Tim Tebow is now an Adidas athlete. Though analysts aren’t expecting groundbreaking sales from the partnership, they say Adidas is gaining something else that’s just as big: buzz.
Tebow, known for his short stints with the NFL’s Denver Broncos and New York Jets, is back on a ball field this week — working out for Major League Baseball scouts. While Tebow himself is receiving mixed reviews for his performance, sports marketing experts say the former quarterback and 2007 Heisman Trophy winner brings media attention anywhere he goes, boosting his value to brands.
“He has a great following among a subset of the population and he is a huge marketing draw, who else could get this kind of publicity over a trial workout?” said Matt Powell, sports industry analyst at The NPD Group.
When Tebow was quarterback for the Broncos, he signed an endorsement deal with Nike Inc. for an estimated $300,000, but analysts don’t expect this cost Adidas very much.
“He’s a bit of a novelty act,” said Bob Dorfman, sports marketing expert and creative director of Baker Street Advertising. “[Baseball] teams are interested in him because they can sell tickets. He doesn’t have the same value now as he did when he was in Denver and a winning quarterback taking his team to the playoffs. His stock has fallen a bit.”
Dorfman added that Tebow could be a great fit for a minor league team, and probably part of the reason why Nike and Under Armour may have passed him up.
So what’s a major athletic player like Adidas going to do with Tebow? Dorfman said that Tebow’s value to the SEC conference as a beloved collegiate player at the University of Florida and commentator on ESPN’s SEC network could make him a valuable asset for the regional baseball scene. He also said that Adidas’ push to tap more fashion names and buzzy collaborators could be the reason why they picked him up.
“Adidas is definitely moving to a lifestyle brand, and they’ve had some of their biggest successes there, with Kanye [West] and the fashion side of things,” Dorfman said. “There could be an angle they’re thinking of there.”
Powell agreed that Tebow’s baseball worth will only eclipse his NFL value if he plays extremely well for an MLB team. But he is “still a good personality,” said Powell. “He is a very good marketing tool.”