Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

Wachovia Gets A "Double Bogey" With Tiger's Surgery

A Wachovia branch bank.
Chuck Burton

So many sports fans were shocked last night to find out that Tiger Woods had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. And that left me with trying to figure out who was the big financial loser in all of this.

Well, it wasn't Tiger. Guy makes enough money already, right? And it's not really his sponsors. Nike , Gatorade,Buick. Those guys are all fine for a month. They'll still sell clothes, drinks and cars.

It's a natural to look at the television networks since Tiger is, after all, the ratings king. If he's in the hunt, he'll double the ratings over the previous year if he's not in the tournament or not competing on the final day. But if Tiger misses exactly a month, it's hard to say who exactly loses. He wasn't going to the Verizon or the Byron Nelson so the only tournaments he really misses then are the Wachovia (CBS) and The Players Championship (NBC), so I'd have to call it a wash on the network front.

The tournaments themselves also don't lose. Tiger kept his surgery private enough so that it's too late in the game. Wachovia has sold out all their ground tickets and TPC officials expect to sell out their 40,000 tickets.

Impact of a Tiger-Less Tour

So who is our big loser?

It's Wachovia . The nation's fourth largest bank by assets will is now sponsoring a golf tournament in its home town without its defending champion in Tiger Woods. That's not a good bang for the buck in a time when the bank really needs a lift.

The bank recently had a $393 million first quarter loss and the share price has dropped 55 percent in the last year. The company's annual meeting is next week and, trust me, things will be a little bit more sour if among the talk of credit crunch and the mortgage meltdown, the topic of conversation is the no-name winner at the Wachovia Championship.

Questions?  Comments?

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