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SBD/Issue 76/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing
AT&T Latest To End Endorsement Contract With Tiger Woods
Published January 4, 2010
|Woods No Longer Featured
On AT&T National Web Site
BRAND AWARENESS: The N.Y. TIMES' Belson noted AT&T, which had "earlier said it was evaluating its relationship with Woods," was "focused on using him to boost its brand." Marketing experts said that using Woods in this way "made it easier to justify cutting ties when his reputation took a hit." Univ. of Oregon Warsaw Sports Marketing Center Managing Dir Paul Swangard: "These are companies affiliated with him for things not having to do with his core ability." Swangard said sponsors like AT&T "rely on the larger brand equity, the attributes beyond Tiger's phenomenal athletic talent" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/1). UCF DeVos Sport Business Management Program Associate Dir Bill Sutton said that the Woods scandal has "made him an unattractive pitchman for companies ... using him to promote 'a product related to his lifestyle.'" But Sutton added that he "expects sports companies will remain with Woods." Sutton: "Nike's got warehouses full of golf clubs. Upper Deck has tons of autographed items from him. They're not going to give up on him" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 1/1).
Chevron Could Be Next Sponsor
To Cut Ties With Woods
TOURNEY TALK: Sports business writer Tim Lemke wrote AT&T retaining its sponsorship of the AT&T National "makes perfect sense." By sponsoring a tournament, AT&T "gets to do a lot of corporate hospitality and its name and logo are emblazoned everywhere, regardless of whether Woods is even present." AT&T's contract with Woods "may have had included a morality clause, giving AT&T the right to get out," but it is "unclear on what grounds AT&T could back out of the tournament deal" (TIMLEMKESPORTS.com, 12/31). Brandywine Conference & Visitors Bureau Exec Dir Tore Fiore said of the announcement Woods will not host this year's AT&T National at the Aronimink Golf Club in Pennsylvania, "The hotels in the area ... have already had bookings, not only on the domestic level but on the international level. Does it put a damper on it? Yeah." Fiore added that tourism officials "plan to meet for a second time" this week with the Tiger Woods Foundation to "discuss how to market the event 'sans' Tiger" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 1/1).