Beckham, a wide receiver for the Giants, is a social media superstar, which helped propel him to the top of the list. With 8.6 million Instagram followers, 2.5 million Twitter followers and 1.4 million Facebook likes, Beckham was ranked near the top of each of those categories.
After his standout rookie season, the Cowboys running back sits in second thanks to an especially strong showing on Twitter and Instagram. Being out of the limelight since January, however, limited Elliott’s media relevance and prevented him from getting past Beckham at the top.
Harper is the highest-ranked baseball player on the index and is the only MLB athlete who made the cut. The Nationals right fielder ranked high in social media followers in every category and got a boost from significant media coverage of his confrontation with Giants pitcher Hunter Strickland on May 29.
Ball, the second pick by the Lakers in the 2017 NBA Draft, has had a red-hot brand in recent months thanks to the draft, his talkative dad and his custom shoe. In addition to having a solid social media following, media coverage and interest in Ball’s jump into the NBA helped lift him to the No. 4 spot before his official Lakers debut.
Larson is a fixture in the top five, whether on track this season or in the index. His success on track with two wins in the first half of the 2017 NASCAR season led to large amounts of recent news coverage, boosting his brand energy. Larson also has a consistently strong social media presence especially on Twitter and Facebook.
Davis seemingly puts a lot of time into maintaining his Facebook page, which is a rarity among the athletes in the index. The Pelicans center has the most likes on Facebook out of any other athlete surveyed with nearly 2.3 million. Davis also helped his score by remaining relevant in the media.
The youngest player in the index, Fultz immediately gained relevance by being drafted first overall by the 76ers in the 2017 NBA Draft. Despite just beginning his professional career, Fultz has already established a strong social media presence and media coverage around being the No. 1 pick lifted him into the seventh spot.
Like the other racers on this list, Elliott does an excellent job of staying active on Twitter and Facebook, while also keeping his name in the media thanks to a near year-round NASCAR schedule. Another common theme amongst NASCAR drivers, including Elliott, is a lesser presence on Instagram, but he makes up for this with a plethora of media coverage.
Porzingis, the Knicks 7-foot-3 big man from Latvia, is the highest-ranked non-American on the index and was boosted by his strong performance on Facebook. Porzingis also remained relevant in the media during the recent NBA Draft due to speculations about a possible trade.
Beal, a shooting guard for the Wizards, is among the most active athletes in the index on Twitter with 268,000 followers. Although this number may not seem competitive, Beal has tweeted nearly 15,000 times, boosting his ranking and keeping him in the Top 10. His emphasis on Twitter helps Beal shine within the rankings.
The sole gymnast on our index, Biles, posted some of the highest numbers for social followers on nearly every platform. While Biles’ popularity has not peaked since the Rio Olympics, where she won four gold medals, the gymnast kept her name relevant in the media by competing on Dancing with the Stars this past season.
The lone PGA golfer on the list, Spieth, is competitive with his Twitter following among the athletes we surveyed, ranking high in that category. Spieth also saw a rise in his media coverage following his dramatic win at the Travelers Championship.
Fournette, drafted fourth by the Jaguars at the 2017 NFL Draft, used his collegiate prominence at LSU to build a solid social media foundation on Twitter and Instagram. Combining his social media stats with media coverage helped boost his score.
Tatum, who was picked third in the 2017 NBA Draft by the Celtics, lags behind the rest of the Top 25 in social media following but was boosted by recent media coverage of his entrance to the NBA and his performance in the NBA Summer League.
Huston, a professional skateboarder out of Sacramento, has among the highest number of followers on Facebook and Instagram of any athletes we researched. He's also one of the most active on Instagram of any of the athletes in the Top 25.
Thompson is just the second golfer to make the list and is also the only female representing her sport in the Top 25. She is the one of the most active on Instagram of any of the top athletes, but the lack of LPGA news coverage lowered her score against her peers.
The Pistons center, Drummond, is a Twitter powerhouse with more than 1.2 million followers and among the best Twitter engagement in the Top 25. He also recently saw a spike in media coverage due to trade rumors and his return from an injury.
While Harris’s social following is relatively average compared to the rest of the Top 25, he is one of the most active on his social platforms. His strong social media engagement helped him earn a spot in the top 25. Harris just snuck in from an eligibility perspective as he turns 25 just a few days after our cutoff.
Fresh off an impressive rookie campaign leading the Cowboys to the playoffs, quarterback Prescott ranks high for his sheer number of social media followers. However, his place was damaged by lack of activity on his social platforms.
LaVine, a shooting guard recently acquired by the Bulls, has one of the largest Facebook followings of the Top 25 with nearly one million fans. LaVine’s name was also a hot topic among the media following his draft day move to the Bulls.
The “Greek Freak,” a small forward for the Bucks, has a vast presence across the web with one of the highest search engine results in the Top 25. He also maintains high engagement on Facebook helping him to stay connected with fans, driving his popularity.