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Steve Chiotakis: Tiger Woods steps back onto the links today for the first time since his adultery scandal broke. It’s the Masters Tournament in Augusta, Ga. Reporter Nancy Farghalli takes a look at whether Woods’ return can get the business of golf out of the rough.
Nancy Farghalli: Tiger’s return should boost TV ratings for the Masters by double digits. Sponsors are happy and so is the PGA. For now, any way.
Bob Dorfman is the author of the Sports Marketers Scouting Report. He says the scandal should make the PGA realize it can’t rely on Tiger Woods to promote professional golf.
Bob Dorfman: It’s very difficult for them to do otherwise, given the success and popularity of Tiger Woods.
Case in point: prize money for golfers has increased by more than 100 percent since Woods joined the tour. Other golfers probably won’t ever have the same pull, but Dorfman says the tour needs to promote other players.
Dorfman: They learned that they can’t put all their eggs in one basket.
And Woods’ return can’t fix an emerging financial problem for the PGA–the drop in sponsors because of the recession. The usual companies that support PGA events — like automakers and financial services firms — have cut their underwriting budgets. This year, 10 sponsorship deals are set to expire for the PGA.
Dorfman: The economic downturn, obviously, has hurt a lot of their sponsorship opportunities. I know they’re talking about, you know, even opening up sponsorships to distillers and possibly, you know, gambling casinos. So it may be a little more wide open.
Already, the PGA is looking to expand its brand overseas with tournaments in Europe and Asia.
I’m Nancy Farghalli for Marketplace.
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