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Volume 21 No. 39
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McGregor No. 1 contender on social ranking

McGregor’s social portfolio includes Instagram.
Despite losing the August mega-bout against Floyd Mayweather Jr., mixed martial arts fighter Conor McGregor is ending 2017 as the most valuable athlete on social media, according to year-end rankings from MVPindex.

The data from the Dallas-based social media analytics provider showed that McGregor topped all other athletes who live or compete primarily in the U.S. in the company’s proprietary algorithm measuring reach, engagement and conversation.

McGregor’s social media portfolio includes more than 21.6 million followers on Instagram, 7.6 million on Facebook, and 6.7 million more on Twitter — all numbers up sharply from the end of 2016. Despite not having fought since the Mayweather bout and not in an MMA ring since November 2016, McGregor remains a highly outspoken, near-daily presence on his various feeds. His posts veer often into lifestyle and entertainment.

MVPindex estimated the monetary value of McGregor’s social media footprint for the year at $616 million based on the amount of impressions and engagement his content generated.

“Guys like Conor, whether they get on the stage of competition once a year, every weekend or every night, know they’re on the stage of social media all the time,” said Kyle Nelson, MVPindex co-founder.

The NBA, which routinely shows up at or near the top in social media rankings, predictably loomed large in the MVPindex rankings with Cleveland forward LeBron James ranking second, Golden State guard Stephen Curry third, Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook fifth and nine players overall in the top 25.

The rankings did have some exceptions, as they did not include WWE or esports athletes, both of which are popular on social media. Had pro wrestling been included, John Cena would have ranked second and Nikki Bella, Roman Reigns and Randy Orton would have made the top 10.