On Episode 59, I’ve got Eric Smallwood of Apex Marketing Group in to chat about the marketing value of Tiger Woods winning the Masters. Eric was quoted far and wide about the marketing value of Tiger’s Masters win. I got in touch with him to get to the root of the numbers. We had a great discussion about it, and he shed some light on the way he calculates the value, plus we discussed his other focus—naming rights.

Cover image from 123RF, Standard License.

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Mark: Eric, thanks for joining me. I appreciate you being here on Confessions of a Marketer.
Eric: Thanks for having me. Looking forward to it.
Mark: Like scores of people, I was glued to my TV the other day watching the Masters. Early on, it seemed Tiger could win but maybe it wasn't likely. Then on Sunday, it became inevitable all of a sudden. You were quoted all over the place putting a value on that win for Nike. Can you tell me what the value is and how you determine that?
Eric: Yeah, so the value for what Tiger received for Nike during that final round on CBS was a little over $22 million-
Mark: Wow.
Eric: ... in exposure value. He also provided value to Monster Energy and Bridgestone, which is the golf ball he uses.
Mark: Yeah.
Eric: So those opportunities, Bridgestone was $134,000 and Monster Energy was a little over $900,000 in value. The way we track it is, is we watch where he appears on the screen, what part of his body is appearing on the screen, and where the logos appear. We track those logos a variety of different ways, but one of the ways is that we track for the length of time that it appears on the screen, where it is on the screen, how big it is on the screen. For instance, his Nike logo, if the camera shot was of his hat and the Nike logo on his shirt, his hat logo was much bigger. We would give that more prominent exposure.
Mark: How do you think some of the sponsors that dropped Tiger back eight, nine years ago feel now that he is ... Do you think there's going to be a resurgence in interest in being aligned with him?
Eric: There's definitely going to be a resurgence, and there's probably a waiting list already of sponsors wanting to be a part of it. But Tiger can be selective. You just don't know how big these deals get. Nike, for instance, is exclusive in terms of his uniform. So you don't see any other logos. But if you see Fowler, he has Puma, but he also has Mercedes and three other sponsors on his shirt alone, not to mention his hat.
Mark: Yeah, they kind of look like NASCAR cars, don't they?
Eric: NASCAR, yeah, golfers. There will be brands that step up. You asked how do those brands, how are they feeling nine years later that they dropped him? If they would have stuck with him, what would have cost them internally, what would have cost them financially to stick with him, so it's really, did it make sense for Buick and their brand exposure and how they were going about their business and who they were marketing to to stick with? At the time, he would have been mid-30s to late 30 golfer, maybe they wanted to take their marketing in a different direction either way. So there might have been some convenience for leaving. Some, their contract expired. I think Buick's actually waited till theirs expired.
Mark: Yeah, it's just kind of interesting to contemplate how Nike probably caught a lot of flak for staying with him, and yet it's paying off for them in the long run, being patient.
Eric: Yeah, absolutely. They created the Tiger Woods logo, which is the TW logo. LeBron has one, Michael Jordan. Obviously the Jumpman is a Michael Jordan logo. So they invest a lot of money into the market, marks and logo. So they have a vested interest to stick with it.
Mark: Kind of an interesting storyline about the power of redemption, of working your ass off for the number of years that he did while he was battling mainly, I think, his physical issues over the last few years and just sticking with it. That to me is the message that Nike has wanted to communicate to people since they came up with the Just Do It tagline.
Eric: And Nike has proved they're not opposed to partnering with controversial situations.
Mark: Sure.
Eric: But yeah, it's take a risk. And Nike took a risk, and it's paying off in dividends.
Mark: So imagine if Tiger wins the PGA Championship, the British Open, the U.S. Open, any one of those, or maybe even all three of them, what do you imagine the windfall would be for Nike?
Eric: Hundreds of millions of dollars.
Mark: Yeah.
Eric: I mean, it's going to be a windfall in a lot of different ways. It'll be a windfall in branding, in advertising and marketing. It'll be a windfall in product sales. It'll be a windfall for Bridgestone, 'cause they would sell more of the golf balls. It would be a windfall for TaylorMade, who makes his clubs, which they've already started to see an increase in sales since Sunday.
Mark: You think Nike might get back into the golf business a bit more? I know they kind of backed out of it after Tiger's downfall. He changed golf balls from Nike to Bridgestone. Do you think that they may get back into that business if they see numbers tick up?
Eric: No.
Mark: No?
Eric: No, I don't think they will. I think they learned their lesson. Stick with what you know and focus on that and make that the best it can be.
Mark: Yeah, one interesting thing when I read about you and saw your quotes, I looked into what your company does. You also manage naming rights. Is there anything really hot in that area, trends in that area that you see happening?
Eric: Naming rights is still growing. I mean, a lot of the major league stadiums have names on them. There are a few like Soldier Field that do not, for the reason that they don't want to rename it.
Mark: Yeah, Fenway Park in my area.
Eric: Right. Yeah. And Wrigley Field, although some people say that's the original naming rights deal.
Mark: Yeah, exactly.
Eric: And what we're seeing now is smaller venues, but also convention centers are getting into it more. Detroit just announced they have secured a naming rights partner. So you're seeing major markets, convention centers getting involved. Also smaller markets. So there's a lot of B and C-size markets that are selling naming rights to their minor league baseball stadium, their convention centers, or minor league arenas as well.
Mark: So, on all of this, the value that accrues to brands associated with someone like Tiger, naming rights, as you look ahead over the next few years, what trends are you following? What's interesting in your area that you think is going to happen in the next few years?
Eric: Well, I think it's how branding and athlete endorsements, I think it's going to get bigger, it's just going to be more creative, because you're going to see more like the Tiger setup with his Nike only and that's the only brand. It's where they take it off the course, off the court, the field, the ice and integrate those partnerships. So you'll see a lot of more integration with social media, more opportunity. Bridgestone has been very effective in doing post-Masters communication on Twitter, as they all have. Monster has as well and Nike. It's really maximizing the use of that right outside necessarily the playing area, playing surface.
Mark: So it's making more of what happens between the lines.
Eric: Yeah, I mean social media's such an ... that's going to be the next demographic, large demographic. That's their day-to-day communication. You're going to need to expand that marketing. I think about it sitting in the living room having your TV set up. That's going to go away.
Mark: Yeah.
Eric: As the millennials get to be adults and in their 40s, you're going to see more, everybody's got their own TV in their hand,-
Mark: Yeah, exactly.
Eric: ... which they already do. I mean, the TV in the living room, I think it's going to go away.
Mark: Yeah.
Eric: That's going to be the creativity too with the broadcasting, getting it in front of the audience.
Mark: Well, it'll be interesting to watch. Eric, I really appreciate you joining me.
Eric: You bet. Thanks for having me.