Forbes.com, which used Nielsen and E-Poll to conduct the survey to determine which athletes have the most influence among fans in the United States, reported that 29 percent of the respondents found Tebow to be "influential." Forbes.com did not release the number of participants in its survey but, when contacted by ESPN.com, said more than 1,000 people took part in the poll.
Tebow was released by the New York Jets last week after just one season with the team.
Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps finished second in the survey, with 25 percent finding him influential. Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt (23 percent) was third, while New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter (22 percent) was fourth.
NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson finished atop the survey results the past two years.
ESPN.com sports business reporter Darren Rovell contributed to this report.