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Tiger Woods is most marketable athlete in sport

Tiger Woods is the most marketable athlete for North American audiences and will be for the next five years, according to a poll released here Monday.

Woods, who arrives at Augusta National Golf Club in two weeks shooting for his 13th major title and fifth Masters crown, was a runaway winner in a poll of 65 sport business and media executives revealed on the Sports Business Daily's web site.

In ranking active athletes, 69.2 percent of replies named Woods the top man with 55 percent predicting he will continue to hold that role in 2012.

Woods' friend and fellow US sport icon, basketball legend Michael Jordan, was named the top retired athlete marketing draw by 73.8 percent of responses.

Behind Woods in the active athlete pitchman category were Peyton Manning, the quarterback of Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts, in second place at 18.5 percent with basketball star LeBron James third at 4.6 percent.

New York Yankees baseball star Derek Jeter was fourth followed by Dwyane Wade of the NBA champion Miami Heat, stock car racer Dale Earnhardt Jnr, American football quarterback Tom Brady and Wade's teammate Shaquille O'Neal.

Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova was ninth and the only woman on the list with hockey's Sidney Corsby, basketball's Kobe Bryant and gridiron hero Brett Favre sharing 10th.

James and Wade were seen as the nearest challengers to Woods' marketing reign in five years, but three or four times as many expect Woods to remain on top.

Following Jordan on the list of retired pitchman heroes were baseball's Cal Ripken Jnr, basketball's Charles Barkley, golfer Jack Nicklaus, seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong and boxing icon Muhammad Ali.


March 20, 2007

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