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The Tiger Effect: How the Return of Golf’s Biggest Star is Affecting the Sport in 2018

3 minute read | April 2018

For each event that Woods has appeared in this year, he averages about 97 minutes of total brand exposure

Tiger Woods is one of the most recognizable celebrities in the world, and a favorite contender for the coveted green jacket at the 2018 Masters. Among past and present sports figures in the U.S., Woods ranks third in awareness behind only Michael Jordan and Muhammad Ali. In the world of golf, nobody comes close to having the same renown.

The most famous by a long shot

When it comes to golf fame, Woods is in a league of his own, proven by his awareness score of 84, according to Nielsen’s N-Score talent tracker. This stat is 59 points above the average for golfers. The next closest active pro golfer, Phil Mickelson, trails 31 points behind for awareness. Where some of golf’s young guns have an advantage over Woods is in “likability” and “dependability,” with Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day and Rory McIlroy getting a nod from fans in those categories.

Time on Tiger

When Woods is playing, he and his sponsors get much more time on camera than other competitors. Through the Arnold Palmer Invitational (March 12-18, 2018), Woods had seen more branding time on screen than any other golfer on the PGA Tour, with 583 minutes of branding exposure. That’s 122%, or 320 minutes, more time on screen than the average for the top 10 golfers by brand exposure duration. This comes despite Woods competing in fewer events than many of the top players in on the PGA Tour.

For each event that Woods has appeared in, he averages about 97 minutes of total brand exposure duration, 83%, or 44 minutes, more coverage than the next closest golfer for branding time on screen, Dustin Johnson.

Tuning-in for Tiger

Television viewers are taking notice when Woods is playing in 2018. For the four events this season that Woods has finished inside the top 25, broadcast network viewership is up 93% versus the same events last year, or about 2 million more viewers on average.

For the last two events Woods competed in (Valspar Championship and Arnold Palmer Invitational), where he finished in the top five in both, broadcast network viewership was up 150% compared with the same tournaments one year ago, accounting for almost 2.9 million extra viewers on average.

Talking about Tiger

The return of Woods has also spurred a lot of chatter on social media. According to Nielsen Sports Social24, there have been nearly 3.5 million social media engagements on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter that mentioned Tiger Woods in from Jan. 1-March 30, 2018. Woods has a strong platform on his own social media channels as well, with more than 10.4 million followers across these three channels, about 4.5 million more than the next closest golfer, Rory McIlroy.

During the Valspar Championship, 71% of Tweets mentioned Woods, while 5% of Tweets mentioned the winner, Paul Casey, according to Nielsen Social Content Ratings. The most mentioned hashtags on Twitter included: #quickhits, #ValsparChampionship, #TigerWoods, and #Tiger.

The 2018 Masters runs April 5-8.


The insights in this article were derived from the following sources:

  • Nielsen N-Score Talent Tracker
  • Nielsen Sport24
  • Nielsen National TV Toolbox, Ratings Analysis
  • Nielsen Sports Social24
  • Nielsen Social Content Ratings

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