By now you know that Tim Tebow is going to hold a workout for MLB scouts—or at least he’s going to invite them. You also know he’s not going to make an MLB team, being 29 years old and not having played baseball in more than a decade. There’s only one question remaining: is it merely a publicity stunt or is it a straight-up ad?
That at least led to this burn, from a Red Sox minor leaguer:
Tim Tebow, human being, is probably just a nice man with some retrograde views, but Tim Tebow Inc. is a juggernaut. Here is good Mike Florio, writing about the MLB stunt when it was first announced:
Consider the timing and the manner of the unveiling of Tebow’s new venture. His agents at CAA handed the news to a coworker, who agreed to give the situation credibility (perhaps at the expense of a little of his own), with Adam Schefter declaring to his five million Twitter followers as they sat down for their morning coffee (and promptly spat some of it against the screen) that Tebow would take up baseball with the same kind of nonchalance that Schefter would pass along the news of a team signing its punter to a new contract.
In the aftermath of the initial flurry of “news” came the perfunctory, meaningless, publicity-seeking offers from minor league teams, one of which was passed along by Schefter on Twitter without mention of the obvious reality that this is the kind of crap minor-league teams always pull. After that, plenty of videos on ESPN.com have emerged regarding Tebow’s new endeavor, including one showing him repeatedly hitting a ball with a bat (but none actually showing where the ball goes).
Regardless of how it plays out, the life story of Tim Tebow now has another wrinkle that will add 10 minutes or so to the final cut of the seemingly inevitable movie from Disney, the company that owns ESPN.
It’s not a con; it’s business. And the obvious benefactor here is Tebow himself. The unfairness of college sports made it impossible for him to make any money directly off of being one of the most famous athletes in the world, but Tebow’s fame has endured even beyond his pro sports career. It’ll probably endure the rest of his life: book deals, motivational speaking, appearance fees, you name it. The key part is just keeping his name out there, and this MLB tryout is good enough for a bump. As was once said about the first generation of reality TV stars, Tebow is now famous for being famous, and that pays. Good for him. Memorabilia sales is just another head of the Tebowcorp hydra.
The real beauty of the Tebow ecosystem, as Florio pointed out, is that everyone benefits. Anyone who associates with him, like the independent-ball team that will sign him to sell merchandise and tickets, benefits. So does the media that covers him—even now, in 2016, Tebow is a draw. Ignoring him is bad business.
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