New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter is ranked the #1 sports star in the US, up from #3 last year, according to Harris Poll data collected in June 2011. Jeter is followed by Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, who climbs three spots from number five in 2010.
Bryant Falls to #3
Meanwhile, Los Angeles Laker guard Kobe Bryant, who tied as the top US athlete in 2010, fell to number three this year. Other notable year-over-year movers include retired Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan, who climbed from number seven to a third-place tie with Bryant, as well as golfer Tiger Woods, who fell from a number one tie with Bryant to number five.
In addition, the list features four newcomers: St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward, current Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose, and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
On the 2010 top 10 list but dropping out this year were retired Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre (was #4), Miami Heat guard LeBron James (was #6), New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (was #9) and NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. (was #10).
Men Like Jeter, Women Prefer Manning
For men, Derek Jeter is number one, but for women it’s Peyton Manning. There are also generational differences. Echo Boomers (those 18-34) may not have ever seen him play live, but they still say Michael Jordan is their favorite sports star while for Gen Xers (those 35-46) it is Peyton Manning. Baby Boomers (those 47-65) have Derek Jeter as their number one while Matures (those 66 and older) name Tiger Woods.
Meanwhile, dividing responses by race/ethnicity, whites prefer Manning, while African-Americans and Hispanics like Bryant. Regionally, most areas of the country support their local athletes. Derek Jeter is number one in the East, while the Midwest supports Rose and the West likes Bryant. Interestingly, the South ranks Manning, who plays in the Midwestern city of Indianapolis, number one. Manning’s father Archie played for the New Orleans Saints and Peyton maintains ties to the city, which may have swayed Southern respondents.
NFL Contributes Most Players to List
Numerous data has confirmed football is the most popular sport in the US, so it makes sense that the NFL contributes the most players (four – Manning, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, Ward and Rogers). The NBA follows with three current or former players (Bryant, Jordan and Rose). Major League Baseball features Jeter and Pujols, while the PGA places Tiger Woods on the list.
Jordan is the only athlete not currently competing professionally to make the list. He is still used as a commercial pitchman and also was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009, factors which may influence his continuing popularity.
Nielsen: Yankees Dominate Baseball Marketability
Three of the 10 most marketable current Major League Baseball players are members of the New York Yankees, according to Nielsen and E-Poll’s March 2011 N-Score ranking. The top two players, Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, are both Yankees, as is number nine Alex Rodriguez.
The N-Score measures name and image awareness, appeal and personality attributes such as sincerity, approachability, experience and influence, both at the national and local levels, in terms of endorsement potential.
About the Data: This Harris Poll was conducted online within the US June 13 to 20, 2011 among 2,163 adults (aged 18 and older). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.