1.13.2012

Tebow-nomics

As the countdown clock for Tebow v. Brady, or Jesus v. The Prophet (or The Denver Broncos v. The New England Patriots as some in the 'mainstream media' have taken to calling it) ticks closer to zero, we thought that it might be a fun Friday activity to look at the business stories surrounding Tim Tebow's rise from third string bench warmer to the leader of the zeitgeist. After all, pundits aren't expecting this game to break ratings records just because of the skill on display.

No, there is more to it than that. Tim Tebow is a phenomenon. Tebow represents different things to different people. Some applaud his faith, some find it offensive. Some think he is the quarterback of the future, others think his team should seek out a replacement this offseason. Broncos and Gators fans love him, Pittsburgh Steelers fans, not so much. He even set a social media record recently after he engineered a one-play-and-done overtime victory over those Steelers, leading to over 9,400 tweets per second with the hashtag #tebow. No word from Twitter on whether he will still hold the record if #tebow falls to #tebowie...

Of course Tebow's economic impact is inextricably linked to his status as a phenomenon. However, as noted above, and in keeping with the goals of our site, we wanted to take a look at Tebow purely as a business, delinking the myth in the making from the dollars he is impacting. The stories below all play into this theme. Special thanks to Darren Rovell's SportsBiz blog, which we link to several times.

- Secret Weapon in the Underwear Wars: Tebow is the new, um, face of Jockey underwear. Not doubt representatives of Hanes and Fruit of the Loom are shaking in their briefs. 

- America's Favorite Athlete: While we can knock ESPN for conflating the concept of plurality with the concept of 'favorite' (preferential voting anyone?), it is also impressive that Tebow grabbed so many votes in this favorite athlete poll. If the poll is any indication, Tebow might be adding more endorsement deals to a stable which already includes Jockey and Nike in the near future.

- Best-selling Author: Tebow's autobiography was the best-selling sports book of 2011. Hundreds of thousands of copies of Through My Eyes have either been sold or are currently being printed.

- Writer's Cramp: If penning an autobiography by the age of 23 didn't give Tebow cramps, certainly the desire for his signature will. Bonus here for the supply and demand subplot regarding prices for Mr. Tebow's John Hancock (helmets go for $500)...

- Jersey Sales: Tebow's #15 jersey was one of the NFL's biggest sellers even before he became the #1 starter for the Broncos, especially among women. After the recent magical ride he has been on, he has landed in the #2 spot on the jersey sales list for the entire league. On NFL.com, readers can buy a Tebow 15 replica jersey in three different colors for everyone from a little nephew to a girlfriend for prices ranging from $59.99 to $99.99. For those who have to have what the pros wear, one can spend as much as $149.99. I will let our readers do the math.

- Cost to Broncos Ownership - While Tebow's current five-year contract is a modest (by NFL standards) $9.7 million over its term, his victory over the Steelers earned him an additional $250,000 check. I imagine that this was one check, however, that management was more than happy to have cashed.

While I am not sure whether divine intervention guides him, or other forces are capable of working against him, it is clear that the business stories surrounding Tebow's rise are nearly as interesting as the man himself. And that is saying something. Good luck to Tebow this weekend, let's hope his magical ride can continue.

1 comment:

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