Tiger Woods Tops List of Most Influential Sports Endorsers
By Michael Buteau
Sept. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Nike Inc., General Motors Corp. and the other companies that paid Tiger Woods a total of $87 million to endorse their products last year spent wisely, according to a survey that lists the No. 1-ranked golfer as the world's most- influential sports endorser.
Woods, the winner of 12 major golf titles including this year's British Open and PGA Championship, edged former Chicago Bulls basketball player Michael Jordan, according to Los Angeles-based marketing agency Davie Brown Entertainment.
The 30-year-old Woods is the only active athlete among the list's top five, which also includes former heavyweight boxing champions Muhammad Ali and George Foreman, and seven-time Tour de France-winning cyclist Lance Armstrong.
The survey, which ``determines a celebrity's ability to influence consumer purchase behavior,'' asked 1.5 million U.S. consumers to evaluate a celebrity across eight attributes: appeal, aspiration, awareness, endorsement, influence, notice, trendsetter and trust.
Former gold medal-winning gymnast Mary Lou Retton tops the ``appeal'' category, which measures likeability, followed by golf Hall of Famer Arnold Palmer, who ranks 15th overall on the list.
Three women are ranked in the top 20, including figure skaters Michelle Kwan (13), Retton (14) and tennis player Serena Williams (20).
Other notables on the list include former National Basketball Association All-Stars Magic Johnson (6), Larry Bird (11), and Dennis Rodman (17); Former National Football League quarterbacks Joe Montana (8), Terry Bradshaw (9), Dan Marino (16), and Troy Aikman (19); Miami Heat center Shaquille O'Neal (7); recently retired tennis player Andre Agassi (10); and former boxing champions Sugar Ray Leonard (12) and Evander Holyfield (18).
To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Buteau in Atlanta at email@example.com