Picturing Tiger Woods adorned with anything but Nike swooshes is difficult to do. And a new endorsement deal between the two ensures that such a vision will remain just that – a figment of the imagination.
Since turning professional in 1996, Woods has been a Nike endorser, and his latest deal will keep him one for many more years. Though terms of the contract were not disclosed, Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg, had made clear in recent weeks that negotiations were progressing to keep the world's No. 1 player "with Nike for the rest of his career." Woods' original 5-year deal reportedly was worth $40 million. Numerous media outlets cited Woods earning $100 million annually from Nike beginning in 2001.
In a statement released Wednesday confirming the new contract, Nike Golf president Cindy Davis said: "We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Tiger. He is one of Nike's most iconic athletes and has played an integral part in Nike Golf's growth since the very beginning."
Indeed, Woods' value to Nike Golf is difficult to quantify, with typical metrics such as advertising exposure and product sales falling well short of capturing his full impact.
Virtually single-handedly, he legitimized Nike, known foremost as an athletic shoe and apparel company, as a golf brand. His endorsement not only helped Nike resonate with consumers in the marketplace, but also aided in recruiting other players to its tour staff – a vital component for achieving and maintaining authenticity.
For Woods, his latest Nike deal, arguably, caps a complete rebound from his marital problems that became publicly known in 2009 and derailed his marketability. Though Nike stood by him, many companies distanced themselves from Woods in the aftermath of his scandal. But marketing experts predicted that over time the iconic spokesman would be able to rebuild his endorsement portfolio – as long as he continued winning on the course. With four victories already this season, he has fulfilled that requirement. Now, marketers – among them Rolex, NetJets and EA Sports – are heralding him again.