Tiger Woods' image 'not damaged in the long term', say sports PR experts

Sports PR experts have said they believe Tiger Woods' reputation will not be damaged in the long term following scandalous revelations about his private life being made public.

Tiger Woods: brand damaged?
Tiger Woods: brand damaged?

Woods has dominated the global media this week after allegations that he had been having several extra-marital affairs came to light.

Woods first hit the headlines at the weekend after a mysterious car crash. He was initially criticised for not addressing the media immediately afterwards and PR experts predicted the media would fill the information vacuum.

Woods continues to make the national papers today with the Daily Mail and The Sun both featuring articles concerning the sportsman on their front pages.

The allegations have called into question several of Woods' brand tie-ups including his relationship with grooming brand Gillette and sports brand Nike.

However, despite the wave of negative media that has engulfed the golfing star this week, sports PR experts have been unanimous in their verdicts that Woods' image will not be damaged in the long-term.

Braben director of sport Rachel Froggatt said: ‘I believe that over the long term, this won't damage Woods very much. In fact, this situation shows a previously unseen human side to his character, which instantly makes him more relatable. I don't think he will lose any sponsors of note, as he is far too valuable, but you will see them reshape the way they communicate around him.'

The Sports PR Company director, Caroline McAteer, who previously advised David Beckham following his World Cup sending off in 1998, also said: ‘Brands involved with sport want their stars to be clean cut and scandal free but the impact on the brand and on the individual will depend on how the situation is handled. Tiger Woods' image as a "family man" may be damaged but he is still the number one golfer in the world, and fans will still travel all over the world to see him play. Brands associated with him on a sports level such as Nike will probably find that the tabloid stories make no difference to his appeal.'

Woods is the second high profile sports star who is sponsored by Gillette to hit the headlines in the past few weeks. French footballer Thierry Henry, who is also sponsored by the brand, experienced a backlash against his handball, which destroyed the Republic of Ireland's World Cup hopes last month.

Hatch PR founder Jason Madeley said that the majority of Gillette's target male audience would forgive and forget. ‘Beckham was the number one hate figure after his World Cup dismissal in 1998, and the brands that stuck by him have been rewarded with millions of pounds worth of exposure in the long run. Tiger Woods is one of a kind and it would be very difficult for a brand to find an alternative ambassador with not only the talent, but the global reach, crossing both international and cultural boundaries.'




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