The crack falls flat, but von Houtman barrels forward. He’s arranged this lunch with a single objective: to disparage one of the National Basketball Association’s most popular players. During the hourlong meal, von Houtman lets loose with a barrage of inflammatory allegations that he’ll repeat time and again for the next couple of months: that Dwyane Wade shuffled rapidly through mistresses and physically abused Siohvaughn; that the star and his entourage transformed their Brickell office into a sex den for groupies; and that Wade asked the baron to procure Deca Durabolin, an anabolic steroid.
Sports marketing experts say that any sponsorship fallout will depend on how the news plays out.”This isn’t just [Olympic swimming gold medallist] Michael Phelps smoking pot, this is a family man who is constantly in the limelight,” said Steve Levitt, president of Marketing Evaluations. “Family matters much more to advertisers than a single guy smoking a joint.”But the majority of endorsement analysts believed that Woods was in no danger of losing any sponsorships, even if the most salacious of the rumors are true.”Tiger is the most successful athlete endorser ever, so you would think that the Madison Avenue folks would be forgiving,” said Dorfman. “Can you name an athlete that hasn’t had an affair? It would have to be much worse than that to lose sponsors.”Fortune 40 under 40: Tiger makes the listThe only likely impact for Woods and his endorsers is short term, said Paul Swangard, managing director of the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center at the University of Oregon.Woods said Monday that he would not play in the Chevron World Challenge, slated to start on Tuesday at the Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
“What I find interesting is the relationship to the culture at large. The biggest shift in Gen Z is that the culture is such a different animal from what it was for other generations. For most of us, celebrity was something that we could not obtain,” Victor Pineiro, senior vice president of social media at Brooklyn based digital agency Big Spaceship, told CBS News.
Buick had severed ties with Tiger Woods well before details of his private life pushed him into a hiatus. Woods’ absence from a tournament traditionally cuts TV ratings by about half and makes those tournaments less lucrative to already skittish sponsors and golf fans. It could have a profound long term effect on participation, as well, given that his presence has been credited for bringing more people to the game..