50 most marketable Australian athletes: Why women’s sport is a better investment
With a jam-packed schedule of major women’s sporting events, one expert tipps that our female athletes will overtake men as our most marketable stars in the near future.
Australian women’s sport and its elite women athletes stand on the precipice of a tremendous opportunity over the next 12 to 18 months as the world’s biggest events cross paths with an influx of interest in their achievements.
With a FIFA World Cup in Australia in July, a Netball World Cup in South Africa and a countdown to the Paris 2024 Olympics, which will also include world championships in swimming, athletics, rowing and cycling, the schedule has never been so packed of the most important world events for women’s sport.
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And never in Australian sporting history has interest in women athletes been so great that television viewership, event ticket sales and online readers’ interest in women’s sport have reached unprecedented heights.
When it comes to marketing, Australia’s golden women also display incredible personal brand strength, largely due to the fact that they are not only successful but mostly down to earth, humble characters.
A Code Sports special report on the most marketable athletes in Australia revealed a key trend – that women have far stronger personal brand strength ratings than men.
A survey of sports fans asking them to rate athletes based on their authenticity, risk factor and overall perception found an apparent preference for women.
The survey results were then added to their performance rating (which takes into account their athletic performance over the past 12 months) to arrive at a combined personal brand strength rating of 40.
Eight-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore (35.4 points out of 40) and Olympic paddling champion Jess Fox (33.8) emerged as the top two in terms of brand strength, with cricketer Alyssa Healy (33) and soccer player Samantha Kerr (32). .8) top five completed the NRL do-gooder Nicho Hynes (third, 33.4) as the only man.
A further breakdown of the final rankings showed that seven of the top 10 athletes were women – with Lauren Jackson (seventh, 32.5), Ariarne Titmus (eighth, 32) and Meg Lanning (ninth, 32) in the top 10.
Australia’s top Olympian Emma McKeon came in 11th with 30.9 points, ahead of golf star Minjee Lee (12th, 30.2) and Diamonds netball champion Gretel Bueta (14th, 30), who made the women’s top 10 -15 places in the branding rating.
The numbers show that in women’s sport, partnering with Australian athletes is a pretty safe bet.
Leading sports marketing guru Tristan Hay and Monash University sports expert Dr. Thomas Heenan predict that women will continue to rise in the ranks of marketability.
“This list reflects data collected up to March of this year, we have the upcoming Women’s World Cup, the Olympics next year, the rise of professional women’s leagues like AFLW and NRLW and there will certainly be a shift of more women on the list,” Hay said.
“And not only to make the list, but to rank higher. I would say that by this time next year, 2024, maybe it will be almost 50-50, males and females.”
dr Heenan predicts that the traditional marketing of female athletes as sex symbols will also dissolve.
“Don’t be surprised if Australia’s most marketable athletes are women,” said Dr. Heenan. “The question remains whether they will be celebrated for their sporting excellence or presented in a sexualized way to praise the male market.
“My guess is that community and corporate standards will require sponsors and marketers to celebrate women’s sport rather than sexualize it.
“I expect marketing will move with changes in Australia’s population composition.”