- Matt Ehalt, ESPN New York contributor
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The move to New York could make Tim Tebow a very rich man.
Marketing experts agree that if all things break right for Tebow, the Jets new backup quarterback could become one of the new faces of Madison Avenue.
One expert, Jim Andrews, the senior vice president of the Chicago-based sponsorship company IEG, estimated that Tebow could potentially be in line to earn $10 to $20 million if he becomes the Jets starting quarterback and leads them to a Super bowl title, something no Jets quarterback has done since the 1969 season.
"You'd have the perfect storm that marketers look for which is great athletic performance on the field but also a personality that people respond to positively off the field," Andrews said. "Get those things together, people are attached to who he is and he becomes a champion quarterback, that's the story marketers are looking to attach themselves too."
Tebow won fans over in Denver for his ability to make plays late in games and lead a Broncos team, considered dead in the waters, to the Divisional Round of the playoffs. With Jets fans starving for a title, if Tebow can strike gold again in New York, he could become one of the top athletes in New York City for companies to attach to.
"If he has a run here like he did in Denver, you're talking 'Linsanity,'" said Brandon Steiner, CEO of Steiner Sports Memorbilia. "If this guy gets on that type of run, they're going to crazy. People in this town would love him."
Of course, that's the dream scenario for Tebow. As it stands now, he's the backup and could be used sparingly in games. Experts question whether companies will be keen to right away attach themselves to a backup with an unknown role, and how much will Tebow want to tackle the chances that are out there for him.
"It's not how big can he be, how can become the face of Madison Avenue, it's how will he allow himself to do things and how interested is he?" Steiner said. "So far, he has the track record of tending to be pretty humble and low key and not move toward doing that type of stuff."
Experts agree that Tebow isn't one to dive headfirst into every opportunity, instead analyzing the different choices, and finding the ones that fit for him.
"I really think he's pretty guarded and pretty careful about what he does, at least he was in Denver. As much as there are big opportunities, I don't see him being one of the guys to jump on a lot of things, I think he's going to be very picky," Steiner said. "His faith and religion take up a lot of time and I think it will make him even more guarded when picking sponsors. He'll want ones that really are right to him."
While Tebow's role could change in the future, Andrews believes for the moment, companies will not necessarily be in a rush to team with a quarterback whose popularity far outweighs his stature as a player at the moment.
He believes companies will want to see how the new situation plays out with Tebow as the backup quarterback, and says there could be more benefits in the long term compared to the short-term period. Andrews said there's the chance for Tebow to potentially earn up to a few million dollars from deals in the next few years, but it will depend on how the quarterback fares on the field.
"There are so many question marks about what's going to happen, when you talk about advertisers and marketers, they're fairly conservative. Big brands don't take too many risks," Andrews said. "A lot of them will probably say 'let's see how this plays out, not throw a lot of money at him until we see what he does next season, whether he's a big part of this team or whether he does well in the system.’ Question marks are not a good thing. Sponsors are pretty risk-adverse."
There are still six months to go before Tebow plays in his first regular-season game for Gang Green, but as evidenced by the huge media turnout Monday for Tebow’s first press conference as a Jet, the excitement is boiling over.
"When it's all said and done, there's an excitement around the Jets and this guy and endorsers and sponsors like guys that can accentuate and be a solid extension," Steiner said. "He's that. He's a solid guy. You know he won't embarrass you."
The move to New York could make Tim Tebow a very rich man. Marketing experts agree that if all things break right for Tebow, the Jets new backup quarterback could become one of the new faces of Madison Avenue.