SBD/November 30, 2010/Marketing and Sponsorship

EA Has No Plans To Drop Tiger, But Needs Woods To Start Winning

EA CEO Says That Company Has No Plans To Drop Endorsement Deal With Tiger Woods

EA CEO John Riccitiello yesterday said that the company has “no immediate plans to drop Tiger Woods" as the main endorser for its golf video games, but Woods “needs to get some wins under his belt,” according to Ben Klayman of REUTERS. EA has plans to “introduce a 2012 version of its Tiger Woods console video game next year," but Riccitiello said that Woods “needs to end his losing streak.” Riccitiello said at the Reuters Global Media Summit in N.Y., "This is no threat against Tiger. We're with him because he has the promise of being the world's best golfer. We have no plans to move away from him, but it's a business relationship on the basis of we make the best golf game and he's the best golfer. Both of those things need to be true in the long run for the partnership to make sense." EA recently launched a golf game on Facebook “that did not carry Woods' name,” but company officials said that “that had been the intention all along.” Riccitiello added that “Woods' struggles have not cost EA anything and executives feel loyalty toward him” (REUTERS, 11/29).

TIGER TALES: PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem yesterday confirmed a report that he has asked Woods, among other golfers, to play more events at the start of the ’11 season. He said, “We've got a lot of momentum in the marketplace, both at the sponsorship level and at our tournament level. We want to take advantage of it, and the players need to come out and push that along … by playing more.” Finchem noted Woods is the “most impactful athlete in sports globally,” and it is “very important that he be involved." Finchem: “He played a lot of good tournaments. Winning would be terrific. When he comes out and he plays well, it's great. If he goes back to winning, it's fantastic” (“Power Lunch,” CNBC, 11/29).

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