Top 10 Most Admired Sports Stars Revealed

Katie Taylor has retained and extended her position as Ireland’s most admired sports personality, according to leading sponsorship advisors Onside in their Onside Star Trek 2019 published yesterday.

Irish rugby legend and pundit Brian O’Driscoll climbs back up 2 places to 2nd position, and one of the main movers this year, Johnny Sexton jumps into 3rd place.

Shane Lowry’s victory in the Open Championship at Royal Portrush sees him climb into the Top Five just ahead of Roy Keane who’s recent appearance at the Bird Gais Energy Theatre has done his profile no harm.

The rest of the places in the Top 10 have been filled by stars from across the sporting spectrum.

Goalkeeper and Captain of the five-in-a-row winning Dublin football team Stephen Cluxton as well as his Manager Jim Gavin are in there while Sonia O’Sullivan has retained her place and Rory McIlroy has regained his spot in the Top 10.

The final place is Conor McGregor in ninth, down from 3rd last year though the survey was taken before his latest court appearance in Dublin.

“Katie Taylors dominance in appeal among the Irish public is on the rise for the past 3 years in particular, with her net volume of support up 58% year on year alone,” said Onside Founder John Trainor.

“As the push for greater recognition of women in sport in Ireland makes huge strides generally, it will be encouraging for initiatives like the 20×20 campaign to see that Taylor’s biggest support is coming from Irish females aged 18-34.”

“However there is some road left to travel to win greater admiration levels for female Irish athletes, with just 7% of the sports stars identified being female.”

“Next years’ Olympic and Paralympic Games are a big stage for stars like Annalise Murphy, Sanita Puspure and Ellen Keane to take their public support to the next level.”

We would add Kellie Harrington in particular into the mix who we believe will get much closer to Katie Taylor’s level of popularity if she can land Tokyo Gold.

Two in three Irish adults have an Irish sports star that they admire most, with 70 different sports personalities singled out for special recognition by the Irish public in the Onside research.

As Rugby World Cup 2019 moves up a gear this week to the quarter final stages, Rory Best, Conor Murray, Peter O’Mahony and Rob Kearney featured as the next most admired stars on the Irish squad.

Onside anticipates more ground-breaking investment in ambassadorial programmes in the next decade, as leading athletes globally and locally are becoming more and more valuable in the sports marketing landscape.

“Ronaldo is the highest profile example of the strength of individual players, with his move to Juventus helping double the club’s Instagram following in five months and this reach helping the club significantly increase its sponsorship income,” added Trainor.

“Viewed through the players lens, Ronaldo’s own social media following is greater than the club’s and gives him a direct-to-consumer channel that has been unrelentingly exploited.”

Image Credit: Inpho.ie

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