes measure an athlete’s ranking within his or her sport, relative to all other participants. Each athlete is compared to peer group averages, by sport, in a number of statistical categories. Next, a multiplier is used to adjust athletes’ rankings, based on the popularity and viewing audience of that sport. All data are analyzed over a two-year basis (weighted 80 percent for the most recent season and 20 percent for the season that preceded it) except for the NBA. Due to the lockout, only data from the 2010-11 season were used for the NBA.

The individual statistical categories for each sport are:

  • MLB — Batting Average, Runs, Hits, Home Runs, Stolen Bases (for batters); Wins, Saves, Strikeouts, and Earned Run Average (for pitchers)
  • MLS — Goals and Assists (on a per-game basis)
  • NASCAR — Wins, Top 5 Finishes, Top 10 Finishes, Winnings, and Poles
  • NBA/WNBA — Points, Blocks, Assists, Steals, and Rebounds (all on a per-game basis)
  • NFL — Yards, Touchdowns, and Quarterback Rating (by position, for offensive players); Tackles, Sacks, Interceptions, and Forced Fumbles (for defensive players)
  • NHL — Goals, Assists, and Plus/Minus (for non-goalkeepers); Save Percentage, Wins, Goals Allowed Average, and Shutouts (for goalkeepers)
  • BOXING, GOLF, INDY CAR, FORMULA ONE, MMA, TENNIS, and OLYMPIC SPORTS — Based on World Rankings (or sport rankings)


The off-field attributes comprise an athlete’s expected endorsement potential (75 percent), endorsement earnings (15 percent), and social-media presence (10 percent). The endorsement potential comes from Nielsen/E-Poll’s N-Score, which evaluates an athlete’s appeal, name and face awareness, and marketing potential on a national and local basis. Endorsement data is estimated by industry experts, based on comparable athletes. Social-media presence is measured based on official Facebook fans and Twitter followers as of Dec. 15, 2011.

Click here to see the world’s most powerful athletes in the 2012 Power 100.

David Newman is the vice-president of analytics at CSE. The CSE analytics team specializes in measuring and evaluating its clients' programs and sponsorships by procuring and using the latest data, technology, and methodology to provide strategic sponsorship consultation. Contact CSE.

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