SBD/Issue 151/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Tim Tebow Center Of Attention Heading Into This Year's NFL Draft

Tebow's Off-Field Qualities 
Attracting Marketers

Former Univ. of Florida QB Tim Tebow heading into the NFL Draft "has attracted plenty of attention," but it remains to be seen if he can "continue to cash in on his popularity as a celebrity endorser and pitchman," according to Sarah Talalay of the South Florida SUN-SENTINEL. There are "mixed expectations he will succeed at the next level," and sports marketing experts "struggle to recall any previous college athlete with such star power, but low draft expectations." Millsport Account Dir Darin David said Tebow is "certainly unprecedented in that he's not one of the top five picks." David said that it is Tebow's "'aura' -- a combination of leadership on the field and winning personality and loving family off the field -- that makes him attractive to marketers." David: "You have a good feeling he's a guy who's going to stay out of trouble and be looking to make a positive impact on people and the world." Talalay noted Tebow's "star power convinced EA Sports to place him on the cover of all three of its NCAA Football 11 platforms, rather than reserving each for a different player and to announce the selection earlier than the draft." But Tebow's draft and NFL success "isn't the company's concern right now." Meanwhile, Tebow is "not a Gatorade athlete," but he "participated in the company's performance lab at the Super Bowl media center in Fort Lauderdale in February." Nike this month announced it signed Tebow to a deal, reportedly worth "less than $300,000, which could rise if Tebow performs" (SUN-SENTINEL.com, 4/19).

MAIN ATTRACTION: The AP's Antonio Gonzalez reported Tebow is "easily the most marketable player in his draft class," as companies are "lining up for Tebow to be their pitchman." Religious and advocacy groups want Tebow "for commercials and speeches," while some NFL owners "believe he would increase ticket sales." The Davie-Brown Index "found Tebow to be more appealing and more of a trendsetter than" Patriots QB Tom Brady, Vikings QB Brett Favre and Cowboys QB Tony Romo. EA Sports VP/Marketing Tom Goedde said, "Tim was an obvious choice this year, and the selection process is not usually an obvious choice. Frankly, that's why we switched to a one-athlete cover across all the game systems. There was nobody else who could do what he could do for us." Gonzalez noted although Tebow now has "ventured into the marketplace," he said that he "won't shy away from his beliefs" (AP, 4/19). 

NEW YORK STATE OF MIND: PRO FOOTBALL TALK's Mike Florio noted Tebow "still has yet to decide whether he'll attend" Thursday's NFL Draft in N.Y. Tebow will be in N.Y. "for media events hosted Tuesday by two of his primary sponsors, Nike and EA Sports." The NFL reportedly has "provided him with no hard deadline for finalizing his plans." He has been told that he can "show up as late as an hour before the draft, if he chooses to go" (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 4/19).

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