Freeze Tag: Tiger Woods, Tag Heuer End Sponsorship Agreement
Tiger Woods and Tag Heuer have ended their sponsorship deal, according to Twitter posts from Golf World's Ron Sirak. Excel Sports Management's Mark Steinberg confirmed that his client's relationship with the watchmaker "has expired." Sirak noted Woods still endorses EA Sports, Kowa, NetJets, Nike, Tatweet, TLC and Upper Deck. CNBC's Darren Rovell on Twitter noted Steinberg called the Woods-Tag split "amicable." Rovell added, "So to recap, Woods lost AT&T, Accenture, Gatorade and Tag deal is now over. That leaves Nike & EA as blue chip deals left" (TWITTER.com, 8/5). USA TODAY's Michael McCarthy noted Tag had "suspended use of Woods' image in the U.S. after revelations of Woods' extramarital affairs." The "public dance between endorsers and sponsors on Madison Avenue is tricky." Some sponsors that "want to end their relationship with an athletic endorser simply let the contract expire and don't renew," while others "such as Accenture are more direct." Two days after Woods "publicly admitted to 'infidelity,' Accenture announced it was ending its relationship with [him] because he was 'no longer the right representative' for its brand" (USATODAY.com, 8/5). In N.Y., Nina Mandell reported Woods' contract with Tag "was believed to be worth more than $10 million and brings his total bill of dropped sponsorships to around $25 million" (NYDAILYNEWS.com, 8/7).
TAMING THE TIGER? YAHOO SPORTS' Jonathan Wall wrote with Woods' game "still missing and sponsors wondering if he'll ever be the marketing magnet he once was, it shouldn't come as a surprise that Tag let the contract expire." Wall: "Woods doesn't have near the pull he used to have in the sports marketing world, and unless he can somehow find his game and start winning tournaments again, announcements of new partnerships with Japanese heat rub companies will probably become the norm" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 8/6). However, despite the loss of Tag Heuer, Golf Channel’s Gary Williams said Woods has yet to hit “rock bottom” from an endorsement standpoint. Williams: "He’s still got the swoosh, and until that is gone -- and he’s also got EA Sports -- that's rock bottom. If Nike, which has built its entire golf division around him and his brand, walks away from him, that's rock bottom." Golf Channel's Erik Kuselias: “I don't think Nike will ever leave him and don't think they’re going to have to leave him. ... If I were to predict, I would say this would be about as bad as it is going to get” (“Morning Drive,” Golf Channel, 8/8).