When golfing superstar Tiger Woods won the Masters tournament in
Augusta, GA earlier this month, he accomplished a feat unparalleled in
the history of the sport. His win made him the first player to hold
trophies for all four major professional golf titles at the same time.
Woods' Masters victory sparked massive coverage in the US media as
pundits and sports analysts pondered his place in history.
The Chicago Tribune (April 12) wrote that the victory 'sealed (Woods')
status as a legend, one of only a handful of athletes who have
transcended sports to become legitimate cultural heroes.'
But Woods was not the only winner. His accomplishments have also
prompted increased coverage of the companies whose products he endorses.
In particular, international TV coverage of Woods' performance at the
Masters was said to be worth about dollars 3.2 million in media exposure
for Nike. Reuters (April 9) ran a story with the headline, 'Golfer Tiger
Woods is new darling of Madison Avenue' in which it stated that 'the
earning potential for the 25-year-old golfer ... just went up after he
captured the Masters tournament.'
On April 11, CNNfn's Moneyline program described Woods as 'the most
desired endorser in the world' while the network's The Biz program
(April 11) also discussed Woods' appeal. An ad agency executive
explained the rationale behind companies' desire to have a celebrity
such as Woods endorse their products: 'Tiger has reached icon status. He
also has an incredible image.
And so for a company to associate with someone like him is really an
incredible thing, and he has an incredible following with the
Many articles noted Woods' tremendous popularity. An industry expert on
celebrity endorsements asked the rhetorical question, 'Who is hotter,
trendier or more dominant than Tiger Woods?' (Los Angeles Times, April
Shortly after Woods' Masters victory, reports began to circulate that
Walt Disney had signed an endorsement deal with him. Although there was
no official confirmation, the move was described as a master stroke for
both parties. 'You look at the incredible marketing might of Disney and
the visibility and popularity of Tiger Woods - both nationally and
internationally - and it's a marriage made in sports marketing heaven,'
said one sports marketing consultant (Los Angeles Times, April 12).
Reports also noticed that last year Woods surpassed retired basketball
star Michael Jordan for the most money earned in endorsements in a year:
dollars 54 million for Woods last year, surpassing Jordan's best year by
nearly dollars 10 million. Many of these reports noted that Woods is on
track to be the first billion-dollar athlete from ads and sponsorships.
Newsday (April 12) described the list of companies Woods endorses as
'the bluest of blue chips.' These companies, American Express, Nike,
Buick, Rolex, General Mills and now Walt Disney, prize Woods for 'his
ability to straddle demographic boundaries' (The Wall Street Journal,
From the perspective of the companies whose products Woods endorses, the
best news may be that the media is projecting that Woods' success,
popularity, and appeal will continue for many years to come.
Evaluation and analysis by CARMA International. Media Watch can be found