New research displayed in Gemba Group’s Asset Power list has found that Australian tennis player Ash Barty tops the list in terms of star power.
The Asset Power list ranks athletes on their marketability, based on a combination of both ‘likeability’ and awareness among the Australian population.
Barty sits behind only one person on the table, fellow tennis great Roger Federer.
Gemba found that female athletes are, on average, both more likable and more appealing than their male counterparts, but they are far less well-known. In the context of the rankings, this drags down their Asset Power scores.
According to Gemba, the data shows that “it is not that people are not interested in women’s sport or don’t like female athletes, it’s the lack of exposure and awareness.” Generally, individual stars like Barty, or Serena Williams (second on the women’s Asset Power list), also perform much better than national teams.
Exposure for female athletes from marketers and brands is, therefore, essential.
In early February this year, Barty signed a sponsorship extension with sportswear brand Fila, who she has worked with since 2016. Part of her extended contract included the release of a ‘Barty Bundle’, containing a women’s training shirt and branded face mask. Barty is also sponsored by a number of other brands, including Jaguar, Gillete Venus, Banana Boats, and Vegemite, which briefly changed its name to ‘Bartymite’ in 2019.
Last week, former Australian tennis star Judy Dalton said she believed Barty didn’t get the recognition she deserved because she was a woman, adding “if we had one of the men who was No.1, just imagine.”
Barty appeared with fellow Australian player Nick Kyrgios in a campaign for Uber Eats, which also starred Sacha Baron Cohen. Kyrgios was knocked out of the Australian Open last Friday, while Barty plays her quarter-final game on Wednesday morning.
Andrew Condon, managing director of Gemba, told the Sydney Morning Herald that, “Ash Barty and Nick Kyrgios should have been paid at least the same, if not Ash Barty paid more for that commercial.”
“[She] is the No.1 tennis player in the world…and she should be, in that context, getting more.”
The Gemba Group’s rankings show that while women’s average likeability score was thirty two compared to the men’s thirty, their awareness score was thirty four. This is six points lower than male athletes, whose average was fourty.
In their analysis, Gemba called for the industry to bring women’s sports personality to the forefront of marketing exposure.
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