Tiger Woods and Sponsorship– How the online media are telling the story

by Stephen O'Leary on 11/12/09

Even for those with little or no interest in sport, it has been hard to miss the name Tiger Woods in the media over the past few weeks.

On the night of November 27th 2009, reports emerged that the number one golfer in the world, and arguably the most recognisable athlete on the planet, had been involved in a car accident

Much has been reported since on various aspects of Wood’s personal life. The media, both on and offline has been consumed with the story. O’Leary Analytics conducted a search into the level of coverage online news producing sources were giving to Tiger Woods.

The graph below gives you an idea of the level of coverage he has received, day by day, since the day of the car crash (up to Thursday 11th December 2009) – the figures refer to the total number of articles published, each day, mentioning Tiger Woods:

Tiger Woods Coverage Day by Day, since Nov 27th 2009

To put the above numbers in context, here’s a week by week breakdown of the coverage Woods has received online over the past six months:

Clearly, the car crash triggered a series of events that has lead to a peak in the level of online press coverage Tiger Woods has received. However, how have his various sponsors fared as a result? O’Leary Analytics did a search for the coverage ten key sponsors have received online since the 27th November 2009.

The graph below illustrates the breakdown of each sponsor (note – the figures indicate the total number of articles mentioning both “Tiger Woods” and “the sponsor”):

Breakdown of the proportional coverage each of ten Tiger Woods sponsors have received since November 27th 2009

It is clear from the above pie chart that Nike, Gatorade and Gillette have “enjoyed” the most Tiger coverage over the past 14 days. Was it really enjoyable though? Do sponsors continue to benefit from their brand ambassadors when the media coverage they are getting is negative? It has been said that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, but in this case, whose marketing department will be happier – Nike (5,168 articles and counting) or Wheaties (32 Articles)?

Over the coming days, weeks and months, it will be interesting to see the reaction of his sponsors, and how their advertising and marketing plans change and adapt.

For a definitive timeline of the Tiger Woods story, see this ESPN report , breaking down the last few weeks.

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