As part of its StarPowerUSA 2006 report, Genius Insight, a New York marketing and research firm, has ranked favorite active females athletes by fan base size (the percentage of all respondents who say they “like the star a lot”).

“We feel that this is an ideal measure of endorsement potential for these athletes,” stated Paul Jenkins, co-founder and principal of the firm.

The sample was 2,440 respondents in the U.S., ages 13-49. And though the athletes represent a variety of women’s sports, tennis reigns supreme in the top 10.

“Both men and women will sit down to watch a women’s tennis match. That’s not always the case in figure skating,” said Marcus Young, Genius Insight’s director of marketing. Visibility and awareness also influence these athletes’ likability scores. Many in the top 10 make celebrity appearances and have lucrative endorsement deals — and a few have been known to show up on the occasional red carpet.

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