TEXT OF INTERVIEW
BOB MOON: You don’t have to be a student of golf to have heard of Tiger Woods and to know he is the king of the sport right now. But a new marketing survey shows that when it comes to helping to sell certain products, he’s likely to be at the top for some time to come. The executive director of the USC Sports Business Institute, David Carter, joins us to talk about this different kind of athletic ranking, put together by Sports Business Daily. So just what is it that makes a sports star a good salesman?
DAVID CARTER: Well I think a lot of it is somewhat intuitive when you think about, do these guys have charisma, are they personable, can they convey a marketing message? And I think when you do that, and you look at it just sort of subjectively, you’ve got to believe Tiger Woods is going to be at the top of just about every list. He is now and for the foreseeable future is going to be the gold standard.
MOON: What does this tell us about how or why certain athletes are more effective than others in marketing?
CARTER: One of the things we’ve learned lately, is that signing an athlete to an endorsement deal is no longer just a transaction, it’s no longer just a business relationship. It’s really a marketing partnership. And this is coming at a time when I think you see a lot of corporations and their shareholders are risk-averse and again at a time when we’ve seen a lot of athletes run afoul of the law. And if you go down this list, one of the things we find is that character seems to count, and perhaps you could say character finally seems to count. Kobe Bryant finished tied for 10th on the list and he was the only one on that list that you would not consider to be your traditional clean-cut guy.
MOON: What is it about golf, by the way, that seems to make those athletes more salespeople?
CARTER: I think when you take a look at individual sports like golf, where these players are right in front of you, they’re not encumbered by uniforms, by helmets and things like that, their facial expressions. Many people play golf, but not many play football. There may be some relatability factors there. So I think you add some of those up and you have a handful of golfers who can actually make a great living endorsing products.
MOON: When you compare it to the actual salaries of these athletes, how much more money do they make if they’ve got this marketing moxie.
CARTER: Well I think the marketing moxie ends up allowing them to maybe make as much as $8 to $10 in endorsements for every $1 they make playing or perfecting their craft on the field or on the court. And I think with athletes like Tiger Woods and some of the others that are on this list at a high level, you may be able to make the argument that they continue to play their sport in an effot to continue their marketing careers
MOON: David Carter, the executive director of the USC Sports Business Institute, thank you.
CARTER: Thank you.
MOON: And in Los Angeles, I’m Bob Moon. We appreciate you making us a part of your morning!
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