Study: Woods Unlikely To Recover As Endorser

Woods

Well, it's not surprising, but it's still a bit shocking. In the past year, Tiger Woods' likability appeal has been surpassed by feelings of negativity toward the scandalized golfer.  

According to Marketing Evaluations (a/k/a The Q Scores Company), Woods' appeal among sports fans is down by a third, and by 50% with the general population. In a year-to-year comparison, Woods had a positive Q score of 30% among sports fans, down from 44% in 2009. At the same time, his negative score rose to 39% from 15%.

"The real question was, 'How far had he fallen?'," Steven Levitt, president of the Q Scores Company, tells Marketing Daily. "The answer is, he fell quite a bit. The speculation is that it's not going to get better soon, if ever."

The picture is even bleaker among the general population. In February 2010, Woods' positive Q score was 16%, compared with 32% from a year earlier; his negative Q score rose to 49% from 16%.

"When you start out being as high as he was, and then he has a tumultuous fall, 'What could possibly make it better?'," Levitt asks, rhetorically. "What's left? His personal life has been trampled on. His success on the golf course has evaporated."

Last fall, Woods became enmeshed in a scandal that dominated headlines throughout the holiday season after the golfer admitted to multiple extramarital affairs, and received treatment for sex addiction. Several sponsors -- including Gatorade, Accenture and AT&T -- dropped Woods as a product spokesman, although some, like Nike and EA Sports, continue their relationships with him. Earlier this year, Woods rejoined the professional golf circuit only to underperform according to expectations.

With his sinking Q score and golf's limited appeal among the general, non-sports fans population, it's unlikely that Woods' endorsement power will ever reach the heights it did pre-scandal, even if he does go on a winning streak, Levitt says.

"Kobe Bryant has never regained his earlier numbers. He's been clean and good and successful, and his numbers never returned," Levitt says. "Where is [Woods] going to get his future endorsements? Golf apparel manufacturers, perhaps. The overall consumer products world is not likely to regain interest in him."

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