Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

Taste Preview: Gatorade Tiger

In October, Gatorade agreed to, for the first time ever, license an athlete's name for a product and give that athlete a percentage of product sales. That athlete was Tiger Woods and we projected that Woods would make more than $11 million in royalties from March 2008 to March 2009.

More than 75 percent of my blog readers in the poll said that they would at least try Gatorade Tiger -- but Woods' ability to make money off the deal would not only be dependent on Tiger's endorsability, but on the ingenuity of the flavors. If they are recycled flavors, then sales won't do as well.

So this weekend, I went to my trusty supermarket -- which I know gets new Gatorade products first as a result of my searching while writing a book on Gatorade's history -- and bought the three Tiger flavors that were available: Quiet Storm (purple), Red Drive (red) and Cool Fusion (green).

First, let's talk about the names.

The only name I'm a fan of is Red Drive. It says to me: "Tiger Woods." Cool Fusion and Quiet Storm sound like part of the Gatorade Frost line (Riptide Rush and Glacier Freeze are the only ones left.) I can't believe the green flavor doesn't have the word green in it -- considering it's a natural golf term.

Now, let's talk about the formula since the bottle says it was "formulated for Tiger Woods." It's not surprisingly pretty close to the formula of everyday Gatorade. It has the same amount of calories per serving (50), slightly more sodium (135 mg vs. 110 mg) and potassium (40 mg vs. 30) and the same amount of carbohydrates (14g of sugar).

Now let's talk about the flavors. To be honest, I'm absolutely shocked about the flavors. Has Gatorade really run out of them?

Quiet Storm was the most disappointing. It tastes so close to new G2 Grape that I'm not sure Gatorade employees would be able to tell the difference. I give this flavor a C.

Red Drive is a combination of cherry and citrus flavors. I think the people at Gatorade are obsessed with mixing ever since the X-Factor sub-brand did so well. I kind of wish they would have just stuck with cherry. It would have made the flavor sharper and less mysterious. I give this flavor a B.

Cool Fusion tastes a lot like Gatorade's other lime products, but the idea of half key lime, half Gatorade communicated on the label is a good one. I give this flavor an A-.

If I were Tiger, I would insist that the flavors are unique because ultimately it will reflect on my ability to make money here.

Yes, Gatorade has done a ton of flavors in the last 10 years, but Tiger should remind them that there are plenty of flavors that they've yet to touch. How about a flavor called Tiger Zen that would be green tea flavor? How about honoring Tiger's heritage with a flavor of fruit that is native to his mother's Thailand? Durian, Mangosteen, Pomelo and Rambutan ring a bell.

Then there's the flavors that I don't believe we've ever seen here in America: Cantelope, Acai Berry, Plum, Pear, Pineapple and Banana.

I do believe that Gatorade Tiger has some good potential, but that potential won't be realized if Gatorade flavor scientists rely on Tiger's name, instead of dreaming up unique flavors to associate with the world's greatest golfer.

Questions?  Comments?