|By Gary Grimes | Excerpted from the January 2010 Socionomist
Originally published under the title “Sports Scandals and Signs of Shifting Mood”
[Ed: As negative mood intensifies, society tears down its figureheads from the former bull market. Hero-athletes are no exception. In this January 2010 article, Elliott Wave International writer Gary Grimes reviews several sports ex-megastars whose popularity first ballooned and then crashed according to prevailing social mood.]
No Longer A Cuddly Tiger
Golf is a pastime for people with means. The equipment alone costs hundreds of dollars, not to mention greens fees and annual club dues. The sport possesses a clear code of ethics, sharp geometry, mathematical scorekeeping and a connection with manicured outdoors. As Robert Prechter has observed, it’s a consummate bull-market sport, and its most famous player, Tiger Woods, is, as of this writing, the world’s most recognized athlete.
But the man is no longer cuddly. Woods’ steamy affairs reportedly number about a Fibonacci baker’s dozen (the New York Post made a calendar) over the course of his Fibonacci five-year marriage. But when the news broke is what really catches a socionomist’s eye.
The Post intimated at Woods’ infidelity in 2004. A column reported that Tiger, baseball star Derek Jeter and basketball great Michael Jordan (all Nike pitchmen; more on that later) left a Manhattan night club with a trio of girls en route to Jeter’s apartment. The story failed to gain traction. A U.K. golf columnist wrote, “We all knew about Tiger’s secret life,” saying it was common knowledge around the PGA Tour clubhouse. Several media reports say that The National Enquirer had photographic evidence of his infidelity two years ago. The tabloid supposedly used it as leverage to gain a cover story with Tiger for its sister publication Men’s Fitness Magazine. Other reports say that Tiger’s wife had confronted him about affairs. She even reportedly talked to other players’ wives about her husband’s partying. So, again: Why does everyone seem to care about this now, as opposed to at other times? Socionomics provides an answer.
As discussed last month, Rasmussen Reports has conducted phone surveys on Woods’ popularity. “Just 38 percent of Americans now have a favorable opinion of the golf superstar,” the service stated on December 9. “That’s down from 56 percent a week ago, shortly after the story first broke about Woods’ auto accident.” But the sentence that follows is the most revealing: “Two years ago,” Rasmussen writes, “83 percent had a favorable opinion of Woods.”
Thus, as social mood turned from positive to negative, so did Woods’ popularity. In fact, Tiger Woods’ star power started to decline long before his alleged playboy lifestyle became news. Some of his biggest sponsors began dropping long-held endorsement deals with the golfer more than a year ago: American Express in August 2007 (after 10 years) and GM in December 2008 (after nine years). Based on the polls and these actions, we infer that Woods’ popularity reached its zenith in the months between his PGA Championship win in August 2007 and his U.S. Open win in June 2008 (his latest major wins). Stocks, reflecting social mood, made their all-time peak in October 2007. …
Read the three-page look to learn how the public’s attitudes about other sports icons – such as basketball stars Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan and tennis champion Andre Agassi – have shifted with the social mood. Discover how a trend toward negative social mood can even damage companies associated with the bull-market megastars, and whom the companies should instead employ as poster boys during these declines.
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Most economists, historians and sociologists
presume that events determine society’s mood. But socionomics hypothesizes
the opposite: that social mood regulates the character of social events. The
events of history—such as investment booms and busts, political events,
macroeconomic trends and even peace and war—are the products of a naturally
occurring pattern of social-mood fluctuation. Such events, therefore, are not
randomly distributed, as is commonly believed, but are in fact probabilistically
predictable. Socionomics also posits that the stock market is the best available
meter of a society’s aggregate mood, that news is irrelevant to social
mood, and that financial and economic decision-making are fundamentally different
in that financial decisions are motivated by the herding impulse while economic
choices are guided by supply and demand. For more information about socionomic
theory, see (1) the text, The
Wave Principle of Human Social Behavior © 1999, by Robert Prechter;
(2) the introductory documentary History's
Hidden Engine; (3) the video Toward
a New Science of Social Prediction, Prechter’s 2004 speech before
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