The New York Times posted a preview of this Sunday’s magazine, including with a huge piece on the “Tiger Woods Bubble.”
Reporter Jonathan Mahler examines why Tiger Woods is essentially a “classic economic bubble.” His good ol’ boy athlete image roped in sponsors, advertisers, media attention, merchandise, even golf-course developers to a desperate industry. Golf became so attached to the Tiger brand that The Great Undoing unravelled the industry along with him.
Tiger’s scandal could not have been revealed at a worse time — and now even his return to the Masters might not save it.
The PGA Tour is at a critical juncture. Next year it will begin negotiating new TV contracts with CBS and NBC. In the meantime, the tour is trying to secure sponsors for 10 events in 2011 while economic conditions are not exactly favourable. Two of the hardest-hit industries, financial services and car manufacturing, are responsible for underwriting a third of the PGA Tour’s sponsored events. More to the point, the entire economic model of a golf tournament is looking a bit suspect. At the moment, the value of a company’s flying clients and employees to a sunny locale to drink Grey Goose cocktails and get tips on their short games from professional golfers is most likely to be lost on many of its shareholders. In other words, drumming up new sponsors and increasing — or just maintaining, really — the worth of its TV deals would have been hard enough for the tour even if the world’s greatest golfer and most recognisable athlete had not become enmeshed in the biggest tabloid story in years.
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