Nike cuts off with Tiger and rethinks its future

Nike's decision to end its 27-year relationship with Tiger Woods has caused quite a stir in the world of endorsements, although it is not surprising considering recent decisions made by the Oregon, United States company

by Andrea Gussoni
SHARE
Nike cuts off with Tiger and rethinks its future
© Getty Images Sport - Mike Ehrmann / Staff

Nike's decision to end its 27-year relationship with Tiger Woods has caused quite a stir in the world of endorsements, although it is not surprising considering recent decisions made by the Oregon, United States company. The question now is whether Nike's golf line has a future without Tiger.

Tiger Woods, news

The partnership between Nike and Woods began in 1996, when the young Californian golfer quickly became the global face of the brand, competing in popularity only with Michael Jordan. The first contract between Nike and Woods, which his father Earl Woods described at the time as "pocket change", brought the golfer $40 million in 5 years.

Over the years, Nike and Woods renewed their relationship three times (in 2001, 2006 and 2013), totaling $500 million across the four contracts. The last extension, in 2013, was for 10 years and $20 million annually, the longest of all.

These $500 million in endorsements represent more than a quarter of the $1.8 billion Tiger Woods has earned throughout his golf career, according to Forbes. During this 27-year relationship, the signature uniform that Nike provided to Woods, consisting of a black cap with a white logo, red polo, black pants and sneakers, has become iconic.

In parallel with the sponsorship, Nike created its Nike Golf department in 2002, offering golf-specific clothing and equipment. This line generated between $500 and $800 million in annual sales between 2006 and 2016, although this represents only a small portion of Nike's total revenue.

In 2016, coinciding with a difficult sporting period for Woods due to injuries, Nike made the drastic decision to stop manufacturing golf bags, clubs and balls, maintaining only its clothing line. Tiger Woods began using TaylorMade clubs and Bridgestone balls at that time.

Now, with the departure of Woods as the corporate image, it remains in doubt whether what remains of Nike Golf has a place in the company, especially amid its plans to reduce operations worth $2 billion over the next three years.

announced in December. Over the years, Nike was loyal to Woods even through difficult times, such as his 2009 private life scandal, injuries, his 2017 arrest for driving under the influence, and his serious car accident in 2021.

Tiger Woods always wore head-to-toe Nike, even when he was not contractually obligated to do so, demonstrating their commitment to each other. Tiger Woods has hinted that there will be another chapter in his career, and the answer could come soon, as he is expected to participate in the PGA Tour's Genesis Invitational tournament in February, an event organized by his foundation in Los Angeles, United States.

Tiger Woods
SHARE