Katie Taylor, Ryan Tubridy and Christy Moore topped their respective fields in sport and entertainment and made up the top three most admired Irish sports, broadcast and music stars overall in Ireland in 2021, a study by sponsorship consultancy Onside indicates. Taylor extended her standing as Ireland’s most admired sports star for the fifth year in a row.
The Bray boxer moved up four points to 25 per cent and will look to strengthen this lead as she returns to the ring on December 11 to defend her undisputed lightweight title, ahead of a box office fight with Amanda Serrano in New York next spring which could earn Taylor over $1 million. Media pundits Brian O’Driscoll and Roy Keane were second and third.
Tokyo gold medal star Kellie Harrington entered the top 10 to rank fourth.
Golfer Shane Lowry rounded out this year’s top five Irish sports stars in the eyes of the Irish public, up two places year on year. Onside’s John Trainor said the potential power of sports personalities in Irish society is evidenced by the fact that eight in 10 adults have a sports star they admire most, with three in four Irish females and 86 per cent of Irish men.
Trainor said that the right data helps make effective use of sports personality marketing a compelling business case, with businesses like Aldi and Bank of Ireland regarded as brands that have aligned themselves best with Irish sports personalities. Aldi’s alignment with Paul O’Connell for their cookbook and charity partner Barnardos resonated strongly.
Other businesses uncovered in their use of sports personalities included retailers Lidl, Mace and Centra, telcos Vodafone and Three, drinks brands Guinness and Lucozade Sport and Aviva. Outside of sport, the Onside Star Track found that Ryan Tubridy and Claire Byrne retained their status as the most admired male and female broadcasters this year.
Comedian Tommy Tiernan’s mystery guest format show on RTE made an impression on Irish audiences as the chat show host broke into the top five this year for the first time.