SBD/November 18, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Fans Customizing QB Tim Tebow's No. 15 Jersey With "Jesus" On Back

Some Christians view jersey as a transgression of the first commandment
Some Broncos fans are customizing their No. 15 jerseys of QB Tim Tebow by putting the "name 'JESUS' on the back," according to Mike Klis of the DENVER POST. The jerseys have "created a little more controversy than 'Tebowing' because it has been viewed by some Christians as a clear transgression of the first commandment that prohibits idolatry." But others said that fans are "honoring their faith in the Son of God by using the jersey of Tebow, an unabashed believer, as sort of a billboard." Klis noted the "Jesus" jersey has "grown from one by one to nationwide fad." GameDay Merchandising COO Marty Garafalo, whose company operates three Broncos stores, said, "I haven't seen any of these jerseys in our stores. But I guarantee you we will have people go in the store tomorrow and ask for them" (DENVER POST, 11/17). In Ft. Lauderdale, Craig Davis notes the jerseys have "become a big seller on NFLshop.com since Tebow engineered the Miracle in Miami last month in leading the Broncos to a comeback from a 15-point deficit against the Dolphins." But some Christians are "taking exception to the devoutly pious quarterback being linked to The Savior" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 11/18). YAHOO SPORTS' Matthew Darnell noted the NFL "prevents customers from putting a lot of things on the back of their customized jerseys ... but 'Jesus' isn't one of them." "JESUS CHRIST" and "JESUSCHRIST" "are on the prohibited list, but at least for now, 'Jesus' is in the clear" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 11/17).

FAITH NOT HURTING BUSINESS: Fox Business' Chris Cotter reports many analysts do not believe Tebow’s overtly religious beliefs affect his marketability, because “there's always a segment of the population that will like a certain athlete and will follow him." Robby Tebow, Tim's brother, "manages a marketing company that handles all his endorsement requests," and Robby gets 300-500 "solicitations per month from companies and speaking engagements and everything." Cotter: "They want a piece of Tebow, and his brother filters all of it and he says we probably turn down 98 out of 100 in terms of the requests.” Tebow currently endorse Nike, Gatorade and Jockey, among others, and a potential endorser has “to support his beliefs and you also have to donate to his foundation if you want to have him as endorser” (“Varney & Company,” Fox Business, 11/18).

IN SELECT COMPANY: In Milwaukee, Bob Wolfley noted a Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey asked American voters “about some historical figures, and about themselves, to see if any of them surpassed” Packers QB Aaron Rodgers' popularity in Wisconsin. The poll found that “only Abraham Lincoln, with a 93% favorable vote, and Jesus Christ with 90%, surpassed Rodgers' 89% favorable.” At the top of the list “were the respondents themselves.” A total of 93% of those polled “viewed themselves favorably.” But Rodgers' popularity “sailed over the heads of people like George Washington and Mother Teresa” (JSONLINE.com, 11/17).
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