Two major sports business stories this week involve Tiger Woods and Coke.

But not in the sensational way your mind may have connected these topics.

First, Tiger.  A tweet from @darrenrovell sets the stage:

The Arnold Palmer Invitational last week got its highest weekend TV ratings in 10 years thanks to Tiger’s win (via @NBCSportsPR)

We KNOW ratings go up when Tiger is on the leaderboard.

What we don’t know is how high those ratings will spike with Woods on the leaderboard on Sunday at Augusta  – with a chance at golf redemption.

This expected surge in ratings is a potential boon for corporate partners of  The Masters, as higher ratings means more eyeballs on their ads.

The second story to watch this week is the admission by Coke that 30 second ads are no longer the optimal way to reach their target market.

The fact that so many viewers fast forward through ads has driven Coke to increasingly use “live” TV programming, primarily sports and “reality” shows.

Additionally, the linked article emphasizes the importance of not just showing ads, but that driving social engagement is how brands benefit in this space.

In many ways this story is not “news” as ad/media/sports executives have been preparing for this coming reality for a decade.  What may be noteworthy is that discussing the shift away from an emphasis on 30 second ads in such a public way may mark 2012 as the “tipping point” in a major shift in the way firms promote to their potential customers.

Finally, how are these two items related?

Well, The Masters’ corporate partners are expected to benefit from an increase in ratings.  But the real question is: How will they engage those viewers in a social/digital way that allows them to maximize the impact of the increased ratings?

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