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SBD Global/January 9, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Rory McIlroy Clears Deck For Expected Multimillion-Dollar Deal With Nike

Rory McIlroy "cleared the decks" for his expected multimillion-dollar deal with Nike by announcing the end of his five-year relationship with luxury hotel group Jumeirah, according to Roger Blitz of the FINANCIAL TIMES. Nike is gearing up for an announcement, expected next week, that the "hottest talent in golf" is signing an exclusive deal to promote its golf merchandise, including clubs and clothing. The 23-year-old began "shifting his sponsorship strategy" in Oct. '11 by parting company with agent Andrew “Chubby” Chandler of ISM. Twelve months later, he decided to end his relationship with his club supplier Titleist. The Nike deal is believed to be worth in the region of $20M a year and the contract "may last 10 years" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 1/8). Jumeirah Group CEO and President Gerald Lawless described McIlroy as a "tremendous ambassador for our brand, both as a consummate golfing professional and as a young man with a great future ahead of him" (AP, 1/8). The London GUARDIAN noted McIlroy was believed to have earned around £4.4M ($7.1M) from his five-year deal with the Dubai-based company (GUARDIAN, 1/8).

OAKLEY PUSHES BACK: REUTERS' Keith Weir reported American sunglasses company Oakley has "launched legal action" to try to retain its sponsorship of McIlroy, who is set to become the new face of Nike. Oakley, owned by Italy's Luxottica, is challenging the move and "started legal action in its home state of California last month." In a statement, the company said, "Oakley's contract with Rory has a right of first refusal that permits us to retain Rory as an Oakley endorser by matching any offer he receives covering our products" (REUTERS, 1/8).
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