Thursday, January 04, 2007

The PGA's transcendental problem

I recently saw the documentary "Word Wars", which follows a few men through the early stages of Scrabble (yes, the board-game) competition...leading up to the penultimate showdown at the Hasbro Championship.
The seriousness in playing the game at that level is truly an amazing thing to see. But it was when one of the competitors rated another by saying that "he is the Tiger Woods of Scrabble" that I then began to realize something:

That the PGA (in terms of popularity/viewership) is in for a long decline.

There's an old saying in Wall Street, that when the cab drivers start giving you stock

That's the way I look at the PGA (for example). If you've got regular Joe's that far down in the food chain comparing themselves with a major sports figures, then you have saturated that specific sport.

Remember when Michael Jordan transcended sport? I mean, if I had a nickel for every time I heard someone say "he's the Michael Jordan of blah...blah...blah.." I' playing a lot of nickel slots. But it's interesting to note that the NBA fan base didn't appreciate after he'd reached that fact they decreased, and had been decreasing all the way through his retirement...and, until recently (because of new faces stepping up as the new "face of the NBA") have the metrics started inching upward.

The same thing has happened to the PGA by no fault of its own. If it weren't for Tiger, the golf world would still be looking for it's next face to replace Nicklaus and Arnie. But in it's good fortune, golf not only has its got the face that everyone uses as a measuring stick. So now, the PGA is sitting at the top of the mountain wondering where to go next. An unfortunate double-edged sword when there is no where to go but down.
The FedExCup is an obvious ploy to get viewership up...and yes, they'll give it the ole' college try, but it won't increase viewers.

What the PGA needs is a new superstar to beat Tiger on a regular as PR-friendly and emotionally-charged as Tiger, and be so much better than Tiger in every way, that he is replaced as the litmus test for ranking of others by your average Joe. From where I sit, that ain't happening anytime soon...

Obviously, whomever does change the direction of the PGA's viewership problem will be the Tiger Woods of underdogs.

Thanks for reading. Keep it in the short-grass,


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