SBD/April 10, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Bubba Watson's Marketing Portfolio To Benefit From First Masters Win

Watson's current sponsorship deals are mostly small, generate roughly $2M annually
Bubba Watson on Sunday won his first Masters tournament and he now “has the potential to be a marketing superstar in a sport that highly rewards the top players,” according to Kurt Badenhausen of FORBES.com. Watson's N-Score, which measures a sports figure’s overall endorsement potential based on appeal and awareness, was low as of October “because his awareness scores are so low, but his appeal scores are off the charts with 68% of respondents saying they like Watson (or like him a lot),” according to data from Nielsen Media/E-Poll. Watson’s current deals include “Ping (clubs), Travis [Mathew] (clothes), Richard Mille (watch), Titleist (balls), Footjoy (shoes) Kentwool (socks), Marquis Jet, EA Sports and Schuco (clean energy).” These are “mostly small deals and generate roughly $2 million annually for Watson.” The golfer also added “Motorola Mobility to his endorsement stable this year.” Badenhausen wrote Watson “is a marketer’s dream,” and the “only thing holding him back right now is the frigid market for sponsorships across all sports” (FORBES.com, 4/9). Watson also was the fifth golfer to hit the 500K follower mark on Twitter, joining Tiger Woods, Ian Poulter, Stewart Cink and Rory McIlroy (THE DAILY). CBSSports.com's Tony Barnhart wrote on Twitter, "Bubba Watson earned $1.44 million today for his Masters win. His endorsements will now go through the roof. Think of this: Bubba Watson is 33 years old and has a seat the Masters Champions dinner for the rest of his life! Can't measure that in $$" (TWITTER.com, 4/8).

CLOTHES MAKE THE MAN: Pro-Sport Management agent Jens Beck, who reps Watson, said that her client wore “four white ensembles” last week at Augusta National to “raise money for Fresh Start, a California-based organization that offers cosmetic reconstructive surgery for children with physical defects.” In Augusta, Tracey McManus noted golf apparel line Travis Mathew is “selling 100 replicas of Watson’s shirt and belt on travismathew.com, and the proceeds will go to Fresh Start” (AUGUSTA CHRONICLE, 4/9).

BUBBA GOLF: ESPN.com’s Gene Wojciechowski wrote “no one is going to forget this guy, this final round or this tournament.” Watson is “a trending phenom,” and with one “audacious swing he went from borderline golf star to first-name-only status” (ESPN.com, 4/9). GOLF CHANNEL’s Rex Hoggard wrote, “Is the world ready for Bubba golf?” (GOLFCHANNEL.com, 4/8). In Boston, Ron Borges asked, “Will the game or Augusta National ever be the same?” (BOSTON HERALD, 4/9). FOXSPORTS.com’s Robert Lusetich wrote Watson is “a one-of-a-kind” (FOXSPORTS.com, 4/9). ESPN’s Michael Wilbon, on if Bubba Watson is golf’s next star, said, “Bubba was already a star-in-training. People know Bubba, he’s identifiable. He’s recognizable. There’s a personality. There’s a sound. … I do think he has the star appeal” ("PTI," ESPN, 4/9). In Augusta, Scott Michaux wrote Watson is “a remarkable story from start to finish” (AUGUSTA CHRONICLE, 4/9). In New Jersey, Tara Sullivan wrote he is “one of the tour’s most grounded players.” Sullivan: “In golf and in life, he has found balance” (Bergen RECORD, 4/9).

MAKING AN IMPRESSION: YAHOO SPORTS’ Jay Busbee wrote the “final lingering image of this Masters was a tearful Bubba Watson, embracing his mother as the last of the light faded from the day” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 4/8). In New Orleans, Peter Finney wrote Watson “leaves an impression you don’t forget” (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 4/8). FOX SPORTS' Gus Johnson wrote on Twitter, "What a triumph for Bubba!!!!! When he hugged his mom, I was in tears” (TWITTER.com, 4/9). USA TODAY’s Christine Brennan wrote for a “tournament that threatened to be overshadowed by the continuing controversy over Augusta National's discriminatory membership policies, it was fitting that the winner of the green jacket was a fellow who married a WNBA player and wore pink accents on his clothes” (USA TODAY, 4/9). In Charlotte, Tom Sorensen wrote he predicts Watson will become “popular not only in the United States but, because of international interest in the Masters, around the world.” Watson is “more than a name,” he is “a lifestyle” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 4/9). Also in Charlotte, Ron Green Jr. wrote he “fits no mold, at least no Masters champion mold, which is part of Watson’s enormous -- and growing -- appeal” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 4/9).

ON THE UPSWING: In N.Y., George Willis wrote Watson “thrives on doing the unconventional.” He is the new Masters champion and “golf is better for it” (N.Y. POST, 4/9). YAHOO SPORTS’ Dan Wetzel wrote Watson “came a long way, the hard way, his own way, to get here” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 4/8). The AUGUSTA CHRONICLE’s McManus noted fans attending the final round “reacted with pride and cheers for Watson after he won his first green jacket” (AUGUSTA CHRONICLE, 4/9). In San Diego, Tod Leonard wrote, “Rarely do you see competitors in men’s pro golf root each other on in public. But following the playoff in the massive gallery were Aaron Baddeley, Rickie Fowler and Ben Crane” (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 4/9). In N.Y., Karen Crouse wrote Watson is “an iconoclast in a sport of conformists” (N.Y. TIMES, 4/9). In L.A., Bill Dwyre wrote there is “a serious side of Watson as compelling as the fun, self-effacing side” (L.A. TIMES, 4/9).

MOVING DAY: Meanwhile, in N.Y., Paul Tharp reports Watson yesterday “slashed the price of his lakefront North Carolina home by $50,000, to $1.45 million, in hopes of closing quickly.” Realtor Tim Taylor said, “He’s looking to buy in Orlando now” (N.Y. POST, 4/10).
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