BusinessWeek reported on Thursday that AT&T – and the two other companies that paid a flat fee to be the broadcast’s only advertisers – will see the value of its TV spots soar by 43 percent thanks to Woods’s comeback.
A media analyst told BusinessWeek that a 30-second commercial without Woods’s presence is worth about $350,000. But with Woods in the game, that ad time value skyrockets to $500,000.
Another industry observer agreed.
“I don’t think there is any other athlete in any other sport that is so impactful on ratings,” Rick Gentile, a former executive producer for CBS Sports who runs a sports poll at Seton Hall University, told BusinessWeek. “He changes the ratings just by his presence.”
So, even though AT&T no longer sponsors Woods, it still will profit from the golfer’s presence at the Masters Tournament, which begins early next month. IBM Corp. and Exxon Mobile Corp. join AT&T as the game’s sole advertisers.
This past New Year’s Eve, AT&T dropped Woods as its spokesman, even though AT&T had never put Woods in any advertising. The company did, though, put its name on Woods’s golf bag and backed his Tiger Jam charity event. And AT&T got to walk away from Tiger Woods and the golfer’s tarnished reputation without paying a penny, according to the New York Times. The paper quoted a company official who confirmed the telco giant did not have to pay to end its sponsorship with Woods, or go to court over the matter.
Technically, AT&T owed Woods millions of dollars for ending the contract. But Woods and his agent apparently released AT&T from any requirements, a source familiar with the deal told the New York Times.