It’s a fact of life for professional athletes that some are simply more popular than others. Whether or not they’re liked is a whole different story – but there is a level of athlete that remains frequently in the public consciousness. Apparently, Tiger Woods is on that list of oft-mentioned athletes.
DeadSpin performed an analysis of SportsCenter shows over the last 12 months that looked at why teams got mentioned on the show, which ones were mentioned most, which sports were the most frequently mentioned and which individual athletes were brought up the most. The top of the list of individual athletes was relatively predictable and included LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Peyton Manning, Dwayne Wade and Kevin Durant rounded out the top five.
The thing that really intrigued me, however, was the fact that Woods finished in sixth place in terms of mentions, edging out Tim Tebow. It seemed as if much of the programming for several months was specifically designed around Tebow, so the fact that Woods is ahead of him in mentions was a surprirse.
Clearly, the players that are mentioned the most often are the ones that drive ratings. Some on that list are universally liked while the vast majority are divisive. People want to watch or read about an athlete that they despise as much as – if not more than – their favorite player. The powers-that-be at these major networks know on which side their bread is buttered, and they’re not about to stray from their supposed winning formula.
Expect much of the same, although this year I’m sure we will be seeing Aaron Hernandez added to that list and Woods may jump up a spot or two.