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First Rounder Or Not, Tebow Is Red Hot

There they sat at the Niketown in Manhattan yesterday. A stage full of football stars: Adrian Peterson, Tim Tebow, Ndamukong Suh and Mark Sanchez.

And to think that the New York Jets quarterback, supposedly the heartthrob, had no chance to command the attention of the high school teenagers from Michigan who just happened to walk into the store at the right time.

All their are eyes were on Tim Tebow. The only pictures that will show up in their digital camera will be of Tim Tebow.

Tebow’s predicament is as unique as we’ve ever seen. He’s the most marketable college football player of all time who might be a bust of a marketing proposition as an NFL player.

But for now, before he’s drafted, before he gets to the next level, Tebow –- who won’t be showing up at the draft -- is red hot.

"Press Pass Rookie Football" wrap featuring Tim Tebow
Source: Press Pass
"Press Pass Rookie Football" wrap featuring Tim Tebow

Hundreds lined up for his autograph at a mall at $160 a pop and people willing to pay at least that for autographed cards of Tebow with the inscription “God Bless” on it.

“It’s a blessing,” Tebow told me. “I’m honored that people want my autograph or even just want to shake hands with me.”

“I can’t think of any autograph of a college player we’ve ever had in one of our sets that is selling at the price that Tebow’s card is selling at,” said Tom Farrell, vice president of brand management for Press Pass, the company that makes the cards. “I don’t think the price will really go down because of what he did it college, but I do see it spiking if he outperforms expectation.”

It will be interesting to see what other sponsorship deals Tebow garners. He currently has deals with Nike and EA Sports . It looks like some sponsors are going to take the wait and see approach as to whether they should sign him.

The smarter marketers are probably already offering Tebow deals with heavy incentives that will reward the quarterback if he does well at the next level, but will still allow a company to get a good deal if he exceeds expectations.

Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com

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