Sponsors Nike and PepsiCo to back Tiger Woods
The drama surrounding Tiger Woods will not lead to the world's best golfer losing any endorsement deals, a leading American sports business expert says.
As Woods continues to lie low following his admission last week of “transgressions” in his private life, while allegations of extra-marital affairs continue to surface, the 14-time major winner has been backed by sponsors including Nike and PepsiCo, whose Gatorade brand he endorses.
Sports business analyst Rick Horrow, chief executive of Horrow Sports Ventures, whose clients have included the PGA and LPGA Tours, the National Football League, Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer and various US major league professional teams, believes Woods' sponsors have too much invested in his golfing success to walk away from the American sporting icon.
Horrow said: “Nike has 800 million annual reasons to stay with Tiger Woods — that's the annual revenue that Tiger has generated for Nike Golf — and other sponsors are similarly situated.
“So, while this story may get worse before it gets better, don't look for sponsors to pull out any time soon.”
Horrow likened the backing from Woods' sponsors to President Barack Obama's federal bailout of struggling US banks in the wake of the current economic meltdown.
“This is the golf world's answer to economic stimulus, where a billion dollar athlete is now re-evaluating all his business relationships in his worldwide corporate conglomerate in front of the curious eyes of a global public,” he said, before adding that he expected Woods to ride out the current negativity by performing well on his return to competitive golf.
“He's going to have to practice to get his game in shape, whenever he decides to come back and play again, while having a full-time job of dodging paparazzi and the reporters who want the definitive scoop.
“I know his chipping and putting game on carpets will improve significantly because he may have to do a lot of practice indoors.
“Having said that, he is very adept at manoeuvring around crises, or at least pressure situations given his unbelievable golf career and I think he'll call upon all his incredible golfing skills to manoeuvre around this.”
Horrow's assessment was backed by sports psychologist Dr Gregg Steinberg, who has advised a string of PGA Tour professionals and has written about Woods' strength of mind on the golf course in his book “Mental Rules For Golf”.