SBD/Issue 238/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Sales Of Tiger Apparel On The Decline As Golf Market Sees Growth

Tiger Woods Collection Accounts
For About 10% Of Nike's Golf Sales

As Tiger Woods' on-course performance "slumps, so have sales of his apparel line through Nike" at retail locations, including Golfsmith Int'l Holdings, Roger Dunn Golf Shops and Golf Discount Superstore, according to Alex Sherman of BLOOMBERG NEWS. Nike does not disclose sales for the Tiger Woods Collection, but the company gets about 10% of its golf sales from the Woods brand, whose "shirts, jackets and pants are among the most expensive clothing" Nike sells. While total golf apparel sales increased 11% over the first six months of this year, Golfsmith CEO Martin Hanaka said that Woods' line's "volume through the first half dropped 7.5 percent from a year earlier" at the retailer's 72 stores. Hanaka: "The Tiger effect has been negative this year. Fortunately, other Nike products and other brands have been doing well, so we've been able to overcome it." SportsOneSource analyst Matt Powell said that Nike's apparel sales increased 13% for the second quarter and that its golf apparel sales "also have climbed about that much this year." Nike is now selling the fall '10 men's collection on its website and the "cover boy" is not Woods but golfer Stewart Cink. Powell said that Nike "hasn't discounted its Woods Collection apparel and probably won't." Hanaka indicated that "Golfsmith also has no plans to lower prices for the brand" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 8/24). Sherman noted, "If Woods wins next year, if he starts to pile up the victories, over and over again, I kept hearing consumers will come back to his brand. But this year the combination of the newness of his personal transgressions and the losing I think is what's keeping those sagging sales where they are" (Bloomberg TV, 8/24).

JUST WIN ALREADY: CNBC's Darren Rovell said of Woods' marketability, "I don't think that divorce itself does anything. I think the biggest effect on his brand is he has to go back to playing like the No. 1 player in the world. He already lost three endorsements and the major problem is, besides Electronic Arts -- who has used him but game sales are down about 34% -- none of his other partners can start using him until he wins again. That's the more comfortable transition. Nike still doesn't have him on NikeGolf.com and Gillette hasn't started using him again. ... If he doesn't play well at The Barclays, it's going to be remarkable that we could see him not win for an entire year, and that means for the marketers that have stood by him that they would not have used him for an entire year." ESPN's Doug Gottlieb said, "If there is one lesson we have learned from the past it's if you win, for the most part, people are going to forget" ("Mike & Mike in the Morning," ESPN2, 8/24).

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? Deutsch Inc. Chair & CEO Donny Deutsch said now that Elin Nordegren is officially divorced from Woods, she could become the "anti-Tiger" from an endorsement standpoint. Deutsch: "It will be an interesting thing whereas Tiger is Nike, all of a sudden she becomes adidas. Certainly it would be great press around that." Nordegren comes out of the divorce a "very empathetic, strong, likeable figure. Where she goes from here is up to her." Woods can "now redefine his brand and be the bachelor ... and do a little more risqué advertising. He's certainly not Mr. Clean anymore" ("Entertainment Tonight," 8/24).

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