Power 100: Methodology

Looking at more than 200 professional athletes, CSE Group used a combination of on- and off-field rankings to come up with the 2011 Power 100

(Corrects reference to the Nielsen/E-Poll N-Score.)

Working with CSE, an integrated sports and marketing firm in Atlanta, and Horrow Sports Ventures, Businessweek.com once again developed the methodology for the 2011 edition of the Power 100 ranking of the most powerful athletes in professional sports.As with last year's Power 100, the ranking comprises only professional athletes playing in the U.S. 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 consist of an athlete's ranking within his or her sport, relative to all other participants, and a multiplier that is based on the popularity and viewing audience of that sport. Each athlete is compared to the average in a number of statistical categories for the specific sport on a two-year basis (weighted 80 percent for the most recent season and 20 percent for the season that preceded it). The individual statistical categories for each sport are:

MLB — Batting Average, Runs, Hits, and Home Runs (for batters); Wins, Saves, Strikeouts, and ERA (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 and Touchdowns (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 (80 percent) and endorsement earnings (20 percent). The endorsement potential comes from Nielsen/E-Poll's N-Score, which measures an athlete's name awareness, appeal, influence, trustworthiness, overall popularity, and a number of other attributes. Endorsement data is estimated by industry experts based on comparable athletes.

Click here to see the world's most powerful athletes in the 2011 Power 100.