Survey of sports PR execs names top spokespeople

NEW YORK: Michael Jordan and Mia Hamm are the top choices as

athlete spokespeople for the sports PR and marketing executives surveyed

by Alan Taylor Communications (ATC).

The 110 survey respondents were asked which male and female athlete

would best represent a company launching a new product or service in

2002. Jordan, who returned to the NBA with the Washington Wizards this

season, received 17% of the spokesman vote, edging out golfer Tiger

Woods (16%) and New York Yankee Derek Jeter (13%). Hamm, the most

honored female soccer player ever, won 22% of the vote for spokeswoman,

topping tennis stars Anna Kournikova (17%) and Venus Williams (11%).

Alan Taylor, CEO of ATC, said he was surprised that Hamm led the list of

female athletes.

"It proves that women's soccer has reached the mainstream," said


"I thought tennis or maybe golf would have a winner on top. But I guess

everyone sees Anna Kournikova as the blonde bombshell, but people see

Mia as the corporate spokesperson."

Taylor also noted the lack of older athletes, such as Arnold Palmer and

Billie Jean King.

"The traditional old-timers like Chris Evert would rank number one every

year," said Taylor. "Now, today's athletes, the younger stars, are


However, Craig Tartasky, sports SVP and executive director at EJ Krause

& Associates, noted that familiar names, such as Jordan and Woods,

continue to top spokesperson wish lists.

"They are the most recognizable stars in the business," said


"In addition, all of these athletes presently work with other companies,

so they are experienced in the corporate environment."

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