It is no mystery that when a professional athlete wins a championship, his or her marketability increases dramatically, which leads to a host of sponsors hoping to piggyback off the athlete’s success and popularity. With his Masters victory on Sunday, Bubba Watson not only became a household name for anyone who even pretends to follow golf, but he also paved the way for several lucrative sponsorship opportunities that are sure to arise in the coming weeks.
Prior to his Masters win, Watson had a relatively low N-Score (which measures an athlete’s endorsement potential based on appeal and awareness). His appeal ratings were atmospheric, with 68% of respondents saying they liked Watson. However what kept his score so low was simply the fact that the majority of the world had never heard of Bubba Watson. After a rollercoaster final round and a dramatic two-hole playoff that ended with Watson donning the illustrious green jacket, that all changed for good. According to CNBC’s Darren Rovell, Watson gained over 50,000 twitter followers within an hour of sinking his par putt that sealed his victory. Just two days later, his total number of followers had surpassed 500,000 (he has gained over 4,000 followers since I started writing this).
While many still see twitter as a popularity contest, where people with too much free time update the world about what kind of mustard they are using, it has become so much more than that. For companies hoping to align themselves with an athlete such as Watson, twitter is a vehicle that enables a brand to connect itself with an athlete, and then communicate its brand message to each and every one of the individuals that “follow” that athlete. Over the coming weeks and months, pay attention to Bubba, and the brands that attempt to align themselves with him. Also pay attention to his twitter, and see if any of those brands are wise enough to utilize his rapidly growing influence on twitter and other web platforms.