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Which Chicago athlete is the most marketable?

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q_rating.jpgIn recent days, we've been reminded just what a fabulous sports city Chicago is. On successive Saturdays four of the five major sports teams were in action -- while the Bears prepped for the NFL draft.

Having a plethora of Chicago athletes on display, we got to wondering which of them is the most marketable.

Before even diving into the debate, we had to define exactly what "marketable" meant. Luckily, it was reasons like this that Wikipedia was created.

The Q Score is a way to measure the familiarity and appeal of a brand, company, celebrity, cartoon character or television show. The higher the Q Score, the more well-known and well thought of the item or person being scored is. The Q Score is primarily used by the marketing, advertising and public relations industries.
After much arguing and some hurt feelings, we came to somewhat of a consensus.

The two most marketable figures in Chicago sports have a combined one season of play in Chicago.
NBA Rookie of the Year winner and local product Derrick Rose shot, passed and rebounded his way into the national spotlight with his impressive series against the Boston Celtics. His youth, talent and ability to lead make him an attractive choice. But, there's more that goes into this than playing prowess.

Rose lacks the gregarious personality and level of charm that the most popular NBA players like LeBron James and Dwight Howard bring to the table. He's relatively soft-spoken and doesn't often provide the attention-grabbing quotes the public remembers. All of this is refreshing in its own way, but he's definitely not the tongue-wagging, trash-talking behavior of Michael Jordan -- one of the most successful examples of personal branding ever.

But, he's 20 years old. Plenty of time to develop into that larger-than-life star and personality.

Our other top contender came to Chicago from Denver in a blockbuster trade that has buoyed the hopes of Bears fans everywhere. And, although Jay Cutler is yet to take a snap, he's the new face of hope for a franchise and city that has been pining for a star quarterback for so many years. Cutler has big-league talent and plays with a sense of controlled abandon that made a certain indecisive quarterback from Mississippi so beloved.

cutler_hester_q_rating.JPGHis little tinge of bad boy don't hurt his appeal either. At 26, he's still young enough to establish himself in a town desperate for a pass-throwing hero. Or, he could fail. It's happened before.

Some would say Cutler isn't even the most appealing member of his own team. Brian Urlacher has probably held this title for quite some time, but in recent years his stock has fallen. Devin Hester, who not too long ago was the most electric athlete around, came back to reality almost as quickly as he left it for the realm of ridiculous. Matt Forte is a budding star, but it's very hard to upstage a signal caller as the face of a product.

So what about all the other candidates?

  • carlos_zambrano_q_rating.JPGThe Cubs' most visible face is likely Carlos Zambrano. He's a dominant pitcher, a lightning rod of attention and worth the price of admission. But, as a pitcher, he only gets to enjoy the spotlight every fifth day. Outside of Big Z, the Cubs don't have the shining star who has national appeal -- despite their successes on the field.
  • Carlos Quentin may be the White Sox' answer. His breakout season last year put him on the map, but he'll have to continue his torrid play. A.J. Pierzynksi is too polarizing to be accepted on the broad scale and Jim Thome is an understated veteran whose never been interested in the PR game.
  • The young combination of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews have become increasingly visible with recently resurgent Blackhawks, but seem to work better as a team. Hockey is fighting an uphill battle because it doesn't share the same widespread exposure the other sports do.
Again, all of this is very unscientific. Perhaps we've overlooked someone or overstated someone's appeal.

That's why we're lucky to have you. Tell us who you think Chicago's most marketable athlete is -- and who it will be five years from now.

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Rose talent wise but I agree he just doesn't have the personality. It can't be a baseball player because the town is too divided. Hockey is just not popular enough. This is a Bears town. If Cutler plays with the hype that has followed him. It's definitely Cutler

That's correct -- Rose is riding high as of right now and the Bulls' very unexpected showing this year. But he's too low key for year-round status. The same can be said for Kane and Toews of the Blackhawks.
If Cutler comes in and produces early (as expected) and he shoots his mouth off somehow (as journalists expect), he should be at the top of the heap.


This is a no brainer...Rose in another year, but Cutler right now!

Though no longer active as an athlete, I'd have to go with Ozzie Guillen. He gets the most national press...just heard Dan Patrick talking about him last night. He is the biggest show in town.

Cutler without a doubt.

I think if someone took advantage of Rose's stoic manner it could make a hit commercial though. The dude's face never changes.

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This page contains a single entry by Kyle Koster published on May 6, 2009 10:12 PM.

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