Tiger Woods On The DL: Chipping Onto What Remains Of Woods' Golf Marketing Green

The absence of Tiger Woods for the better part of next year means only one thing in this crazy digital media world: The opportunity to launch the Tiger Woods TV Network.

All Tiger, all the time. After all, Oprah now has her own network with OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.

Broadcast and cable networks are now shaking their heads over what to do about their TV golf coverage in the next several months. In this digital age, with the ability to create avatars and special gaming devices, it should be easy to schedule 24 hours of Tiger Woods coverage--playing golf, in real life (reruns), or on Xbox, or against virtual Ben Hogan or running (whoops! You can get hurt doing that).

Valuable lessons have come to those sports networks airing golf that have witnessed not just a bump from the fanatical golf viewer when Tiger shows up, but those 'casual viewers' watching events Woods has competed in.



Versus (formerly OLN) went through some of this when Lance Armstrong was tearing up the roads in France. Casual bike race viewers helped boost its ratings--especially in the Tour de France. When Armstrong retired, Versus felt the pinch right away.

Woods will have a different impact. There will be a lull. Then, golf ratings may take off when Woods returns next year, perhaps competing with an as-yet undiscovered golf star.

This is the nature of sports. When Magic Johnson and Larry Bird left the game, the same questions were asked of the NBA. Then when Michael Jordan hung it up, the same queries: Can the sport survive? Who will come next?

CBS, and other networks, say they have been sold out of their respective TV golf commercial inventory for the next several months--in part because of Tiger Woods' big attraction. Now what? Networks do offer guarantees--and no doubt might be preparing what will happen with big-ticket British Open and the PGA events still to happen.

Right now you can go to YouTube and still pull up 1,510 pieces of video of Lance Armstrong winning races, as well as scores of interviews. 

Tiger Woods is a bit better. Right now there are 8,310 pieces of video of Woods on YouTube--playing tournaments, giving interviews, giving instruction, and in commercials. I wouldn't call this a channel. But some might.

The smart marketer finds a way into this marketplace--as well as buying a few commercials on CBS next spring in The Masters. That's the next time Woods will play in one of the four grand slam golf tournaments.

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