Repucom reveals that women’s tennis athletes are the most revered celebrity women sports stars, and Maria Sharapova is the most marketable female athlete globally.
The Women and Sport Report Repucom is launching next month explores the growing rise and importance of female athletes and female fans.
Using Repucomʼs Celebrity DBI, an independent index that quantifies and qualifies consumer perception of celebrities, the results reveal that the 15 most marketable female athletes in 15 selected key markets around the world participate in eight different sports, of which four athletes are tennis players: Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Venus Williams and Steffi Graf – who is still the most marketable female athlete in Germany despite retiring over 16 years ago.
In the global list of all female celebrities, Sharapova is the highest ranked athlete at number 25. Female tennis players are the dominant celebrities in comparison to other female sports stars as Serena and Venus Williams come in at number 28 and 37 respectively, illustrating that tennis is a truly international sport with high media presence and popularity.
Sharapova achieves the highest aspirational rating amongst all tennis players overall with a score of 76.60 in Turkey, where she is the most marketable female athlete and 71.55 in her home country of Russia. Sharapova is also the tennis player who scores highest for breakthrough, trend-setting and endorsement compared to her fellow tennis female athletes.
Some of Sharapova’s lucrative sponsorship deals include Nike, Evian and Tag Heuer, and she is brand ambassador for Porsche. Sharapova is also a successful businesswoman and launched “Sugarpova” sweets with flagship stores around the world. With over 15 million fans on Facebook, Sharapova is the most popular tennis player in the social media world ahead of men’s stars, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. She also has 1.42 million followers on Twitter.
Mike Wragg, Global Head of Research at Repucom, said: “Tennis is undoubtedly the number one women’s sport in terms of TV consumption, and the DBI data shows that female tennis players are highly regarded all over the world. As tennis is played the whole year round, elite women players gain more visibility and thus sponsors get an annual presence with their selected ambassador. Many female tennis players are aspirational figures for the youth. We now see the impact of a second generation of young women growing up with a much higher chance of developing an interest in sport, and female sporting celebrities providing role models which are closing the gap with non-sport celebrities and their male counterparts.”