Rory McIlroy, native of Co Down in Northern Ireland, was ranked the third most marketable athlete in SoccerPro’s annual 50 Most Marketable List.

While the third ranking is impressive, McIlroy took a dip from 2012 when he was named the second most marketable athlete.

2012 and 2013 saw the same three athletes in the top three spots: Rory McIlroy, soccer player Lionel Messi and Brazilian football player Neymar.

A number of factors go into the annual rankings, including age, home market, charisma, willingness to be marketed and crossover appeal.

Of 23 year old Rory McIlroy and his partnership with Nike, SoccerPro said “Clean-cut, eloquent and with a high-profile girlfriend to boot, McIlroy certainly ticked all the right boxes for Nike Golf, whose chief Cindy Davis described his long-awaited signing in January as “one of the most important events” in the history of the brand.”

Aside from Nike, McIlroy is also poised to sign on with audio specialists Bose and watchmaker Omega for impressive seven-figure endorsements since his tie-up with the American sportswear giant.

Similarly, McIlroy’s love match with German tennis player Caroline Wozniacki has kept him in the public eye aside from his sporting ventures.