The Indian sportsman falls just behind the American basketball player Stephen Curry and French association football (soccer) player Paul Pogba in the list of 50 most marketable athletes, published by SportsPro magazine.
This is the seventh consecutive year the magazine has published the rankings of athletes across the world since 2010.
Among the notable figures, sprinter Usain Bolt placed 31st, while Lionel Messi ranked 27th.
Describing Kohli’s cricketing skills, the magazine wrote of the “sub-continental hero coming of age,” and that “not only has he withstood such hostile conditions, he has bent them to his will.”
“It is an approach designed to build long-term stability; it could create a means of taking his profile some way beyond the boundary.”
The publication analyzed the marketing potential of all the athletes for the next three years to compile the list. With athletes from 21 nations featured in the list, up to 20 different sports were considered for the rankings. The criteria considered when ranking candidates included their age, willingness to be marketed, appeal and value.
SportsPro said: “Each of this year’s 50 is different from the next, yet they all share one common trait: without them and their like, it is difficult to imagine why anyone would have been drawn to this industry in the first place.”