Dale Earnhardt Jr., co-owner of the JR Motorsports NASCAR Nationwide Series team and eight-time NASCAR Most Popular Driver, ranked seventh on the World's Most Valuable Athlete Brands list, published this week by Forbes.com.
The Forbes Fab 40 uses a proprietary methodology to determine values of the top 10 names in sports in four categories: athletes, businesses, events and teams. The Daytona 500 was listed at No. 7 in the events category. Earnhardt Jr. and "The Great American Race" were the only motorsports-related brands to make the Forbes Fab 40.
"The Forbes Fab 40 is for people interested in quantifying brand value using numbers and math," writes Mike Ozanian of Forbes.
This marks the third time Forbes has published its "most valuable sports brands" list since introducing it in 2007. Earnhardt Jr. was listed in the previous two, ranking eighth in 2007 and fourth in 2010. Joining Earnhardt Jr. on the 2011 list are Tiger Woods, Roger Federer, Phil Mickelson, David Beckham, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. Rounding out the top 10 behind Earnhardt Jr. are Maria Sharapova, Cristiano Ronaldo and Shaun White.
"You look at each of the 10 names, they are similar in that they are all world renowned athletes, but their brands are uniquely their own," said Joe Mattes, VP of Licensing & Marketing at JR Motorsports. "The Dale Jr. brand shouts authenticity to the core. It represents family, blue-collar, likeability and cool. But the glue that holds it together is authenticity, and that's what makes the Dale Jr. brand so appealing. Nobody likes fake. With Dale Jr., what you see is what you get."
Earlier this year, Forbes.com listed Earnhardt Jr. third among its most influential athletes. He is routinely listed among Forbes' Celebrity 100. In January, Bloomberg Businessweek ranked Earnhardt Jr. 42nd on its Power 100, a list based off methodology to determine the most powerful athletes on the field and in the business world.