Rankings have grown in importance in the last decades. This is particularly evident in, but not limited to, academia. In this paper, we propose a power analytical take on academic rankings as a transnational(izing) phenomenon. In doing so, we make two contributions. First, we develop a conceptual definition of rankings as consecratory institutions. After providing an overview of the most prominent types of rankings in the academic field and discussing the different forms they can take, we suggest that rankings operate through subjectivation, zero-sum comparisons, quantification, publication and generating a doxical belief. Second, we propose that rankings fulfil a strategic double function. As a particularly momentous consecratory institution, rankings propel power shifts in the academic field and beyond by preferring (and being pushed by) specific academic milieus, types of agents, paradigms, and strategies. As a dispositif, rankings operate at the intersection of different fields, open academic fields up for a lay audience and advance processes of transnationalization by facilitating new modes of governance for hubs of state institutions, private corporations, media corporations, and data providers. Concluding, we argue that the consecration and dispositif functions rely on some basic principles of the practical functioning of rankings.