Skip to main content
Original Issue

Scorecard Gophers Woes--Knight Moves--Monday Night Softball--Olympic Ads

Is Tiger worth $100 million to Nike? You bet he is

It's still early, but it looks as if Nike has landed itself the
deal of the century. Last week the company signed Tiger Woods to
a five-year endorsement contract worth an estimated $100 million.
That's the largest deal ever offered to an active athlete and
eclipses even Michael Jordan's contract with Nike. (It is not,
however, the largest athletic endorsement deal in history: In
December 1999, George Foreman signed a five-year, $137.5 million
deal with Salton, maker of the George Foreman Grill.) Sure,
Woods's numbers seem excessive--the average American worker, after
all, tries to get by on a meager $25,000 a year. But on closer
examination, what's striking isn't the size of the Nike contract,
but the value of what the company is getting. In other words, at
$20 million a year, Tiger's a steal.

When Woods turned pro in 1996, he signed a five-year, $40 million
contract with Nike that, at the time, was shocking. Tiger's
father, the sage and prophetic Earl, said then that before the
contract was up it would look like "chump change." Earl was
right. Since the deal was signed, Nike's fledgling golf division
has grown from $100 million to $250 million in revenue.

Looking beyond the spreadsheet, Nike gets far more from its
association with Woods. Nike is ubiquitous, and so is Tiger.
Viewed that way, Nike can't afford not to have him. The crux of
the company's marketing strategy is to be everywhere, to have the
swoosh stamped into the unconscious, so that when you go into a
Foot Locker you head straight for the Nike rack. Michael Jordan
did that for Nike for 15 years. Tiger Woods does it now, and
given the length of a golfer's career, he can serve as the
standard-bearer for the brand for far longer. "There were three
people for whom the American public has broad, powerful
associations: Bill Cosby, Colin Powell and Michael Jordan," says
Ravi Dhar, a professor of marketing at the Yale School of
Management. "Now there are four."

To date, Nike is barely in the golf business. In May it had 1.3%
of the $1.5 billion ball market. Then, within two months, Woods
won the U.S. Open, the British Open and the PGA Championship
using a ball with a swoosh on it. By July, Nike's share of the
ball market was 2.3% and rising. Watch what happens when Nike
starts selling clubs--even if Tiger doesn't use them. Nothing but
upside. --Michael Bamberger


Not since three UNLV players were seen hot-tubbing with Richard
(the Fixer) Perry in 1991 has a college basketball program been
compared to the mob. But that was the parallel drawn last week by
a federal official involved in a criminal probe of academic fraud
at Minnesota (SI, June 14, 1999). As the official told SI, "The
complexity of the wrongdoing is something most often seen in
organized crime."

Coming five months into the government's probe, that comment
doesn't bode well for the Gophers, already buried by self-imposed
sanctions stemming from a scandal that began in March 1999 when
tutor Jan Gangelhoff admitted she had done assignments for at
least 20 players. FBI and postal agents have seized coursework
from the university's office of Independent and Distance Learning
and, SI sources say, are investigating alleged cheating that
extends as far back as '86, the year former coach Clem Haskins

Next month the NCAA is scheduled to hand down a report--and
perhaps further sanctions--based on the school's internal inquiry,
which focused primarily on Gangelhoff. Federal investigators,
however, are digging deeper and, according to an SI source,
targeting Haskins. Authorities are building a case against him
that could lead to felony charges of mail fraud and possibly wire
fraud and misappropriating federal Pell Grant funds. Gangelhoff
promised her cooperation last week when she agreed to plead
guilty to one felony count of misappropriating federal funds by
preparing and submitting coursework for a former player,
reportedly guard Bobby Jackson, who has denied any wrongdoing.
Haskins's attorney, Ron Meshbesher, said that if his client is
indicted, "we will fight the charges ferociously."

