Charismatic Jets quarterback Tim Tebow has the potential to earn millions more in marketing and endorsement deals and give Gang Green a boost in its bottom line -- if he can make it here, experts agreed Thursday.
"It's a daring risk from a marketing standpoint. If he succeeds, it's a phenomenal move," said marketing strategist Peter Shankman of the move Wednesday to acquire Tebow from the Denver Broncos. "But that's a big if."
All eyes are on the 24-year-old as he heads from the Rockies to the bright lights of New York, where Tebow's wholesome image and daring playing style could propel him to the level of Knicks phenom Jeremy Lin.
The Jets traded two draft picks and paid $2.5 million to the Broncos for Tebow, but they intend to use him as a limited-duty second option behind starting quarterback Mark Sanchez. Tebow last season led the Broncos to the playoffs with a series of unlikely comebacks, becoming a national sensation for kneeling in prayer ("Tebowing") and inscribing Bible verses on the inkblack under his eyes.
"We can give you anything you want as long as you're good," Shankman said of the New York market. "But we can take it away, too."
Tebow already has endorsement deals with Nike, Jockey and EA Sports that earn him about $2 million a year. Sports-marketing expert Bob Dorfman said if Tebow adds lucrative regional deals in New York to his endorsement portfolio, he could rake in more than $5 million a year as a pitchman.
"Companies can be wary about sports figures -- look at Tiger Woods," Dorfman said. "So if you're looking for a safe bet, Tebow's as close as you're going to get."
Forbes senior editor Kurt Badenhausen stressed that Tebow's continued financial success relies on how well he delivers on the field and whether the Jets earn a playoff berth.
"Eli Manning [who earns $10 million annually in endorsements] gets paid because he won two Super Bowls, not because he plays in New York," said Badenhausen, adding that other big-name athletes in the Big Apple, such as Carmelo Anthony, have yet to capitalize on mega-endorsements. "What matters is winning."
The Jets, who still have personal seat licenses to sell at MetLife Stadium, wouldn't immediately comment Thursday about how they plan to market Tebow.
Observers said the franchise is likely to benefit from a surge in jersey and ticket sales. Seatgeek.com reported its search for Jets tickets on Wednesday was up fourfold from a typical offseason day.
"My guess is he’ll be a good return on investment for [the Jets], strictly in dollars and cents," Badenhausen said.
Robert Boland, a sports management professor at NYU, said whether or not he's at the forefront of Jets marketing, "Tebow is one of the highest-profile athletes in the country, and ... he will command a great deal of media and public attention."
(With Tim Herrera)
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Quarterback Tim Tebow is on his way to the New York Jets. As the newest addition to the NY sporting scene, we picked out some city hot spots to help the country boy become acquainted with the concrete jungle.
Popbar – Prior to his college days, Tebow would sneak popsicles while visiting his uncle. Popbar could fulfill this secret craving, but with their all-natural ingredients, it won’t throw his QB diet. (5 Carmie St. at 6th Ave., 212-255-4874, pop-bar.com)
Tacos Matamoros – His favorite meal is his mom’s homemade tacos. Since she is not included in the trade, Tebow can check out Tacos Matamoros (Serious Eats ranked it number one in NY) for the next best thing. (45-08 5th Ave., Sunset Park, 718-871-7627)
Grow NYC’s Greenmarket – Raised on the farm, Tebow probably prefers fresh food. Grow NYC’s Greenmarket has multiple locations throughout the city with locally-grown fruits, veggies, meats and other foods. (locations vary, 212-788-7900, grownyc.org/ourmarkets)
Jesus Christ Superstar – Paul Nolan, star of Jesus Christ Superstar, can relate to the QB. Both grew up on the farm and they both happen to like Jesus. The show opens March 22. (from $62, Neil Simon Theatre, 250 W. 52nd St., 1-800-BROADWAY, broadway.com/shows/jesus-christ-superstar)
Baohaus – The restaurant already has a nod to the NFL star and his projected Knicks BFF Jeremy Lin: a curry-spoked pork chop stuff dumpling called the Taiwanese Te-Bao. (238 E. 14th St., 646-669-8889, baohausnyc.com)
Chick-Fil-A -- Further fostering the bromance between Lin and Tebow, the two could bond over a waffle fries at the Christian-based Chick-Fil-A. (5 University Pl., 212-998-4931, chick-fil-a.com)
Lucky Strike – A-listers frequent the Manhattan location, which includes a Luxe Lounge. As an athlete with a pretty good throwing arm, he’s bound to get a strike or two. (42nd St. and 12th Ave., 646-829-0170, bowlluckystrike.com)
Rodeo Bar – “NYC’s Longest Running Honkey Tonk” caters directly to the country boy in Tebow. He can listen to his favorite genre of music while taking the mechanical bull for a spin. (375 3rd Ave, 212-683-6500, rodeobar.com)
W Hotel – Tebow may need a place to crash until he’s settled. The W Hotel is located in the center of NYC and has accommodated a number of famous athletes in the past. They’ll know exactly how to treat the new Jet. (541 Lexington Ave., 212-755-1200, starwoodhotels.com/whotels)
Sidebar – A must visit, Sidebar is where Tebowing was born. The sports bar is a hub for fans of his alma mater U of Florida and where the creator of the concept, Jared Kleinstein, first knelt. (120 E. 15th St., 212-677-2900, sidebarny.com)