For the third consecutive year, Ricky Ponting has taken the mantle as Australia’s most marketable sportsperson, ahead of recently retired swimmer and newsreader Grant Hackett and semi-retired cricketer Adam Gilchrist.

According to the summer edition of the Sweeney Sports Report 2008-09, Australian cricketers continue to be regarded among Australia’s most marketable sportspeople, holding four of the top 10 ranking with retired players Glen McGrath being fourth and Steve Waugh eighth.

Triple Olympic gold medal winning swimmer Stephanie Rice has debuted in
7th place and is now the highest ranked female sportsperson, with Cathy
Freeman, a long term holder of that title, currently is one place
behind in 8th.

Fellow Olympic swimmers, Leisel Jones and Libby
Tricket climbed the list to 12th and 13th positions respectively, up
from equal 20th position last year.

The report is its 23rd summer edition produced by Sweeney Sports, the sports and
sponsorship arm of market research company Sweeney Research.

Despite Australians general high regard for cricketers and Olympians, Andrew Symonds has tumbled down the list to 36th after reaching a high of 10th position last year, a fall from favour that report says continues a consistent attitude among Australians that sports stars involved in controversial behaviour are not regarded as highly marketable.

Cricketer Shane Warne, AFL footballer Wayne Carey, and tennis stars Jelena Dokic and Mark Philippousis have in the past suffered a similar slide in popularity.

Sonny Bill Williams has also suffered after his controversial departure from Rugby League to play Rugby Union in France, then to Australian boxing, and now languishes in 78th position in the report, a fall of 34 positions.