There are millions of athletes all over the world contending at the highest level of their respective sports. They have earned massive and devoted fan bases: either for themselves, if they’re in solo sports such as boxing, or for the team that they represent.

But people tend to be drawn to those top-end talents who prove to be among the very best of their sport. These top talents demand that fans back them on betting sites as they’re too good to go against.

There is, however, a big difference between being very talented and becoming a global superstar. Some of the most successful and talented sportspeople in the world have been unable to reach the upper echelon of superstardom.

So, we’re here to uncover what it takes to reach that peak.

Talent doesn’t necessarily lead to success. As seen many times in the major American sports leagues, great players can be eternally stuck to poor teams.

Due to the way that the draft system works, the worst teams get the perceived best players each year. If the teams don’t go on to build a team around those top talents, the team won’t win anything.

The limited number of trophies in the American major leagues also limits how many sportspeople can find success each year.

In the NHL, Marcel Dionne and Mats Sundin never won the Stanley Cup. In the NFL, Dan Marino and Barry Sanders never won the Super Bowl.

In the MLB, Ted Williams and Ken Griffey Jr never won the World Series. In the NBA, Reggie Miller and Karl Malone never won the NBA Championship.

The first step towards becoming a global sporting superstar is to play in a sport watched or known globally. Football has immense global appeal.

While the sport of American football is secluded, its aggressive advertising and hyping make its stars relevant around the world. After displaying talent, the sportsperson must then win trophies to prove their ability on the biggest occasions.

It is with solo sportspeople that accolades become more important as it all down to their own work. In boxing, Manny Pacquiao has been able to become a global superstar through his skill and ability to secure the record as the eight-division world champion.


Ability To Do The Unexpected:

Sport is an entertainment medium. People turn up to watch teams and sportspeople participate because it brings them excitement, joy, and anger.

For a participant to ascend from sportsperson to global superstar, they have to possess a great deal of talent and an aura of unpredictability.

Having previously shown their flair for being unpredictable, fans then expect them to do something unpredictable and back them in the sports betting to do so. That’s what makes them exciting and why people follow them in each match and beyond.

Overall, injuries and a poor team have hindered Odell Beckham Jr in the NFL. However, ‘The Catch’ and numerous other explosions of brilliance out of the blue have marked him as a global superstar capable of the seemingly impossible.

Cristiano Ronaldo, on the other hand, has been regarded as the best player in the world for a long time, but it was his amazing free kick against Portsmouth in 2008 marked him as a global superstar.

Charismatic And Ability To Connect With People:

Charisma is a major part of any person becoming a global superstar, regardless of their profession. To hit the celebrity status, a sportsperson must be talkative when called upon, and say the right things.

It used to be that interviews in magazines and on television were the only ways for most fans to experience the charisma of sports stars. Nowadays, social media allows fans to follow sports stars in everything that they do, getting hooked on their charisma even further.

Cristiano Ronaldo is by far the most-followed athlete on Instagram, with over 147 million followers. Neymar is close behind, at over 106 million. Lionel Messi trails in third, with over 102 million followers.

Charisma can take a sportsperson to global superstardom, as shown by David Beckham. The retired footballer has the fourth-most followers of any athlete, with 52.21 million on Instagram.


It Helps To Be Photogenic...

There’s an expectation for sportspeople to be fit, due to their profession. But there’s no doubt that also being a beautiful human being helps them to become even more popular if they’re talented in their sport.

Success, skill, and money will help, but most sportspeople who become global superstars are good looking.

They’re who people want to be, and who others want to be with. It’s a reason why many people will tune in to live games, lean towards backing them in live betting, and follow them on social media.

Appeal To Specific Fan Bases:

Ascending a sport to become a global superstar requires the initial backing of the sportsperson’s original fans. Those who follow a sport have certain expectations for the conduct of its professionals, for the most part.

It is very sport dependent. In the NFL, fans tend to be drawn to the enigmatic, big, loud personalities. Those with elaborate touchdown celebrations and show aggression tend to catch the attention.

In ice hockey, despite the physicality and allowance of fighting in the sport, fans greatly converge on humble and clear-thinking stars.

When it comes down to the big games, when temperatures are high, fans will turn to teams with the calm and intelligent stars in the ice hockey betting.

Boxing is in a mixed phase in this sense. As more people are starting to follow the sport and expecting violence and brash personalities, those types of stars are becoming popular again.

For the most part, long-term and knowledgeable fans of the sport tend to drift towards less-outspoken talents like Anthony Joshua and Katie Taylor, as well as those who show respect in press conferences.

The likes of Deontay Wilder and Jarrell Miller have fans that like their arrogant personas and do get a look in the boxing betting markets. However, the more popular stars of modern boxing are those who prove their skill and are respectful.


Appeal To Major Brands:

Having earned a massive fan base within a sport, sportspeople can take the next step by brand association. Brands look to sponsor much-loved and recognisable sports stars to promote their products.

In turn, by being in advertising, the sportspeople become even more famous as more people see and recognise them, associating them with top brands.

Whenever looking at the goalscorer markets of the football betting, your mind wanders to the likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Neymar. All three are among the top five highest-paid athletes in the world.

Messi pulls in £20.5 million in endorsements. Ronaldo earns £35.7 million in endorsements. Neymar earns £13 million in endorsements.

For a sports star to transcend the sport and become a global superstar, they need more than talent. They need success, flair, charisma, the right personality to appeal to their core fan base, and further recognisability through sponsorship.

*Credit for the main photo belongs to Christof Stache / AP Photo


The 888sport blog, based at 888 Towers in the heart of London, employs an army of betting and tipping experts for your daily punting pleasure, as well as an irreverent, and occasionally opinionated, look at the absolute madness that is the world of sport.