Athletes from across the world have been ranked according to their marketing potential over a three-year period from this summer.
- Value for money
- Home market
- Willingness to be marketed
- Crossover appeal
Rory McIlroy - British, 23, Golf (2)
Golf, with its higher-end demographic, worldwide reach and opportunities for promotional work, continues to be the leader in the value sponsors can get from their investment. In Rory McIlroy, who is widely tipped to be at the forefront of the sport for many years to come, companies can bank on a guaranteed return.
Clean-cut, eloquent and with a high-profile girlfriend to boot, McIlroy certainly ticked all the right boxes for Nike Golf, whose chief Cindy Davis described his long-awaited signing in January as “one of the most important events” in the history of the brand. Nike splashed out a reported US$250 million for exclusive rights to McIlroy’s clubs, balls, footwear, gloves, apparel, headwear and accessories, but regardless of the comprehensive and therefore limiting nature of that agreement McIlroy and his agent at Dublin-based Horizon Sports Management, Conor Ridge, have had little trouble finding and filling further inventory.
Audio specialists Bose and watchmaker Omega have both signed the world number two to seven-figure endorsements since his tie-up with the American sportswear giant. On the course, McIlroy’s pursuit of more Majors – both green jacket and claret jug remain elusive – alongside Tiger Woods’ parallel quest is undoubtedly one of the most compelling strands of golf’s coming narrative. ML