Richest Athletes not the Most Liked

18 10 2009

The wealthiest sports figures aren’t always the most liked, proves the most recent data from E-Poll Market Research.

Topping the 10 Most Liked Sports Figures of 2009 is gymnastics Olympian Shawn Johnson, who earned a 75% liking rating in the poll conducted by the Encino, California-based research firm.

Shawn Johnson named most liked sports figure (

Shawn Johnson named most liked sports figure (

Though Johnson has a number of endorsement deals with companies such as Cover Girl, McDonald’s and Adidas, her total income doesn’t compare to that of fellow sports stars.

In fact, most of the active athletes, coaches, and commentators on the most-liked list are not necessarily the most “popular” when it comes to winning endorsements and lucrative deals.

But this may be what makes them so likable.

“She didn’t overexpose herself after the Olympics,” said E-Poll Chief Executive Gerry Philpott in Tom Van Riper’s article, citing why Johnson was able to top the list.

Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and David Beckham – all of whom were on the Forbes World’s Highest Paid Athletes of 2009 List – were noticeably absent from the most-liked list.

And understandably so.  It gets a little difficult to like someone when their face is plastered on every magazine cover, every sports shoe, and every television commercial you come across.

The only athlete to make both lists was golf pro Tiger Woods who was the highest paid athlete of 2009, and recently became the first athlete to make $1 billion.  He was the eighth most liked sports figure.

“No doubt the exposure keeps his likability rating from reaching even higher,” said

The most-likable sports figure survey by E-Poll Market Research was conducted using a representative sample 1,100 people age 13 and over.  The candidates were limited to active athletes, coaches, or commentators who had at least a 10% likability rating.  The full list is below.

1.  Shawn Johnson – Gymnastics 1.  Tiger Woods –  $110 million
2.  Larry Fitzgerald – Football 2.  Kobe Bryant – $45 million
3.  Kurt Warner – Football 2.  Michael Jordan – $45 million
4.  Rafael Nadal – Tennis 2.  Kimi Raikkonen – $45 million
5.  Steve Young – Football/Media 5.  David Beckham – $42 million
6.  Robin Roberts – Basketball/Media 6.  LeBron James – $40 million
7.  Chris Paul – Basketball 6.  Phil Mickelson –  $40 million
8.  Tiger Woods – Golf 6.  Manny Pacquiao –  $40 million
9.  Ty Murray – Bull Riding 9.  Valentino Rossi – $35 million
10.  Tim Duncan – Basketball 10.  Dale Earnhardt Jr. – $33 mill. Most-Liked Highest Paid




3 responses

28 10 2009

Yes!! thank you for confirming my Cardinals are a bunch of likable guys =) There should be some sort of bonus for being such role models.

25 11 2012
Jackelyn Server

Tiger woods is one of the best golf players ever, he is my idol. ..

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24 02 2013
Shayne Saathoff

Eldrick Tont “Tiger” Woods (born December 30, 1975) is an American professional golfer whose achievements to date rank him among the most successful golfers of all time. Formerly the World No. 1, he was the highest-paid athlete in the world according to Forbes for several years.:

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