Catch The Flying Tiger

African American interest in golf is growing rapidly, but how do we profit from the windfall?

university that will teach you how to run a multimillion- dollar business,” he says.

Woods’ focus on the golf course has paid off. This past summer, he achieved the No. 1 world ranking in his 42nd week as a professional. His mere attendance at a golf tournament is likely to add between $250,000- $400,000 in ticket sales to any four-day event, according to the Professional Golf Tournament’s Association, which represents the tournament directors from the PGA circuit. Tigers presence is already changing televised sports. The PGA Tour recently signed a four-year package with six networks that will begin in 1999 and will place tour events in prime time for the first time ever. PGA Commissioner Tim Finchem has said the amount of televised golf coverage is expected to jump by 20% to 413 hours in 1999. As a result of the increased TV revenue, the average PGA tournament purse of $1.7 million this year is expected to rise to $3 million in the year 2000. CBS Sports President Sean McManus was reported as saying he moved to “lock up” negotiations because “unless something bizarre happens, knowing that Tiger Woods is going to be in the event” helps ensure ad sales and viewership. For example, CBS’ coverage of the Motorola Western Open in July, with Woods at the top of the leaderboard, produced a 6.5 rating, up from 2.9 last year, a staggering 124% jump.

Woods’ professional success has fueled the high expectations and comparisons to figures like Jackie Robinson and Muhammad Ali, whose influence transcended the sporting arena. He is expected to transform golf by drawing a multitude of minorities to the game. Yet, even he realizes that changing the face of a century-old sport that has long been associated with the privileged class and old money will not happen overnight. That, in part, is the purpose of the Tiger Woods Foundation, a nonprofit venture aimed at attracting minority youths to the sport. The foundation, started with a $500,000 contribution from Woods and fueled by subsequent contributions from his corporate sponsors like American Express, will allow Woods to conduct golf clinics in major metropolitan areas across the U.S. for minority youths.

“I think you’re going to see expanding business opportunities, but not necessarily in the very near future,” says Tiger. “But if you project forward five to 10 years and golf continues to draw more people into playing and learning about the game itself, then there will be that crossover of people looking to go into business for themselves,” he says. “Traditionally golf hasn’t been a viable industry for minorities. But now it’s evolving like the other sports, and I think it’s likely that you’ll see an influx.”

Both Tiger and his father point to the minority procurement program within the PGA Tour and internship programs within companies like Titleist as examples that the industry is seeking to become more inclusive of African Americans. Earl simply believes it’s a matter of good business sense. “There will be opportunities in marketing, sales, clothing and

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8