Teamless Tebow Still Supported by Brands, Has Fans in Media

Jockey, TiVo, FRS Stand by Their Man; ESPN and Fox Sports Express Interest

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Tim Tebow
Tim Tebow Credit: AP
Tim Tebow hasn't found another NFL team since the New York Jets cut him in April, and many of his religious fans are convinced that the devoutly Christian quarterback is being persecuted for his beliefs, but he still has supporters on Madison Avenue and in sports TV.

Jockey, TiVo, FRS and Nike are so far standing by their athletic endorser, and both Fox Sports and ESPN are open to hiring the former No. 1 pick of the Denver Broncos as a TV analyst if he hangs up his cleats, according to the companies.

"As are many football and Tim Tebow fans, we're eager to hear where Tim will be playing next year," TiVo spokesman Steve Wymer said. "Tim's relationship with TiVo has always been intended to go beyond football and it continues to be about more than just Tim's incredible accomplishments on the field. We'll just have to see how things develop. We're pulling for him."

FRS, which sells energy drinks and and related products, is "proud" to sponsor Mr. Tebow despite his questionable playing future, according to Carli LaForgia, a spokeswoman for the company. "Tim is more than just a spokesperson for the FRS brand and we will continue to stand by him on and off the field," she said.

Mr. Tebow is "still on the Jockey roster," Jockey spokesman Mo Moorman said.

The same is true for Nike, spokesman Brian Strong said, declining to elaborate. "In general, we don't comment on rumor or speculation around the contractual status of our athletes," he said.

Even if the football teams and sponsorships dry up, Mr. Tebow still has fans in the media. ESPN was criticized for its saturation coverage of his move to the Jets last year, but its hunger for the star hasn't abated. Spokesman Bill Hofheimer said ESPN is interested in considering Mr. Tebow if he's interested in TV. "We are always looking for ways to enhance our football coverage," Mr. Hofheimer said. "If he was interested in doing analyst work, we would certainly be open to speaking with him."

ESPN will face a new challenger when Fox Sports 1 arrives on Aug. 17 and begins looking for ways to standout. "We still consider Tim to be an active NFL player, but should his circumstance change, and he's interested in a television career, we'd welcome an opportunity to discuss his future with him," said Fox Sports spokesman Lou D'Ermilio.

But Mr. Tebow's fall from playoff-winning quarterback and GQ cover boy to unclaimed free agent has hurt his overall image, according to The Marketing Arm's "Celebrity DBI" index of 3,000 celebrities.

From December 2011 to May 2013, Mr. Tebow's "Aspiration" scores dropped from the august levels of Michael Jordan, Jackie Robinson and Will Smith to those of Eli Manning, Emmitt Smith and Jennifer Garner.

His "Breakthrough" score -- the degree to which consumers take notice of a celebrity when he appears on TV or in print -- dropped from George Clooney levels to the Danny DeVito and Drew Barrymore range.

"There are really three P's of endorsement: performance, platform and publicity," said Chris Anderson, a spokesman for the Marketing Arm. "For Tebow, his performance last season was poor, his platform -- the NFL -- is gone and the publicity is negative. It's no surprise that, at least in the short term, his scores have declined."

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