(AP) – Jordan Spieth was trending in a big way during his magical week at the Masters, when he went wire-to-wire and never let anyone closer than three shots of his lead over the final 54 holes. No one had a more vested interest in Spieth’s social media impact than his father.
This was more than just a family matter for Shawn Spieth. It’s his business. About the time his son was leaving Texas to turn pro at the end of 2012, Shawn Spieth went to work on a social media project unique to sports. Spieth and Kyle Nelson, a software and social media entrepreneur, co-founded Stout Partners and developed the “MVPindex.”
MVPindex uses analytics to measure social media rankings in real-time for athletes, teams and sports leagues through algorithms developed for each sport. The data can be valuable for sports marketing officials to select brand ambassadors and maximize sponsorships.
“I’ve never been in the business of sports and always wanted to, and this was a great opportunity to do that,” said Spieth, who played college baseball at Lehigh and had been involved in software startups until launching MVPindex.
“The second reason was to help Jordan get started, try to do something to help him and others like him build a brand that would be bigger than on-the-field performance,” he said. “And then things lined up nicely in terms of timing.”
Spieth had arguably the most remarkable rookie season since Tiger Woods in 2013. With no status on any tour, he earned temporary membership on the PGA Tour, won the John Deere Classic, became the youngest American to play in the Presidents Cup at age 20 and finished at No. 7 in the FedEx Cup.
Now he’s the Masters champion and No. 2 in the world behind Rory McIlroy.
“It was just amazing,” Shawn Spieth said. “He was the top Twitter athlete that week. Usually soccer players own social (media) behind entertainers. Jordan was No. 1. That didn’t hurt his MVPindex.”
In the week after Spieth won the Masters, the MVPindex determined that he was mentioned 50,672 times – more than Tiger Woods, Kevin Durant and The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) combined. For the overall PGA Tour index, Spieth currently is No. 5 behind McIlroy, Bubba Watson, Woods and Ian Poulter.
During his son’s rookie season, Spieth and Nelson collected some 20 million points of data used to measure social media reach, engagement and conversation tied to players or teams. They relied on the five most recognizable social media – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram YouTube and Google Plus – with plans to add more platforms.
MVPindex had Under Armour, sports agency Lagardere Unlimited and TaylorMade as clients when it launched a year ago in March. Jordan Spieth is represented by Lagardere and has a 10-year deal with Under Armour.
Spieth said the company now has more than 25 clients that range from media companies to agencies to athletes.
“What we’re building is a modern day Nielsen Ratings for social media,” Spieth said.