I’m not sure what this has to do with Christmas, but it’s funny. I like that a sports star and famous actress are using YouTube for something they’re definitely not getting paid for.
Archive for December 2009
(Disclosure: I have worked on marketing projects for Microsoft.)
Yes, I’ve succumbed to the Tiger Woods scandal. I think there are a few items of this story that make it different than the ordinary tabloid affair.
1) The effect this will have on golf: Golfers didn’t become multi-millionaires for consistently finishing 13th until Tiger got to town. A huge percentage of golf fans are simply Tiger fans. Phil vs Tiger is completely different than Phil vs “That other guy.” Sponsors were paying big money for Tiger, which meant TV networks could charge more money to Golf advertisers, which more money was going into the Prize Pool of each tournament. Companies are already having to trim marketing costs. This is a great excuse for companies to pull money out of Golf. If you were the 45th ranked player in the world, you may have found this funny when the story broke, but your check for finishing 13th just got smaller.
2) Why the Tabloid Web sites are crushing the Sports sites: I can’t think of a better example of the power of search driving news consumption. For the reasons listed in Section 1, the sports sites like ESPN.com have been loathe to dig too deeply into the story. There’s a lot of hand waving and things like, “Yeah, Tiger’s in some controversy over there, but let us tell you all about the upcoming Alabama vs Texas game.” ESPN needs this to go away, so they can get back to the business of reporting on Golf and Tiger’s domination in the sport. To the sports sites, Tiger taking time out of competing in Golf is comparable to the New York Yankees deciding to sit out one season. Or having the the entire rosters of both 2009 NBA All-Star teams take a year off to travel the globe. But, ESPN’s decision to pretend it’s not a “big deal” is not fooling anyone. People are just going to their favorite search engine, typing in “Tiger Woods,” and getting the juicy stories from other sources, like TMZ. It’s another example of why in the news aggregation business, we really need to ensure all web sites get a level playing field to broadcast across. You can’t trust news sources if they are in the pockets of the people paying the bills.
3) Seeing the Inside Mechanics of Tiger’s Spin Machine: I don’t know about you, but I’ve been shocked at what seems to be near PR incompetence from Team Tiger. Now, it’s possible that his transgressions are so monumental that cutting them down to 2 porn stars, a pseudo-madame, a reality show wanna-be and a few other random floozies, is actually a big win because they’ve managed to keep the other 90 quiet. If that’s the case, then all of Team Tiger should be ashamed for not reigning him in earlier. It’s also possible that their whole strategy of keeping him away from cameras for the last 10 years was specifically designed because they knew he’s been an eventual PR nightmare ready to explode. But it does seem like all of the companies with money invested in Tiger should have been able to assemble a PR “Dream Team” to handle this better.
4) The Unfortunate Duck and Cover Strategy: With some regard to number 3 above, I think it’s incredibly sad that Team Tiger’s best exit plan is to throw Elin under the bus. According to some web sites, there’s a claim that Elin is demanding, “Your family or your golf.” This would be a convenient excuse for Tiger to disappear to Dubai for 12 months and avoid having to discuss this issue with anyone. The public perception would be that he “loves his family so much,” that he’s giving up golf to make it right by them. The reality would be that the wife would be placed in the position of “Bad Guy” to anyone who watches golf. Plus, sponsors, other golfers, advertisers and golf fans would all be cheated by having a year without the best player in the world. The great thing about team sports, is that no matter what mess you find yourself in, you have an obligation to the rest of your team. Alex Rodriguez couldn’t take a year off. He had to go out every day and get heckled by fans, because he was ONE of 25 New York Yankees. Kobe Bryant was ONE of 12 LA Lakers. Those guys had to stick their pride in their back pockets and still compete against the best athletes in the world. It would be sad if Tiger used the excuse of “My wife doesn’t want me to play” as a way to duck the criticism he deserves.
Those are the thoughts of the top of my head.