The automotive crash that severely injured Tiger Woods will power golf broadcasters and types to face life with out their largest star prior to they anticipated.
Woods, 45, hasn’t been a dependable presence on golf’s largest stage in years, and the game has began to maneuver on to its new crop of athletes. However everybody from CBS and NBC to Nike and TaylorMade nonetheless held out hope that Woods might regain the magic that made him one of many best athletes of his technology — and a magnet for hundreds of thousands of TV viewers.
Now, after Woods sustained doubtlessly career-ending accidents, they could have to maneuver on with out him.
Woods was harm in a solo automotive crash Tuesday after his SUV rolled over in steep terrain close to Los Angeles. The golfer suffered important accidents to his decrease proper leg and ankle, and was rushed into emergency surgical procedure at Harbor-UCLA Medical Middle. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Division stated that he was driving comparatively quick however there was no proof of impairment.
If the crash ends Woods’s taking part in profession, a number of TV broadcasters will lose their largest draw. They embrace ViacomCBS Inc., which in April will broadcast the Masters, the place Woods nonetheless hoped to compete, and Comcast Corp., which exhibits golf on the NBC broadcast community and the Golf Channel.
Discovery Inc. should alter its plans for Woods, a key determine in its international enlargement into golf broadcasting and publishing. In 2018, Discovery struck a cope with Woods to present the star athlete a devoted channel on GolfTV, a streaming service for followers of the game. Woods would seem in tutorial movies and behind-the-scenes footage displaying how he prepares for tournaments, the corporate stated on the time. Actually, Woods was on the way in which to shoot such a video on the time of the crash.
In 2019, Discovery purchased Golf Digest journal, for which Woods additionally produces unique content material, from Condé Nast so as to add extra content material to GolfTV and acquire a foothold within the U.S. golf market. Discovery additionally owns the published rights to the PGA Tour outdoors the U.S.
Woods has been golf’s seminal determine because the mid-Nineties. Golf viewership would skyrocket anytime he was close to the lead. When Woods received the Masters in 2019, capping a outstanding return to the highest of his sport, it was the largest viewers for a morning golf broadcast in 34 years, CBS stated.
However apart from that Masters win, Woods has struggled with accidents and inconsistent play that has made it much less seemingly that he will probably be atop a leaderboard — depriving broadcasters of their scores star.
“From a TV standpoint, he’s been nearly a bonus by way of scores,” stated Lee Berke, a sports activities media-industry guide. “You didn’t know when he’d come again or how good he’d be.”
Golf broadcasters have began to focus on a brand new crop of younger long-driving stars like Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau — although none are prone to dominate or draw as a lot curiosity. Woods was a singular phenomenon: Along with his once-dominant play, Woods broke limitations in golf as a baby prodigy with Black and Asian heritage.
However after a decade marked by marital bother, substance abuse and accidents, Woods had misplaced a number of sponsors, together with AT&T Inc., Procter & Gamble Co.’s Gillette, and Basic Motors Co.’s Buick.
Nike, which signed Woods when he turned professional again in 1996, caught with him. And Woods discovered new sponsors, like Monster Vitality; TaylorMade, which makes his golf equipment; and Bridgestone Corp., which makes his golf balls.
Their bets paid off when Woods received the 2019 Masters, producing greater than $23.6 million in publicity for his company companions, in response to sponsorship analytics agency Apex Advertising and marketing Group.
Now, that sort of publicity will probably be tougher to seek out.
“You received’t see the Nike logos on his shirt or him swinging a TaylorMade membership or his Bridgestone ball rolling within the cup,” stated Bob Dorfman, a sports activities advertising government at Baker Avenue Promoting. “That will probably be a problem for these firms.”
However Dorfman predicted Woods’s sponsors will persist with him so long as he avoids scandal and stays seen.
Woods might make “seven figures a 12 months” in talking engagements, look charges and memorabilia offers, “even when he by no means performs in one other match,” he stated.
Loads of athletes, reminiscent of George Foreman or Joe Namath, prolonged their pitchmen careers lengthy their sports activities days have been over.
Advertisers might even insert themselves into Woods’s post-competitive life, reminiscent of following his bodily rehabilitation from his latest accidents or him mentoring his son, one other budding golf prodigy.
“Will probably be a fantastic human curiosity story for each advertiser,” Dorfman stated.