May 12, 2015
Marketability: Winston vs. Mariota
A recent USA Today article compared the two top picks in the 2015 NFL Draft, Marcus Mariota, and Jameis Winston. The comparison was not about on-field skill, however. Ronn Torossian says this head to head matchup is even more important to the business of football. That comparison? Marketability or, to put it more bluntly, which QB can bring more cash to the organization and himself by way of sponsorships and merchandise sales. With untold hundreds of millions on the line, this is a vital PR consideration. And, even with the draft over, this aspect of the quarterback competition is still a raging debate.
In order to gain some semblance of the upper hand in this debate, prognosticators use something called the Celebrity DBI. That is an index that purports to measure consumer perception of celebritiesto determine market worth. Given that it’s only based on a 1,000-person survey sample, the results are easy to question, but still provide a starting point for understanding athlete marketing potential.
According to USA Today Sports, the index places Mariota above Winston as the better potential celebrity endorsement candidate. The report ranks Winston on the level with names like Johnny Manziel, Donald Trump and Bill O’Reilly … in other words, in the bottom 2 percent of the list. In the “trust” factor, he is also in the bottom 7 percent along with Vanilla Ice and Mark McGwire. The verdict, then, at least according to the prognosticators who use this index, is that Winston is going to struggle to find strong endorsement deals and advertising opportunities.
The future, though, is reportedly much brighter for new Tennessee Titan. Mariota. Marcus is in the top 7 percent in endorsement potential, That is on par with names like Staubach and Aaron Rogers in a category called “aspiration,” which measures the desire of respondents to “be like” a certain individual.
While this index could be just another form of sport-related hocus-pocus prognosticators use to get in the media and create points to argue about for the talking heads and radio callers. It could also serve as, at least, a rough starting point for each player’s PR team in the coming days and months. Who will get the last laugh? Time will tell…because, no matter what, the best PR team almost always wins the battle of public perception.