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Successful Sexy Popular: Athletic Performance and Physical Attractiveness as Determinants of Public Interest in Male and Female Soccer Players

This study examines to what extent the public attention directed at individual male and female players of various national soccer teams is influenced by (a) their athletic performance and (b) their physical attractiveness. The results prove that public interest in athletes depends significantly on performance and attractiveness. However, those athletes who both perform strongly and are attractive by far draw the greatest public attention. Against expectations, gender differences do not figure in this: the attractiveness of male soccer players is equally as important for popularity as it is of female soccer players.