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Old 07-23-2010, 07:36 AM   #1
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Harris Poll: Favorite Female Athlete

full results and yearly breakdowns: Harris Interactive: Harris Polls > Tiger is Still America's Favorite Sports Star, but Shares Title with Kobe Bryant

2010 Women's Results

1. Serena Williams (tennis)
2. Venus Williams (tennis)
3. Danica Patrick (racing)
4. Mia Hamm (soccer)
5. Maria Sharapova (tennis)
6. Anna Kournikova (tennis)
T7. Misty May (volleyball)
T7. Shawn Johnson (gymnastics)
9. Lisa Leslie (basketball)
T10. Billie Jean King (tennis)
T10. Martina Navratilova

...and I was a bit surprised that Serena topped the list...given her meshuggah meltdown on that poor lineswoman at the US Open...but reflecting on the results, it does illustrate the gap the LPGA stars have in visibility versus other women athletes, particularly tennis stars...but I must admit to being shocked a gymnast and volleyball player made the list over popular LPGAers...

...Annika was in the top 10 of 2009's poll but dropped out this year...now of course, her retirement would be responsible for that...but looking at the polling...there were several tennis players who have been long retired from main draw play and only are playing exhibitions, legends events or not at all...Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova and Anna Kournikova....Anna Kournikova made the list and no current American LPGA star??!! And I don't know when the last time I saw Mia Hamm on the pitch...

Egads! I mean, I love tennis more than golf...although I do love golf too, obviously...but there is no way I would vote for Anna Kournikova or any other retired player over a current LPGA star...even my favorite Monica Seles I would not vote for...I would assume they mean current players not retired players...unless they asked all time...

...which brings me to another question...is women's sports so marginalized in the States that people just voted for any name they could think of? Were there people who can't name a current LPGA star...even the Americans...or struggled with any current women sports stars and just pulled Billie Jean King out of their hat...was it generational...did older voters lean towards Billie and Martina...but Anna Kournikova...I like Anna...I think she received more criticism than was warranted for a Grand Slam Doubles champion...because she didn't win a singles event...but come on, I'm still perplexed by her place in the top ten...

...now, if I were taking the poll and was only allowed to vote for one favorite...I'd have to go with CURRENT tennis star Kim Clijsters...but if they allowed me to name top 3 or top 5, then I'd include LPGAers...I'd probably go Clijsters, Grace Park, Se Ri Pak, Jelena Jankovic (tennis), and Yu Na Kim (figure skating)

...and Tiger still on top for the men...tied with Kobe...curious...I like Tiger...my favorite PGA player...but the PGA doesn't rank as high with me as the LPGA...so among male CURRENT athletes I'd go...Roy Jones (boxing-although he SHOULD retire), Donovan McNabb (football), Novak Djokovic (tennis), Allen Iverson (basketball-on the verge of retirement) and Rafael Nadal (tennis)...
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Old 07-23-2010, 08:21 AM   #2
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Polls like this just measure name recognition.
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Old 07-23-2010, 08:33 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Blue View Post
Polls like this just measure name recognition.
Agreed..the question is...how does the LPGA progress to the point that some of the names we know and love pop into the minds of the casual sports fan...I understand LPGAers playing second fiddle to tennis stars...but a volleyball player like Misty May? Or a gymnast like Shawn Johnson...I wonder how much the Olympics play a part in popularity...Michelle Kwan was on the list in 2009...
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Old 07-23-2010, 09:15 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by bangkokbobby View Post
Agreed..the question is...how does the LPGA progress to the point that some of the names we know and love pop into the minds of the casual sports fan...I understand LPGAers playing second fiddle to tennis stars...but a volleyball player like Misty May? Or a gymnast like Shawn Johnson...I wonder how much the Olympics play a part in popularity...Michelle Kwan was on the list in 2009...
The article says that Annika Sorenstam was tied for number 6 last year., but that's only one golfer. I think in order for golfers to pop into the mind of average poll-takers, it all comes down to television. People know Serena and other tennis players because the US Open and Wimbledon are on live TV, even on live network TV where people can stumble on it easily. Women's golf is buried on obscure cable channels that non-golf fans never watch and then it's often not even broadcast live.
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Old 07-23-2010, 09:19 AM   #5
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One thing I should add. It sounded like I dismissed volleyball and gymnastics. I did not mean for it to sound that way. One of my all time favorite athletes is American gymnast Shannon Miller.

What I was thinking is that the LPGA is televised nationally 20- 30 times a year while an athlete like Shawn Johnson doesn't have 25 times a year to show up on national television. But she does have the Olympics. Big showcase.

Yes, the poll is a popularity contest but that's exactly the point. The LPGA become more marketable through the popularity of it's players as individuals. The NBA understood this very well and for better or worse became a league where individuals (like LeBron) push the needle as much or more than teams.

Those sponsors the LPGA wants to expand to don't come through a sports achievement meritocracy. If I'm a sponsor and I see the public responds to a tennis player whose been retired 25 years over any current LPGAer, where am I going to put my money?

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Old 07-23-2010, 09:22 AM   #6
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That's a good point, Blue. I'm saying that the LPGA is nationally televised 20-30 times a year but that's a half truth, isn't it? Yes it is nationally telecast but on an obscure channel as you say. Just because a lot of households have it on their cable lineup doesn't mean they're actually watching the LPGA.
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Old 07-23-2010, 11:13 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by bangkokbobby View Post
That's a good point, Blue. I'm saying that the LPGA is nationally televised 20-30 times a year but that's a half truth, isn't it? Yes it is nationally telecast but on an obscure channel as you say. Just because a lot of households have it on their cable lineup doesn't mean they're actually watching the LPGA.
Most people don't randomly cruise by the Golf Channel where they might happen to catch the LPGA in the way they will randomly cruise by NBC and catch Breakfast at Wimbledon. Or, more likely, they'll turn the TV on on Sunday morning and it's left on the channel it was on when they turned it off on Saturday night and there's tennis and Serena. Then there's also the fact that tennis tournaments are co-ed so there is the entire cross-over fan attraction.
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Old 07-23-2010, 01:46 PM   #8
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I can't see how anyone can watch tennis in the first place. Every time they hit the ball it sounds like they have the dry heaves.
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Old 07-23-2010, 02:02 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by bangkokbobby View Post
What I was thinking is that the LPGA is televised nationally 20- 30 times a year while an athlete like Shawn Johnson doesn't have 25 times a year to show up on national television. But she does have the Olympics. Big showcase.
Shawn Johnson was in "Dancing With The Stars" reality TV show and she won!

Also, that depends on who the bunch of people the pollsters ask. If they asked people that thinks like me, they would have had a different results.

Like Notax says, "There is no way for this formula to be accurate enough to ever be taken serious."
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Old 07-23-2010, 04:52 PM   #10
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I've seen paid ads for the big tennis tournaments coming up on networks other than the ones that will show the tennis.....it alerts people to whats coming. The only thing I've seen for the LPGA are some promos on TGC and maybe on ESPN2......

Like the man said:" A funny thing happens when you don't advertise................NOTHING"....

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