January 28, 2010: To those who do not follow sports or golf, Tiger Woods is known as the man whose accident outside of his home on Thanksgiving opened a Pandora's box of scandalous headlines and stories. Although his marketing power has taken a hit and he has not been seen on a golf course since then, Woods was so far ahead of the field at the time of his fall from grace that he is still the most powerful athlete in sports, according to a new report from Bloomberg BusinessWeek.
The Power 100 study looks not only at how athletes performed on the field, court or golf course in 2009, but also at their marketing deals and influence among consumers. According to Bloomberg BusinessWeek and CSE (formerly known as Career Sports & Entertainment), an integrated sports and entertainment company that connects brands with fans, Woods' Power 100 ranking would have put him at No. 1 "even if the rumors of his infidelity had surfaced earlier last year." People, US and OK!, among others, can attest to Woods' power to sell magazines.
Woods earned in excess of $90 million in endorsements in 2009 but Accenture and AT&T have ended their relationships with him while such partners as Gatorade, Nike, Gillette and EA are awaiting his return to the PGA Tour. The study does concede that the "question remains whether he will continue to hold the top spot now that some of his sponsors have withdrawn their support and he has taken an indefinite leave from the sport."
Following Woods in the Top 5 are LeBron James of the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers, pro golfer Phil Mickelson, Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals and Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts. Mickelson earns about $45 million a year in endorsements, second behind Woods; James tops all NBA players with an estimated $30 million in deals and Manning leads all NFL players at $13-$15 million, according to marketing analysts. Pujols takes in a relatively soft $4 million in marketing deals but scored high in this report due to his on-field prowess, which has earned him three National League MVP awards and eight All-Star Game appearances in nine seasons.
Conspicuous by their absence are women athletes. Only eight women made the Power 100, and only tennis star Serena Williams (No. 16) made the Top 20. The others were Venus Williams (No. 42), LPGA star Lorena Ochoa (No. 56), tennis player Maria Sharapova (No. 80), race car driver Danica Patrick (No. 88), the WNBA's Candace Parker (No. 92) and Diana Taurasi (No. 94) and volleyball standout Misty May-Treanor (No. 95).
The Bloomberg BusinessWeek report offers this explanation for the lack of female firepower: "[Women athletes] represented on the Power 100 are about on par with their top-level front-office counterparts. A recent analysis of staff directories from the 135-plus franchises of the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, and Nascar revealed that only about 11% of vice-presidencies or higher positions were filled by women."
"The question remains whether [Woods] will continue to hold the top spot now that some of his sponsors have withdrawn their support."
The Power 100 organizers also said that the dearth of women in the Power 100 is "hardly surprising when you consider that in mainstream pro sports, outside of individual endeavors such as tennis and golf, women have.037% the number of roster spots available to them as do men. The NBA has 450 active roster spots open each season (15 spots on each of its 30 franchises), as opposed to 132 in the WNBA (11 spots on 12 franchises)."
Among the Top 20, the NBA and NFL each placed five athletes, MLB and tennis had three apiece and Woods and Mickelson represented golf. the other two slots were held by Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps and pro bike rider Lance Armstrong.
The Power 100 rankings are based on a "blended mix of athletes’ ’On-Field‘ and ’Off-Field‘ performance to determine which athletes are making the greatest holistic impact in the world of sports,” Charles Dubow, who edited the Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s Power 100 Special Report, said in a statement.
According to David Newman, vp-analytics for CSE, “CSE’s approach to measuring athletes is unique because we aggregate data from a wide array of sources, both psychographic and endemic to the sport, which results in a fact-based, customizable solution which can be applied to any brand, company or sponsorship.”
On-Field scoring is determined by statistically ranking each athlete within their peer group, typically by sport, over a two-year period, using such metrics as points scored, money earned, laps lead and tournament cuts made. The ranking is then adjusted by the overall popularity of the sport itself based on an index of fan avidity and TV viewership. The Off-Field metric was broken into five components: total endorsement income; and public opinion polls to evaluate the athlete’s awareness, trustworthiness, appeal and influence to calculate power off the playing field, according to Bloomberg BusinessWeek.
The full Power 100 special report and list of 100 athletes is available here.
The 2010 Power 100 Top 20
1. Tiger Woods Golf
2. LeBron James Basketball
3. Phil Mickelson Golf
4. Albert Pujols Baseball
5. Peyton Manning Football
6. Dwyane Wade Basketball
7. Michael Phelps Olympics/Endurance
8. Adrian Peterson Football
9. Shaquille O’Neal Basketball
10. Lance Armstrong Olympics/Endurance
11. Rafael Nadal Tennis
12. Kobe Bryant Basketball
13. Larry Fitzgerald Football
14. Ryan Howard Baseball
15. Brett Favre Football
16. Serena Williams Tennis
17. Roger Federer Tennis
18. Eli Manning Football
19. Joe Mauer Baseball
20. Tim Duncan Basketball
Source: Bloomberg BusinessWeek