Last week respected sports marketing publication SportsProMedia released their annual list, ‘The World’s 50 Most Marketable Athletes’, to the public. For the last three years the list had only included the two British heavyweight titans, Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua. That was until last week when Ryan Garcia came in as the highest-ranked boxer at number twelve overall, while Joshua and Fury could only muster thirty-first and thirty-second respectively.
At first glance, this might come as a surprise to many boxing fans. Garcia is yet to partake in a massive fight, (although this is set to change with his upcoming bout against Luke Campbell), and is still extremely young in his career. He is, however, a master of social media. Garcia is currently the second most followed active boxer on Instagram with 7.3 million followers, one place behind Anthony Joshua who has 11.4 million. Perhaps his most impressive social media feat is reaching 584,000 subscribers on YouTube in just four months but there’s a method to his meteoric rise.
Starting with his aesthetics, Ryan certainly looks the part. Boxing has always been kind to fighters who are conventionally attractive, and this is something Ryan’s promoter, Oscar De La Hoya (Golden Boy), has pushed heavily during his time in boxing promotion, particularly with Canelo Alvarez. When you combine the look and youth of Garcia with his exciting all-action style and blistering hand speed you have the ultimate aesthetic, and he’s used this to his advantage when it comes to marketability.
Garcia has looked to build strength in numbers amongst his most relatable generational demographic, Gen Z (8 to 25-year-olds), by building his profile through association with youthful social media celebrities. Collaborations with Jake Paul, Tanner Fox, Dixie D’Amelio and Addison Rae have done wonders for Garcia’s exposure, and have ultimately established him as a household name amongst younger viewers.
With the surging interest from young people in YouTube boxing, it makes complete sense that Garcia would place himself in that world in an attempt to bridge the gap to the paid ranks. What Garcia is setting up seems to be a transitional model in which young fans interested in YouTube boxing will begin switching their interests towards world-level professional boxing through his introduction. He will be the name that pulls in younger audiences and his fights will serve as a catalyst in creating new boxing fans.
But what do you think? Is Ryan Garcia good for boxing? Is he really the most marketable boxer in the world? Let us know in the comments below.