I am not going to waste this virtual space with a summation of the recent Tiger Woods drama, but I do want to use it to give you some thoughts on the business side of this story and my view of the danger of big brands when they are a single individual.
Woods is the biggest and best known athletic brand on the planet right now. His accomplishments on the golf course have been truly remarkable and all of his sponsors benefit financially from his success and his persona. The Tiger Woods brand, along with his partnership primarily with Nike, have catapulted him into an economic stratus unseen sans perhaps Michael Jordan.
Woods earned an astounding $110 Million off the course last year making his brand far above any other in the athletic realm.
With the Woods brand being coupled to one man, the risks are high for all invovled. As we have seen from his recent troubles, when you invest in a singular person, you live and die by that person’s actions. Up until these recent revelations, Woods was as squeaky clean as possible. Sponsors like Buick, Gatorade, and Gillette had little to worry about as they ran to the bank thanks to their bankable and straight-laced investment.
Now, with ugly revelations about Woods’ private life making headlines around the world, their once risk-free investment now carries lots of risk. As we learned from the Kobe Bryant incident, some may end their relationship with Tiger but the majority will not. The public is forgiving of transgressions when the person committing them gives heart-felt apologies. Will they forgive Tiger? Absolutely.
It does underscore the inherent risk in brands investing heavily in people and how that sometimes can come back to create unintended problems that could impact the bottom line.