Haskins moved to his farm in Kentucky shortly after the school
bought out his contract for $1.5 million in June 1999. But on
Sept. 11, Minnesota sued Haskins to get back some of that money.
(Meshbesher says the school has no grounds for the suit.) Now
facing the prospect of a public trial, the once-beloved Haskins,
like those UNLV players, appears to be in serious hot
water. --George Dohrmann


A few things you probably didn't know about Bob Knight's
contentious Sept. 12 interview on ESPN.

COACH'S CALL Knight had a hand in selecting his interviewer. His
first choice was ESPN analyst Digger Phelps, a close friend, who
brokered the interview. But ESPN nixed that idea and offered
Knight three alternatives: veteran SportsCenter anchors Bob Ley
and Dan Patrick, and Jeremy Schaap. Knight choose Schaap. "Bobby
just hates SportsCenter," says Phelps. "Plus, Dick Schaap is a
friend of his, so he thought he'd do his kid a favor."

TEAM HUDDLE Just before the telecast, Knight met at home with
Phelps, new Pacers coach Isiah Thomas, former Bloomington
sportswriter Bob Hammel and Knight's lawyer to make up a list of
talking points for Knight to stick to. Phelps also warned Knight
to control his temper.

DADDY'S BOY An ESPN producer warned Jeremy Schaap that should
Knight get upset, he'd take swipes at him relating to Schaap's
father. Sure enough, at one point a testy Knight told Schaap,
"You've got a long way to go to be as good as your dad." Says
Schaap, "We were ready for that. Still, that was a real cheap

NO LOVE When the interview was over, Knight refused to shake
Schaap's hand. He left immediately, not bothering to wait for
Phelps, who appeared for five minutes on ESPN afterward.

Miller Lite

This is edgy? For a guy known for his rants, Dennis Miller has
certainly proved to be a softy in the Monday Night Football
broadcast booth. In his first two weeks Miller sucked up to more
guys than a corporate toady at a Christmas party. A sampling of
Miller's pandering.

On Mike Shanahan: "You knew Shanahan was going to be ready. The
guy's a genius."

On St. Louis: "We've had a great time here in St. Louis. I want
to thank the people over at Budweiser--August Busch, Tony
Ponturo--they've treated us real nicely."

On an ESPN football broadcast: "I thought [it] was a great job
they did."

On Vinny Testaverde: "He seems like such a nice guy. He's finally
gotten his proper comeuppance. He looks like a real field

On Joe Namath: "Now isn't he a class act?"

On Drew Carey: "Now that is a genuinely good guy. What you see is
what you get, one of the most generous guys in this business."

On Charlie Sheen: "Charlie's a good kid. I've met him. Let's hope
he's the comeback player of the year of the sitcom field."

On Michael J. Fox: "He is one of the greatest TV performers of
this generation. You're talking Lucy, Carson, Michael J. Fox."

On Patriots owner Bob Kraft: "Kraft has been the nicest guy in
the league to me so far. You know what he did to me, Al? He came
up and gave me a game ball from the Patriots. Isn't that sweet?"

Trend Watch

Move over, Gary Glitter. The sports anthem of the moment is Who
Let the Dogs Out, a raucous reggae dance number by the Bahamian
funk group Baha Men that has replaced Glitter's Rock and Roll,
Part II as the jam of choice in stadiums and locker rooms across
the country. The Mariners were the first to jump on the doggy
wagon. Catcher Joe Oliver began using Dogs as his theme song
during his at bats at Safeco Field this summer, but shortstop
Alex Rodriguez, who was nicknamed Big Dog in high school, quickly
co-opted it. ("He flat-out stole it," says Oliver.) It has since
evolved into the Mariners' equivalent of the 1979 Pirates' We Are
Family; it's blasted over the P.A. system during games and in the
clubhouse after every win. The Baha Men themselves belted it out
from a stage behind Safeco's centerfield fence at a game between
the Mariners and the Royals last week.

