One moment worth $20 million a year

Updated: April 12, 2005, 3:55 PM ET
By Darren Rovell | ESPN.com

In the time it took the swoosh to disappear over the lip of the cup on the 16th green, Chris Mike had already picked up the phone to discuss strategy with Nike's advertising specialists about how to capitalize on the defining moment of Tiger Woods' fourth Masters title.

Nike pays Woods $20 million as its top endorser, but it's Mike's job to seize on moments like Woods' amazing chip shot on Sunday.

"When I saw the shot roll in, I knew that what we would be doing for the next quarter or two would revolve around this," said Mike, director of marketing for Nike golf.

But while executives at Wieden + Kennedy, the agency that handles Nike's advertising, strategize how best to market the moment, a spokesman with Augusta National, host of The Masters, said officials of neither the agency nor Nike have begun negotiating with the club for rights to use footage from the tournament. Augusta National – not CBS Sports, which televised the event – maintains the rights to all Masters footage.

"We don't think it needs to be out there right now," Mike said. "With the media covering this story, we have some time."

Though Nike could turn around a spot within the week, it has already realized between $750,000 and $1 million in equivalent advertising time, according to Raymond Howland, golf editor of Joyce Julius & Associates, a sponsorship evaluation firm.

Howland said that in the live shot and the five subsequent replays during CBS' broadcast, the swoosh on the ball was shown for a total of 20 seconds. Howland said the strong television ratings – overnight Nielsen ratings for the final round were up 41 percent over last year – combined with additional replays on CBS and other sports networks more than quadrupled the value.

"This moment was so natural, it was almost unbelievable," said Joseph Jaffe, a marketing consultant and author of "Life After The 30-Second Spot." "The ball stopped as if it were in 'Caddyshack.' And as it slowed, everyone could see the swoosh on the ball."

Nike, the shoe and apparel maker, owns about 9 percent of the golf ball market and 4 percent of the club market, according to Golf Datatech. But capitalizing on the moment could give Nike golf products a boost. The timing couldn't be better. The ball Woods played during The Masters, the One Platinum, hits stores in May.

"Every time Tiger does something great, he can affect sales," Mike said. "When he hit a 300-yard drive with a 3-wood at Doral, our phone lines were flooded, so I suspect we could see an uptick now."

Darren Rovell, who covers sports business for ESPN.com, can be reached at Darren.rovell@espn3.com

Darren Rovell | email

ESPN.com Sports Business reporter