SBD/October 25, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

McIlroy's Expiring Clothing Contract With Oakley Opens Door For Nike Deal

McIlroy was preferred more than 2-to-1 over Woods in poll regarding a potential deal
Golfer Rory McIlroy allowing his clothing endorsement deal with Oakley to expire at the end of the year "would make sense if he was going to sign a Nike deal," according to Alex Miceli of Golfweek. There were “negotiations with Oakley in Atlanta at the Tour Championship," but the sides "didn’t get a deal done.” Additionally, if McIlroy intends to sign a deal with Nike, he will have to get out of the deal "he currently has with Jumeirah, which ends at the end of 2013.” Miceli: “Now, basically, Rory doesn’t have a clothing deal. ... This is a situation where he makes a significant change in equipment. The clothing doesn’t matter but he’s going to have a change in equipment, he’s going to have to start playing Nike equipment." Meanwhile, yesterday’s edition of Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive” posted its “Poll of the Day” which asked viewers to decide which golfer they would sign to a 10-year deal right now: Tiger Woods or Rory McIlroy. The voting was 69% to McIlroy and 31% for Woods. Golf Channel’s Damon Hack said, “No surprise, I want the guy with upside. I don’t know where Tiger’s body is going to be in five years. Rory’s all upside. I want that guy on the rise.” Golf Channel's Whit Watson added, “It’s 36 years old versus 23 years old. ... You don’t sign a guy on the downside of his career, you hire a guy on the upside of his career” (“Morning Drive,” Golf Channel, 10/24).

In London, Peter Dixon writes neither McIlroy nor agent Conor Ridge is “giving credence to the speculation that the world No. 1 is ready to leave Titleist and Footjoy, who supply his clubs, balls and shoes, when the present contracts run out at the end of the year.” But “neither of them is denying it, either.” Dixon: “To all intents and purposes, it seems to be a done deal.” What McIlroy “does not have -- yet, perhaps -- is the other-worldly aura" of Woods or Michael Jordan. McIlroy, for “all his brilliance, will never have that.” Dixon: “Physically, and in looks, he is almost the boy next door. But perhaps that, in light of the fall from grace of [Lance] Armstrong and Woods, is exactly what Nike needs. All he has to do is keep on winning -- and winning big” (LONDON TIMES, 10/25).
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