Other teams getting in touch with their inner pooch include the
White Sox, whose clubhouse deejay James Baldwin says, "It's a bit
repetitive, but it's a catchy repetitive"; the San Francisco
Giants, who booked the Baha Men for a gig at Pac Bell Park on
Sept. 21; and the St. Louis Cardinals, who have started playing
the tune in their locker room before games. The Redskins have
dubbed their defensive line the Dogs, and during their season
opener against the Panthers, FedEx Field's speakers barked the
song after big hits. Most appropriately, the Browns have enlisted
the Baha Men for a December halftime show. It's certain to be a
Dawg-eat-Dogs affair.

spot Check
Olympic Edition!

It's the Olympics of advertising, too, which is why NBC sold a
record $900 million worth of ad time for its Sydney telecasts.
Not surprisingly, advertisers have gone all out in their quest
for the gold, unveiling several ambitious Olympic-themed spots
during the 2000 Games. Herewith, a critical roundup of the first
batch of Olympic commercials.

1) Spot: Foster's "Opening Ceremony" Summary: A hand flips a sign
on the door of an outback bar from CLOSED to OPEN, prompting a
stampede of roughnecks to the watering hole. The subtitle that
follows reads OPENING CEREMONY. Critique: The latest in the
beermaker's long-running "How to Speak Australian" campaign, the
spot is at once both fresh and familiar. What's Aussie for funny?
Grade: Four rings.

2) Spot: Nike's "Horror" Summary: A hockey-masked maniac chases
scantily clad U.S. 1,500-meter star Suzy Favor Hamilton through
the woods, only to run out of breath. Critique: A clever takeoff
on teen slasher movies that's appallingly inappropriate in the
family-friendly context of the Olympics. Adding shock value was
the fact that the spot's first airing on NBC immediately followed
Cathy Freeman's poignant lighting of the Olympic torch. Grade:
Execution--four rings; taste--zero rings.

3) Spot: Buick's "Tiger Olympic" Summary: To the consternation of
uptight judges, Tiger wields his clubs to compete in numerous
Olympic disciplines--shot put, javelin, fencing and archery.
Critique: You can almost forgive Woods for crossing the SAG
picket lines to shoot this hilarious take on his own athletic
prowess. Who says this guy isn't having any fun with his stardom?
Grade: Five rings.

4) Spot: Qantas's "Australian Travelogue" Summary: Picturesque
shots of a Qantas 747 soaring over a fog-enshrouded Golden Gate
Bridge, with a voice-over by perfect pitchman James Earl Jones.
Critique: So well done, it took us a while to realize this wasn't
an ad at all but an NBC segment on the land Down Under that
happened to shamelessly promote Qantas, the airline that carried
the network's staffers to Sydney and that's spending millions of
dollars on Games advertising. Grade: Zero rings.

the Beat

Actress Lauren Holly, star of Dumb and Dumber, has been playing
musical boyfriends with a couple of All-Star infielders, Nomar
Garciaparra and Mark Grace. According to a source, Holly (below)
and Garciaparra met during the playoffs last year and began
dating in the off-season. Then in May, Holly reportedly hooked up
with Grace, whose past paramours include actresses Janine Turner
and Michelle Grace (now known as Mrs. Ray Liotta). Holly was
often spotted at Wrigley this summer and at Cubs road games. Now,
says the insider, Holly is again seeing Garciaparra. Talk about
interleague play....

The NFL has written to the producers of Showtime's controversial
new series Queer As Folk and demanded that references to the
league and to the Steelers be removed from the show. Queer, an
explicit gay drama, is set in Pittsburgh....

As the poet once said, good fences make good
neighbors--especially when your neighbor is Don King. Earlier
this year King, who had moved into a sprawling oceanfront home
in Manalapan, Fla., placed an eight-foot-tall replica of the
Statue of Liberty, painted white, in his backyard. Since the
oversized lawn ornament was clearly visible from the adjacent
beach, King's neighbors were less than pleased. After town
officials spoke to the promoter, King relandscaped to hide his
lady friend from public view....

