Cricketers are favourite but Rice rises

Ricky Ponting has  taken the mantle as Australia’s most marketable sportsperson for the third year in a row, ahead of recently retired swimmer and now newsreader Grant Hackett and semi-retired cricketer Adam Gilchrist.

Results from the 2008-09 summer edition of the Sweeney Sports Report show that Australian cricketers hold four of the top 10 ranking with retired players Glen McGrath being fourth and Steve Waugh eighth. The top ten is dominated by retired stars including Ian Thorpe and Pat Rafter.

Olympic swimmer Stephanie Rice has come in at seventh place, the highest ranking woman, with Cathy Freeman now in number eight, followed by swimmers Leisel Jones and Libby Trickett.

Despite the general high regard for cricketers, Andrew Symonds has tumbled down the list to 36th after reaching a high of tenth position last year.

His fall from favour continues a consistent attitude among Australians that sports stars involved in controversial behaviour are not regarded as highly “marketable”.

Sonny Bill Williams has also suffered after his controversial departure from Australia and League to play union in France. He’s now in 78th position, a fall of 34 positions. Sydney Swan Barry Hall dropped 25 spots to 63rd position.

The report is the 23rd summer edition of the national Sweeney Sports Report, produced by the sports and sponsorship arm of market research company Sweeney Research and involves 50 major sports played or covered by the media.

Since 2003, interviewing for the report has been conducted throughout the year with data collected between October 2008 and March 2009 for this report, says general manager Todd Deacon.

One thousand interviews were conducted, using computer-assisted telephone interviewing, in the six state capital cities and Canberra.

During analysis, the results were weighted by age and sex within each city to make the findings fully representative of the major cities’ populations.

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