SBD/March 29, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Will Tiger Woods' Actions Allow The Public To Forgive Him, Even If He Wins The Masters?

Woods used to appeal to advertisers because even non-golf fans admired him
Tiger Woods may have won his first PGA Tour event in more than two years on Sunday, but America will "never quite forgive" him for his extramarital affairs, according to Jon Friedman of MARKET WATCH. The country "won’t fall in love with him all over again" even if he wins The Masters next weekend, and Woods will "never again be Mr. Madison Avenue." Woods "presents himself as an aloof, unlikable scandal-plagued golfer." He "seldom smiles in public and doesn’t seem in any way empathetic," and he is "only hurting himself by seeming so unappealing." Woods, for all his "worldliness and polish, doesn't seem to have a clue about how to get the public ... on his side." Friedman asked, "Does Woods understand that his greatest public-relations sin was making America feel foolish for swooning over him in the first place? We believed wholeheartedly in the (false) image that he foisted upon all of us. He made us feel like suckers." Woods "appealed to advertisers because even non-golf fans admired him." He "exhibited uncommon skill and exuded unusual drama on the links." He "seemed to have it all, and the fans wanted to identify with him." But since Woods "fell in disgrace, sports fans have moved on." We have "become obsessed" by Knicks G Jeremy Lin and Jets QB Tim Tebow. We "admire them for their Cinderella stories and their wholesomeness." They are "now our sports idols," while Woods "can never again hope to match their popularity" (MARKETWATCH.com, 3/28).

TWO REBOUNDING BRANDS? CNBC's Maria Bartiromo reported EA Sports “was one of the few sponsors to stick with Tiger Woods during his sex scandal and subsequent slump on the golf course,” and two days after his first PGA Tour win since '09, EA "is out with the 13th edition of the 'Tiger Woods PGA Tour' videogame.” Bartiromo asked, “Perfect timing for two battered brands?” CNBC’s Darren Rovell said it was “good timing” for EA just days after Woods won the Arnold Palmer Invitational, but “sales of just one game, which was the fourth-best selling game in the country in April of last year, isn’t enough to move the needle for Electronic Arts." The company's stock is "down more than 18% over the last three months,” but Rovell said there is “optimism on the horizon for EA.” Regional brokerage and investment banking firm Stifel Nicolaus is “now rating the stock a buy with a price target of $21, based off ‘Star Wars’ sales and the success of digital games in general." Rovell: "EA said earlier this month that there were 1.7 million active subscribers to the online game. EA sent $200 million building the ‘Star Wars’ game. But unlike the 'Tiger' game, which consumers buy and then use for however long they want to, players of ‘Star Wars’ pay $15 a month to continue playing” (“Closing Bell With Maria Bartiromo,” CNBC, 3/27).
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