HBO's Sept. 10 post-Emmy party was aswarm with celebs, including
Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim
Cattrall. Still, the biggest star of the night was Terry
Bradshaw. For much of the evening Bradshaw held court at his
table as a steady stream of Hollywood bigwigs approached for
autographs. Then again, you couldn't say everyone there was a
huge fan: At one point Bruce Willis dropped by and asked Bradshaw
if he still played.

B/W PHOTO: JOHN BIEVER SWING SHIFT Nike is ubiquitous and wants Tiger to keep it that way.

COLOR PHOTO: DAVID E. KLUTHO Jackson allegedly got help with his homework.











The Biggest Athlete Endorsement Deals*

George Foreman and Salton, Dec. 1999 $137.5 million, five years.
Spokesman Foreman's bonus for boosting Salton's grill sales
forty-fold from '96 to '99.

Tiger Woods and Nike, Sept. 2000 $100 million, five years. Will
amount to about 3% of Nike's marketing outlay over that span.

Grant Hill and Fila, Sept. 1997 $80 million, seven years. Hill
re-upped after helping Fila jump from seventh to third in shoe

Allen Iverson and Reebok, June 1996 $50 million, 10 years. Sixers
coach Larry Brown once said, "The company Allen's with is Reebok,
not us."

Davis Love III and Titleist, Sept. 2000 $50 million, 10 years.
Titleist ponied up big to keep Love out of Nike's clutches.

*Terms of Michael Jordan's latest deal with Nike have never been

Go Figure

Predicted final Olympic medal count for the U.S., according to
researchers from Dartmouth and Yale who forecast Olympic
performance based on a country's population and gross domestic

Automobiles won by Ed Roadway of Mountaintop, Pa., in hole-in-one
competitions in his lifetime--a Lexus ES-300 last month in a
charity golf tournament and a Cadillac 13 years ago in a similar

$1.4 billion
Amount the Yankees are asking Madison Square Garden network to
pay to keep their broadcast rights for the next 10 years, which
would be by far the largest deal for a U.S. team.

Batters who have reached Busch Stadium's upper deck in left: Mark
McGwire, for whom the section has been dubbed Big Mac Land, and
Sammy Sosa, who smacked his 50th of the season into those seats.


With leptospirosis, eight Americans and several others among
the 304 competitors in last month's Eco-Challenge in Borneo.
Dozens more U.S. participants have reported symptoms of the
bacterial infection, which causes headaches, high fever and
muscle pains, and can be fatal if not treated with antibiotics.

U.S. Olympic women's weightlifting alternate Suzanne Leathers
and her coach, Don McCauley, in an Aussie casino. Said Leathers,
"The people we are with all the time were all going to be here,
so we said, Why not Sydney?"

The U.S. Mid-Amateur golf championship, for players 25 and
older, by Greg Puga, 29, a caddie at the Bel-Air Country Club.
He earned a spot in the 2001 Masters.

By Disney-owned ABC, commercials in prime time for R-rated
movies, after a government report blasted the entertainment
industry for marketing violent material to youngsters. The only
ABC program exempt from the policy will be Monday Night Football,
whose viewers, Disney says, are predominantly adults.

A secret deal between Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor and forward
Joe Smith to pay Smith as much as $93 million over 10 years, in
addition to his $1.75 million contract for 2000-01. NBA general
counsel Joel Litvin called the arrangement "the most serious
salary-cap offense that can be committed by teams, players or

Simultaneously, some 500 toilets inside Minneapolis's Xcel
Energy Center, home of the NHL's expansion Wild, in a test of the
facilities. Wild exec Bill Roberson said "no damage was done to
the arena."

This Week's Sign of the Apocalypse

Chilean tennis star Marcelo Rios refused to carry his country's
flag in the opening ceremonies at the Olympics because his mother
and sister weren't given tickets to the show.

They Said It

Redskins owner, in response to a longtime season-ticket holder
who requested that his seats be moved to the 50-yard line and
then griped that the sun was in his eyes: "We'll see what we can
do about moving the sun."