Athletes from across the world have been ranked according to their marketing potential over a three-year period from this summer.
- Value for money
- Home market
- Willingness to be marketed
- Crossover appeal
Katie Walsh - Irish, 28, Horse Racing (New)
Katie Walsh is not the most successful jockey, nor is she the most popular. In fact her chosen discipline, jump racing, is not nearly as widely practised around the world as its flat cousin. But, more than any of her peers, the Irishwoman has the potential to be at the centre of a global, historic story.
The Grand National is the most anticipated annual horse race in the UK. It is arguably the hardest to win and is certainly the one that non-racing fans tune in to watch. What was once simply a great British event, part of the fabric of domestic tradition, is now broadcast around the world to a potential audience of 600 million in 140 countries. First run in 1839, not one of its winners in the following 173 years has been female.
Walsh, sister of renowned jockey Ruby and daughter of trainer Ted, made history in 2012 when she became the highest female finisher in third, confirming her candidacy to make even more. This year she started the race as favourite, only for her horse, Seabass, to run out of steam. Never has there been a woman more likely to win the National, and at 28, Walsh has much of her career ahead. JE