Tiger's Masters Return: CBS, ESPN May See Less Green

Wouldn't you like to be a member of AT&T's marketing department today?

Several weeks ago you gained major points with women for dropping a major golf sponsorship you had with Tiger Woods. Now, weeks later, as a TV and event sponsor of CBS' part of The Masters golf tournament, AT&T stands to reach men in record numbers.

There's more. Unlike other golf events, The Masters has very limited TV advertising inventory. For CBS and ESPN -- in addition to AT&T -- the only other advertisers are IBM and ExxonMobil.

On top of this, the August National golf club, which controls the event, only allows four minutes of advertising time per hour. That's prime glut-free exposure.

For all advertisers, Woods' highly anticipated return will mean big ratings for CBS, as well as for ESPN, who is airing the first two days of the event -- but not nearly as much as you think.



First off, the TV advertising for The Masters golf event is sold as part of an overall sponsorship package by Augusta National golf club - not the TV networks. Augusta then sells the entire programming/advertising package to networks like CBS and ESPN.

That means -- with the sudden news of Woods' return -- there is no extra advertising inventory to sell to new sponsors for what will be a very high-rated TV sports event featuring Woods playing for the first time after news broke of his sex scandal.

Secondly, CBS and ESPN can't even spin this potential high viewership to its other programming. That's because The Masters forbids any promotion of other TV programming during its event.

CBS and ESPN will get something less tangible: big ratings and great public relations value for airing the event. The more lucrative payment for those networks comes if Woods continues to be a factor in big golf events where they sell the advertising.

But ESPN might stand to gain more here. If Woods is at all rusty, there is a fair chance he may not make the cut that puts a small, select group of better players into the Saturday and Sunday rounds that CBS airs.

In either case, AT&T looks to gain the most -- turning its recent swing into a stroke of marketing luck.

3 comments about "Tiger's Masters Return: CBS, ESPN May See Less Green".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. Terry Heaton from Reinvent21, March 17, 2010 at 1:53 p.m.

    This is great, Wayne. Do you think AT&T has approached Tiger's "people" to re-establish a sponsorship arrangement already?

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, March 17, 2010 at 2:24 p.m.

    Just think where we could be if we take all this wasted time and millions upon millions of dollars about TW and spent it on education. It's gone way over the top and foolish.

  3. Harry Vance from vance & Associates, March 20, 2010 at 11:39 a.m.

    Tiger will return to the Masters, this is clear. The Masters folks will see to it that there will be no heckling. Heckling for me as a golf purist-type guy is out of bounds on the golf course. There is no need for me to lower myself to Tiger's level. What would be appropriate however is when Tiger's name is announced on the first tee, for there to be total silence. No applause, no nothing. The man has disrespected golf and its image not since his Thanksgiving wreck but since the first day he arrived on the scene. I am tired of fist pumps and all of the NBA type gestures and profanity he has brought to the course. Forgiveness can be earned by a change of character, but not by merely showing up and gracing us with his presence. I for one say silence is the best reply to Tiger.

Next story loading loading..