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It was announced this week that GM &Tiger Woods have parted ways.  I am sureTiger will do just fine on the financial and end of things, but GM isn’t looking so hotat this moment in time.

With the snowball effect, I will just call “the economy”, I foresee that Tiger will not be the only one to part ways with their sponsors in the upcoming months. 

I have always wondered what the ROI of sponsoring an athlete is these days compared to the days of “Just Do It”, “Bo Knows”, and of course “I am not a role model”.  Those days of branding, marketing, sponsorship, promotion and advertising are what shaped my decisions to pursue a Masters in Athletic Management, yet what I learned then is such a 180 of how to communicate with and influence your audience today.  

Sponsorship has been and always will be: “we support” and “we are attached” to this athete, event or cause, but it is obviously about the bottom line.  When an athlete signs on with company X to push their product there is the expectation that because they have securred the athlete, that it will have the Jordan effect and instantly boost sales due to being, well….attached.  Not true anymore.  

Even though the GM products that Tiger pushed influenced our rental decision (I call it “the car that Tiger drives” – I can’t remember the exact name), I see the demise of the athlete sponsorship in general.  Companies can not rely on athletes to be THE face of their company anymore, the ROI is just not there due to the flatness of the world as it exists now and will be from here on out.

What do you think?  Who will be the next big athlete to be dropped due to the economy?