SBD/9/Sponsorships Advertising Marketing


          THE SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY's first survey on the most
     marketable golfers under the age of 30 showed three golfers
     well ahead of the pack, with Justin Leonard and Phil
     Mickelson tying for first place and Ernie Els finishing a
     close third.  David Duval and Casey Martin rounded out the
     top five.  THE DAILY's survey excluded Tiger Woods, and
     instead focused on who is in the best position to capitalize
     on the increased interest of sponsors, marketers and
     consumers in the game, much of which can be attributed to
     Woods' arrival on the PGA Tour scene in '96. 
          YOUNG GUNS: THE DAILY surveyed more than 25 sports
     industry leaders, including marketing and ad agency execs
     and members of the media, to determine the commercial
     viability of today's young golfers.  All were asked:
     "Besides Tiger Woods, who do you consider to be the five
     most marketable golfers under the age of 30?"  The top five:
1) Justin Leonard
1) Phil Mickelson
3) Ernie Els
4) David Duval
5) Casey Martin
^ = excludes Tiger Woods

PHOTO FINISH: Respondents ranked their top five golfers in order of marketability, and points were awarded on a sliding scale. Both Mickelson and Leonard were named on all but one ballot. In addition to those above, others receiving first place votes were Stuart Appleby and Annika Sorenstam. PHIL-ER UP, JUST-IN TIME: Both Leonard and Mickelson offer a combination of skills and telegenic appeal, making them attractive as potential endorsers. Clarion Performance Properties Managing Dir Mike Reismann said Mickelson is "already an integral part of IBM's marketing strategy and will always be a terrific business-to-business marketing commodity." ISI Dir of Golf Management Andrew Witlieb feels that Mickelson "has the talent and the looks" that companies seek. But iGOLF Editorial Exec Editor Mike O'Bryon said that Mickelson must "play better to keep up his marketing value." As for Leonard, Clarion's Reismann pointed out that he "has yet to break through the commercial marketplace, however his All-American, clean-cut image will make him a lucrative endorser." The Marketing Arm Managing Dir Merrill Squires said Leonard's "clean-cut" image and his reputation as a "consistent winner" work in his favor. Additionally, Squires said Leonard "wants to work with companies," and his "interest in technology and [the] Internet" might make him a good fit for telecom companies. ERN-ING POWER: AP golf writer Ron Sirak feels Els "will challenge Woods as the best golfer in the world, and his easygoing style makes him appealing." Senior Golfer Exec Editor Chris Millard cited Els' marketing partnership with adidas, saying "the fact that they have tied their star to him says a lot about his international marketability." Clarion's Reismann added that as golf continues to grow internationally, Els "is the most likely to follow in the footsteps of global brands such as Woods and [Greg] Norman." GEN $$: David Duval, who sports sunglasses and a goatee on the course, could utilize his distinct look to differentiate himself from his colleagues. Both the AP's Sirak and ISI's Witlieb cited his "Gen X" appeal, and TMA's Squires said that he may be a "good point of difference," in that he does "not [have] the clean cut image of the others." THE CASE FOR CASEY: Some sense that Casey Martin could continue to cash in on the widespread exposure he received as a result of his suit against the PGA Tour. ESPN's Jimmy Roberts put Martin atop his list, calling him the "obvious choice." Hartford Courant golf writer Bruce Berlet said Martin's "uniqueness" will continue to make him marketable, and Woolf Golf Dir of Golf Marketing Jay Monahan said Martin "is in a position to become a marketing juggernaut." However, Advantage Int'l Senior VP/Athlete Marketing Tom George, who listed Martin among his top five, noted that his commercial viability may be fleeting and said he "would not make this list six months from now." Similarly, GolfWeek Senior Editor James Achenbach put Martin as the second-most marketable golfer, but added "sadly, he has no longevity." OTHERS TO WATCH: Although women golfers were not explicitly included in our survey, a few respondents included Sorenstam and Karrie Webb in their top five. Cohn & Wolfe Senior VP/Director, Sports & Events Jay Rosenstein put Sorenstam and Webb in his top two slots, respectively, and added that their rivalry "has the potential to lift both of them to higher visibility levels than each could achieve on their own." Other than Els, the most popular choice among foreign golfers was England's Lee Westwood. Westwood, who won last weekend's Freeport-McDermott Classic, appeared on 44% of the ballots. Australia's Stuart Appleby appeared on 15% of the ballots, and was the top choice of Lanktree Sports Celebrity President Nova Lanktree, who noted that "his name has come up often" in talks with companies seeking to use golfers in their TV and print campaigns. A STAR ON THE RISE? Univ. of TX senior Brad Elder, a member of the '97 Walker Cup team, was a surprise choice by 11% of respondents, with TMA's Squires saying he "could be brilliant" as an endorser. ESPN's Roberts noted that Elder is "tall, good-looking and easygoing," and added, "He's good ... and he's going to get a lot better" (THE DAILY). MORE FROM AUGUSTA: See (#23) for more on The Masters.
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