At this point in 2011, a quarterback at Baylor University named Robert Griffin III was preparing for a his final game as a college quarterback. In 12 months, with 302,800 Facebook “Likes”, 596,120 Twitter followers and 104,580,000 Google mentions, Griffin has become the third most influential athlete on the Internet, according to Busted Coverage research. By combining these three most powerful gauges of influence on the Internet, we’ve built a list of the 50 Most Influential Athletes on the Internet for 2012.
The list is dominated by soccer players (five of top 10), while women account for only two spots (Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova). Perennial web favorite Anna Kournikova is at #64 due to a lack of Twitter followers via her nonexistent account. The same issue kept Derek Jeter (#63) out of the top 50.
Peyton Manning is the only athlete on the list without a Twitter or Facebook account. His 15,800,000 Google searches more than made up for his lack of social media reach. No baseball players made the list.
As for Griffin III’s meteoric rise in popularity, he has set a single-season record for NFL jersey sales and is in the $4-6 million range in endorsement earnings.
The Influential Math:
Twitter followers + Facebook Likes + Google Results = Influential ranking