SBD/July 3, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

Tim Howard In Line To Cash In On Stellar Performance In FIFA World Cup

Howard was mentioned in one of every five Tweets about the U.S.-Belgium match
U.S. G Tim Howard "was an American hero on Tuesday" during the Belgium-U.S. Round of 16 game, which sets him up to "capitalize mightily on his World Cup soccer performance," according to Aaron Smith of CNN MONEY. Marketing Evaluations Exec VP Henry Schafer, whose company creates the Q Score, said, "Given the desire for a squeaky clean, attractive, personable spokesperson, the endorsement potential is probably unlimited. ... The fact that he had 16 saves, it's given him top awareness, it's adding to his popularity right now." But he wondered if Howard will "take advantage of this newfound awareness in the U.S." Schafer: "He's got to strike while the iron is hot" (MONEY.CNN.com, 7/2). USA TODAY's Bruce Horovitz in a business section front-page piece reports after Tuesday's game, Howard's management team "now is moving fast to up his game with potential sponsors." Wasserman Media Group Exec VP/Global Soccer Richard Motzkin, who reps Howard, said that he has "received inquiries from many 'stable' American marketers." However, Horovitz notes Howard "faces the same challenge faced by many Olympic athletes whose moments to shine in the U.S. also come in four-year cycles." Univ. of Oregon Warsaw Sports Marketing Center Dir Paul Swangard said, "He's the water cooler talk of the week. Once the NFL football season begins, his upside window will be closed." USC Sports Business Institute Exec Dir David Carter said Howard's managers will "have to work hard to keep him in the conversation" (USA TODAY, 7/3).

NO TIME TO SPARE
: IEG Senior VP/Content Strategy Jim Andrews said Howard is going to "attract a lot of interest from a lot of different companies." He estimated that any national TV campaign Howard signs "could be a seven-figure deal," while single appearances "could net him 'easily six figures.'" AD AGE's Max Willens notes for most U.S. athletes, this "would normally be the perfect time of year to make a huge splash." With only one of the four major U.S. sports "in session, the window for Mr. Howard to pile up as many endorsements as possible is wide open." But WMG agent Dan Segal, who also reps Howard, said that because Howard plays for EPL club Everton, his window "is actually much tighter than that since he starts training again in a matter of weeks" (ADAGE.com, 7/3).

MAMA, THERE GOES THAT KEEPER
: In N.Y., Juliet Macur writes casual sports fans "most likely didn’t know Tim Howard from Ron Howard before Tuesday’s game." But as the "contest wore on, the entire World Wide Web was getting to know him, the newest great American." On an image of Mount Rushmore, someone "replaced Thomas Jefferson’s face with a photo of Howard." Someone else "inserted his picture on the Wikipedia page for the United States secretary of defense" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/3). TIME's Brad Tuttle wrote Howard "is the social media world’s favorite son." The memes "range from marriage proposals, to #ThingsTimHowardCouldSave." Howard "was mentioned in one of every five Tweets about the U.S.-Belgium match." What "makes Howard particularly appealing ... is that he comes across as simply a hard-working, humble dude who takes a lunch-pail 'That’s my job' approach onto the field." All of the attention "showered on him has come about organically," as there is "nothing contrived or fake about it." The memes "weren’t the result of some marketing campaign, but due to random people being extra excited by Howard’s record-breaking performance in goal." All of which means that Howard "is in possession of the rarest of qualities -- authenticity -- in a world oversaturated with advertisements, marketing" and personal branding (TIME.com, 7/2).

BRAND AWARENESS
: Atlanta-based marketing firm CSE cited data from Topsy Analytics as showing that Howard was mentioned less than 10,000 times on Twitter before the Belgium-U.S. match. By the end of the match, Howard had been mentioned 50,000 times. Several brands took advantage of his performance in official tweets, including McDonald's, Jimmy Dean, Whataburger and Budweiser (CSE).
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