Oliveira, Sato among SportsPro’s most marketable athletes

The Brazilian and Japanese track athletes have been named in the top 50 most marketable athletes in the year for 2014. 20 May 2014
A woman speaks at a podium.

Paralympian Mami Sato was instrumental in helping Tokyo 2020 attract attention for their Games bid.

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“When we have athletes who can do that the way Mami did it is a plus. We know she will be a fantastic ambassador for us in Tokyo as we start to prepare for that fantastic Games in 2020.”

Brazil’s Paralympic champion Alan Fonteles Oliveira and Japan’s Paralympic bronze medallist Mami Sato have both been named among the world’s 50 most marketable athletes of 2014 by SportsPro magazine.

Fonteles Oliveria, ranked No. 20 on the list, is the world-record holder in the men’s 100m and 200m T43 events and Paralympic champion in the 200m. The 22-year-old won world titles across the 100m, 200m and 400m distances in 2013, and is quickly becoming the host nation’s face of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

Last year, Fonteles Oliveira was No. 17 on the list after racing head-to-head against the USA’s Jerome Singleton over 150m on a purpose-built strip of track on Copacabana beach in Rio.

Xavier Gonzalez, IPC Chief Executive Officer, said: “He is a fantastic athlete but he is also a fantastic person with a fantastic story. He represents very well the values of the Paralympic Games.

“He helped us during the debrief we had on London, to explain his experience and he was humbled to come and was very honest and very open with everybody. It is how Paralympic athletes are – they compete very hard, but at the same time understand they are helping to promote our Movement on a global basis.”

Sato, No. 34 on the list, won bronze at the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships in the long jump F44, and became known for her heartfelt presentation for the successful Tokyo 2020 bid last September.

Sato lost her leg to cancer, then nearly lost her family to the 2011 tsunami, but has competed at three Paralympics and become one of the Paralympic Movement’s most accomplished ambassadors and inspirational storytellers.

Gonzalez said: “It’s great to have athletes that have the ability to express themselves the way Mami did. That’s a skill in itself. What is important is all of them have great stories to tell and they all have stories that can teach and can help.

“When we have athletes who can do that the way Mami did it is a plus. We know she will be a fantastic ambassador for us in Tokyo as we start to prepare for that fantastic Games in 2020.”

Athletes across the world were ranked against criteria including age, home market, charisma, willingness to be marketed and crossover appeal, following several weeks of analysis by the SportsPro team and other industry experts.

SportsPro editor-in-chief David Cushnan said: “There is debate every year about who does and doesn’t make the list. Our major criteria is always marketing potential over the next three years; in other words: if you were a sponsor, which athletes are going to provide value for money and help build your brand over that period? We’re trying to identify the commercial stars of the future.”

The full list of the World's 50 Most Marketable Athletes, plus comprehensive commercial analysis of each and every athlete, detailing their inclusion on this year’s list and explaining their ranking, is online now at www.sportspromedia.com. The June edition of the magazine features additional coverage.

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