Fox Sports published this article explaining why TV ratings for the 2017 Australian Open Final between Federer and Nadal were comparable to an AFL or NRL Grand Final, with supporting data from Gemba’s unique research.
First published on the Fox Sports website on February 3, 2017
ROGER Federer is the most recognised and popular sporting figure in Australia — well ahead of any Australian sportsman — according to market research.
Federer ranks No. 1 in a combination of “public awareness’’ — the percentage of people who recognise him — and “likability,” according to research conducted by the Gemba Group, which does an annual study of more than 250 athletes.
Remarkably, the 2016 study found that Federer’s nearest competitor was the man he defeated in the 2017 Australian Open, his great rival Rafael Nadal, with another tennis superstar Novak Djokovic ranked third and retired Australian great Lleyton Hewitt fourth.
Football star Tim Cahill was next at No. 5, world champion surfer Mick Fanning was No. 6, and American surfing champion Kelly Slater ranked seventh, with former formula one driver Mark Webber rated eighth in what the study called “Asset Power” — a measure of an athlete or celebrity’s recognition level and “likability.’”
Rugby league hero Johnathan Thurston and Australian Test cricket captain Steve Smith rounded out the top 10 in the 2016 Gemba Asset Study, which is completed every April.
Tennis Australia is well aware of Federer’s standing with the Australian public, having been provided with the Gemba research in recent years, when Federer has often been ranked no 1. The ratings for the men’s final between Federer and Nadal were comparable to an AFL or NRL grand final.
Given Federer’s stirring, storied victory over Nadal last weekend, he appears certain to remain No. 1 in 2017 and probably enhance his standing. Gemba said the only figure with a higher Asset Power score than Federer was actor Hugh Jackman.
Gemba, which has advised a range of sporting organisations and provides research, strategy and communications, said that it was Federer’s “likability” that largely earned him the top ranking among the Australian public.
Federer’s ‘’Asset Power’’ score was comprised of an 86 percent ”awareness” — meaning 86 percent of the public knew who he was — and a ”likability” of 43 percent among those aware of him. As Gemba explained, 43 percent had said either ”he is my favourite” or “I really like him.”
The research also found that the Australian public had classified Federer mainly as what Gemba termed a “Caregiver.”
”The key attributes of the ‘Caregiver’ are down to earth, trustworthy, accessible, caring, genuine and gentle,” Gemba said.
The research classified athletes according to 12 specific “archetypes” — essentially a range of personality types. ”An athlete may reflect multiple archetypes, however, there will be one that is dominant.”
No AFL footballer was ranked inside the top 10 as a national sporting asset last year. AFL footballers, obviously, are more recognised in AFL heartland states such as Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia and also have the disadvantage of being affiliated with a particular club, rather than merely representing Australia.