While Conor McGregor shapes up for a potential 2.5 million pay per views box office hit at UFC 229 fight card next Saturday, Irish boxer Katie Taylor has retained her status as Ireland’s Most Admired Sports Personality, according to leading sponsorship advisors ONSIDE.
Taylor, who will see her own box-office movie 'Katie' hit Irish cinemas on October 26, retained and extended her No.1 position in the latest ONSIDE STAR TRACK 2018, as last year’s No.2 McGregor dropped to 3rd position, behind Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane.
According to John Trainor, Founder and CEO of ONSIDE: “Digging behind individual performances, Taylors dominance in appeal among the Irish female public is undisputed, while McGregor’s strong point remains among 18-24 year olds in Ireland, where he is the clear No.1 superstar.” Roy Keane has emerged as the sports star that Irish males admire most, fuelled in part by a strong support from the public in Munster.
Meanwhile, as rugby warms up for a mammoth 12 months ahead, including a testing battle with the All Blacks in the Guinness Series in November and a defence of the Six Nations Title in Q1 2019 as a run into the RWC2019 in Japan this time next year, Johnny Sexton was singled out by the latest ONSIDE research as the rugby star with the most momentum behind him at present. Trainor notes: “While legend’s Brian O’Driscoll, Paul O’Connell and Ronan O’Gara all still score in the ONSIDE Top 10 Most Admired Sports stars of 2018, Johnny Sexton has shot up the leaderboard to join the past players in our latest Top 10. Sexton is poised to cement his positon alongside his fellow rugby legends and other stars like Sonia O’Sullivan and Padraig Harrington as Ireland’s most admired sports heroes for years to come”.
GAA personalities that scored highest in the ONSIDE STAR TRACK 2018 included a mix of players and management, with Stephen Cluxton the Top Most admired current Gaelic Football star and Joe Canning the Top Most Admired current Hurling star in 2018. Also singled out by the public for admiration were Dublin Manager Jim Gavin and Kilkenny Manager Brian Cody.
Trainor notes: “2 in 3 of the Irish public could name a sports person they admired most this year, with an increase in the number and variety of different sports-related stars winning the Irish public’s hearts and minds rising to 58 – with 2 in 3 of these being GAA, soccer or Rugby stars.”
Outside of sport, The ONSIDE STAR TRACK 2018 also found that Ryan Tubridy & Gay Byrne now share the Top status as the most admired television or radio personality in Ireland, with Miriam O’Callaghan replacing Pat Kenny to make up this year’s Top 3. According to Trainor: “While Gay Byrne continues to win huge loyal admiration in Dublin and among males, Ryan Tubridys’ fan base is most noteworthy among the public in Connacht, among Irish females and among 18-24 year olds”.
While Conor McGregor continues to open the flood gates of earning potential through new moves such as his own Proper Twelve Irish Whiskey sponsoring every UFC event in which he fights, Trainor believes “there is plenty of room for stars like Katie Taylor, Johnny Sexton and some of Ireland’s Top Sports Managers across Rugby, soccer and GAA to front the right ambassadorial programmes with major brands in 2019”. Trainor anticipates more ground breaking approaches to include ambassadorial cross-overs in sports like golf and between sport and music platforms that provide the next generation formula for personality based business and brand building initiatives.”