SBD/Issue 213/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Tiger Joined By Kobe Atop Harris Poll For Most Popular Athletes

Golfer Tiger Woods tied with Lakers G Kobe Bryant as America's favorite sports star, according to a Harris Interactive poll, ending a four-year run where he topped the list by himself. Woods was the favorite among men, while Bryant ranked first among women. Yankees SS Derek Jeter, who was named earlier this week the most marketable player in MLB, ranks third on the Harris list. Tennis player Serena Williams was named the most popular female athlete, with her sister Venus ranking No. 2, the same results as in '09. Driver Danica Patrick again finished third. The nationwide poll surveyed 2,227 U.S. adults online between June 14-21. The chart below lists the top 10 male and female athletes (Harris Interactive).

RANK
ATHLETE ('09 RANK)
RANK
ATHLETE ('09 RANK)
t1)
Tiger Woods (1)
1)
Serena Williams (1)
t1)
Kobe Bryant (4)
2)
Venus Williams (2)
3)
Derek Jeter (5)
3)
Danica Patrick (3)
4)
Brett Favre (9)
4)
Mia Hamm (5)
5)
Peyton Manning (7)
5)
Maria Sharapova (t6)
6)
LeBron James (3)
6)
Anna Kournikova (9)
7)
Michael Jordan (2)
t7)
Misty May-Treanor (NR)
8)
Tom Brady (NR)
t7)
Shawn Johnson (NR)
9)
Drew Brees (NR)
9)
Lisa Leslie (NR)
10)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (8)
t10)
Billie Jean King (NR)
 
 
t10)
Martina Navratilova (NR)

REPAIRING THEIR PUBLIC IMAGE: The issue of the legacies and the public perceptions of Woods, Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez and cyclist Lance Armstrong was examined on ESPN's "Outside The Lines" yesterday. ESPN's T.J. Quinn said Woods "is in one of the longest droughts in his career" and everything "has been picked apart as people try to figure out why he hasn't returned to form and whether he ever will." ESPN's Curtis Strange said, "We're obsessed with Tiger and Lance and all of the top athletes, and we scrutinize everything they do.” He noted Woods is “going through a tough time right now … (and) I think we have to give him some slack from that, that he's not playing well because there's a lot on his mind." ESPN.com's Jason Sobel: "The game needs a very, very good Tiger Woods to bring in interest of all the fans out there … and I don't think he's that far from making a return to being the preeminent player that we've seen in the past." The N.Y. Times' Tyler Kepner, on the perception of Rodriguez in N.Y.: "I don't know that he'll ever be loved in New York ... but I think he's respected very much now as a Yankee.” Kepner: “He did a lot to repair his image last year really by producing when it mattered and by staying out of self-made controversies by making himself less available to the media" (“Outside The Lines,” ESPN, 7/20).

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