Tiger Woods’ days of winning majors may or may not be behind him but he has begun the smart transition from player on the course to player in business.
He may be showing the way for others by creating his own personal holding company and brand identity that is not tied to a particular manufacturer.
While Roger Federer and Cristiano Ronaldo have clearly defined brands they tend to be focused on promoting others products be they Nike Tennis gear or boxer shorts and financial trading vehicles.
Ronaldo is only the third celebrity to boast a social media audience of 200 million. That ephemeral celebrity may last or it may not. The incentive for stars to continue to build brand after their playing careers, where they will have amassed tens if not hundreds of millions is perhaps not so great as it is for an evolving corporation but Woods may be different.
As a player he redefined golf for a new audience and a new generation. He crossed the boundaries of race and did so within a demographic which was willing to spend.
His endorsements made him the highest paid sports star on the planet and he was as likely to feature in advertising in The Economist or the Wall Street Journal as on social or online media. He was a game changer.
His fall from grace in sporting terms was equally spectacular but personal indiscretion seems less damaging to a personal brand than doping or cheating and the Tiger identity is as popular now as it was at the peak of his powers.
His new brand seeks to bring together different elements of his burgeoning business empire under one unified brand. Nikes exit from the golf equipment market may yet present the biggest opportunity and the timing of this new branding may yet be seen as highly well engineered.
Fo now though it is in golf club design, hosting events, a restaurant franchise and the Tiger Woods Foundation that will come under the one umbrella with Woods himself as Chairman and involved in the day to day decision making.
Anyone who read last year’s Sports Illustrated feature about his dedication and single minded nature will have no doubt that this will be a venture to watch.
It may help others such as Paul McGinley who is in that transition phase and Rory McIlroy who will be watching to see how his off course future and legacy may be tweaked and honed for a while longer into the future. It will certainly impact on how sport and business come together after the final putt is sunk or the final whistle blown, at least for those at the very top.
Join Nic Couchman of Sports Investment Partners, Rob Tillis of Inner Circle Sports, Rob Hartnett of Sport for Business and Nick Webb of the Sunday Times for the Sports Investment Panel at the One Zero Sports and Technology Conference in Dublin on Friday October 21st. Click here to book your place.