The Tiger Woods Brand – A $19 Million Economic Benefit

He’s still the talk of the town, state, country and the world.

Eldrick Tont Woods known simply as Tiger Woods is arguably the greatest sports person of all time and is widely noted as the worlds first billionaire athlete.

After his arrival in Melbourne on Tuesday to compete in the Australian Masters at Kingston Heath Golf Club the media pursuit has been nothing short of relentless and as you can imagine has generated much fan fair on and off the golf course – put it this way, a door list was required for the media turnout during his first media conference at Kingston Heath with the room having to be resized to accommodate the throng of journalists and photographers.
I find it incredible that one person (one brand ETW) can generate so much interest and do so much not only for a sport but an economy.

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It’s common knowledge that Tiger Woods’ appearance fee to play in the JB Were Australian Masters is reputedly $US3 million ($AUD3.2 million) with half this to be paid by the Victorian taxpayers – a small amount when you look at the economic benefit that’s expected to be generated for the State. At the press conference Premier Brumby said it was “fantastic for sport, fantastic for golf and fantastic for our state of Vctoria” but also went as far as to say that “we now estimate the economic benefit to Victoria will comfortably exceed the $19 million forecast,” and also said that “35 per cent of the 100,000 ticket sales has gone to overseas and interstate visitors”. It must be noted that I wrote this blog prior to Tiger winning the Gold Jacket (image) and Premier Brumby’s interview on Channel 9 to which he said, “the economic benefit to the State has super seeded all expectations and we’re now at looking a figure around the $25 – $30 million mark”. All this from one brand – Tiger Woods.

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On the flip side it’s amazing to see what happens when Tiger isn’t on the playing circuit – notably when he was out after having knee surgery. I was reading an article written by Bob Grant from Grant Marketing and the findings are simply quite remarkable and he quotes, “we can’t blame Tiger for poor sales of Buick and the downfall of GM, but it is noteworthy that the viewership of the Buick International was down 57% without Tiger participating in the tournament” and he goes further to say
“I believe the Tiger Woods brand effect supports that a strong brand brings positive results, and when that brand is absent, companies and products suffer negative results. In today’s economy it is more important than ever to maintain a strong brand strategy”. So from my reckoning there’s an enormous amount to lose when Tiger’s not around but an enormous amount to gain when he is!

Not only is the economic benefit a massive win-fall for the State but we must also look at what the Tiger Woods’ brand is doing for golf in general. All week driving ranges and public golf courses have been booked to capacity (up by 300%) and golf equipment and merchandise sales have been at an all time high. Furthermore, there are some 360 golf clubs statewide who are all riding this Tiger wave hoping that the social golfer will take the plunge and join one of these clubs. Geoff Ogilvy (one of the Country’s best current golfers) told the media that he too is inspired by Tiger and that his appearance at the Masters has no doubt raised the profile of golf not only in the State but Australia wide.

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Australian Golf and the state of the economy are certainly not out of the woods yet (pun intended) but we must acknowledge the fact that when Tiger Woods drives (sorry flies) out of Melbourne he has basically generated an incredible amount of interest in the sport and generated some $19-$30 million into the Victorian economy.

If you’d like to talk with us about how we can help make your brand drive and avoid any bunkers give us a call.

Dominic Guthrie
Senior Account Director

13 Comments

  1. It really is quite amazing Tim and so is he as you mentioned. At the presentation of the Gold Jacket, Channel 9 were very clever and on brand also. Knowing full well that there was a possible 380 million households watching world wide Mark Nicholas invited him back next year – to which Tiger said yes and looked forward to seeing him (along with other world champion golfers) come back in 2011 for the President’s Cup.

  2. I too have been caught up in the Tiger buzz Dom, this is the first time I have purposely sat down and watched the golf on TV and it does inspire me to get down to the driving range to improve my swing.
    I also think the other important brand in all of this is Melbourne – the sporting capital of Australia. A passionate brand that can be trusted on delivering great sporting events.

  3. If you want to be the best in the world then you have to have the best in the world at your events. Plain and Simple. The Victorian govenment understands this, they understand the benefits of this, and they have delivered it.
    The numbers say enough. The next aim should be for the top 5 players at the one event, then the top 10.

  4. Tiger – a great figure for golf and Victoria – a great place to be.

    Im sure most Victorians dont think twice about spending $1 on the very few things $1 can buy you these days. A half a bottle of drink, a third of a train ticket, less than half a newspaper…yet the single dollar most adult tax paying Victorians spent last week to have the worlds greatest golfing attraction hit our shores, has in turn generated ten times that amount and put back to our economy.

    Stop thinking so hard about the total up front figure and look at the bigger picture.

    Ahhhh – Victoria, “the place to be.”

  5. I watched Tiger and the others on the weekend, and I too was enthralled. I’d like to ask the question though, all this money for our economy, where’s it going? I’d suggest it’s ending up with sponsors, or to be crude, with the high end of town. Interesting take on it from Canada: http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2009/11/16/the-economic-stimulus-program-of-tiger-woods.aspx

    I can’t help but think that Tiger’s appearance is likely to be just a temporary buzz of excitement for golf in Australia. If we’re relying on Tiger to come every year, we’re in trouble, because if you look at the pecking order of Australia’s golf tournaments compared to the rest of the world, we’re right down there. The Masters is the biggest and the winner gets $250,000 – a drop in the ocean compared to most international tournaments! If Golf Australia can increase prize money, more internationals will come and the tournament’s reputation will benefit.

    To be honest, I think the fact he got $3 million just for coming is outrageous and made a mockery of the tournament. Yes he’s great, we love him and Melbourne got lots of attention for the time he was here, but I think it was mainly about his appearance fee, his excesses and taxpayers’ money. Is that good for Melbourne’s brand? Is it good for Tiger’s brand?

  6. Your post really contextualizes the impact of the Tiger effect… His brand is so incredibly powerful, his phenom status overpowers even the most unique of golf characters. In a sport where a “character” is a player who veers from the grey-slacked norm, Tiger has montetized, publicized, and personified the sport in unimaginable ways. His brand eclipses the few characters of golf (Greg Norman, John Daly, and even the fictitious Happy Gilmore.)

    After years of his dominance. I was very interested to read about the impact of his presence in Australia. In all honesty, I haven’t watched golf in years, and it seems that in Canada, his brand prowess has decreased slightly based on general buzz. It’s interesting to imagine a future of golf without his brand presence. Will a similarly powerful brand/golfer rise when his era ends? What impact will his absence have on local economies?

    Thanks for a fun read 🙂

  7. Tiger Woods is definitely a marketers dream with such a powerful personal brand. No surprise he has signed endorsement deals with Nike worth millions. I believe his appearance here was a definite economic win for the state, not to mention the ignited interest in golf.

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