Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow waves to actress Jenny McCarthy...

Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow waves to actress Jenny McCarthy during an interview with Sirius XM radio on radio row at the Super Bowl XLVI media center. (Feb. 3, 2012) Credit: AP

Tim Tebow sparked a national craze while playing his home games in Denver last fall, so marketing executives can only imagine the possibilities with Tebowmania headed for the nation's biggest media market.

Tebow's marketability reach is so strong, the executives said, that it doesn't even matter all that much that he won't be the Jets' starting quarterback.

"This is a marketer's dream," said Frank Vuono, a partner in East Rutherford-based 16W Marketing. "You only need to look at Jeremy Lin to understand the publicity that can be generated here."

Vuono believes the Jets' interest in acquiring Tebow in a trade was driven more for marketing than football, with good reason. He thinks the buzz will help the Jets sell high-priced suites immediately for next season.

"I think Tebow's a big enough phenomenon to drive that," he said.

Scott Minto, director of sports MBA program at San Diego State University, said acquiring Tebow also helps the Jets from image and branding standpoint, potentially raising their profile on the national level.

"You already have Mark Sanchez appearing in 'GQ' and very much playing the Broadway Joe role," he said, "and now you add Tebow as the darling of Middle America in the middle of New York City."

Minto believes Tebow and Sanchez give the Jets two vastly different high-profile quarterbacks, a combination that could help them lure more corporate sponsorships by offering companies meet-and-greets.

"I guarantee you the Jets' sponsorship sales folks will be getting phone calls asking, 'You have a Jet come to our company picnic, well, can we get Tebow?' " Minto said.

Adam Hanft, chief executive of Hanft Projects, a brand strategy firm, said the initial reaction to Tebow here will be high because curious New Yorkers are eager to learn what the phenomenon is all about. But he said it's not a given that Tebow's immense popularity will stick beyond a honeymoon stage.

That depends on how Tebow handles the big stage. "In this cynical market he'll be under a lot of pressure," Hanft said. "A lot of very sophisticated figures with media savvy have crumbled under this glare."

Still, Tebow arrives in New York with a strong start in terms of name recognition. He was recently ranked as the fifth most marketable NFL player in a "SportsBusiness Daily" survey of sports business executives, analysts and media figures. And coming to New York figures to only increase his endorsement possibilities.

Since coming out of Florida two years ago, Tebow has been selective about the companies he aligns himself with, having signed deals only with a handful, including Nike and Jockey. "He's not just an endorser for hire," said Matt Kohler, chief marketing officer for FRS Healthy Performance, an energy drink manufacturer that Tebow endorses.

Kohler said Tebow's popularity is so strong that when he wore a beanie sporting the company's name to a news conference last year, the company's web traffic subsequently increased by 800 percent that day.

"His impact on the business," he said, "really has been tremendous."

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