ANALYSIS: Media Watch - Sponsors can't get enough of Tiger'spowerful stroke

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

youth.'



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

12).



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,

April 11).



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

at www.carma.com.



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