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Tiger Woods Loses Major Sponsor

Accenture drops Woods in midst of controversy, analysts say more could follow

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods

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The global consulting firm Accenture now says famed golfer Tiger Woods is "no longer the right representative" and is ending its relationship with him.   This follows a move by Gillette to drop Woods from its advertising campaigns for now, following the personal controversy surrounding the golfer. 

This Accenture advertisement reads, "It's what you do next that counts." These days it could be translated as a warning to Tiger Woods.  But instead, Accenture decided what to do next.  The global consulting firm dropped Woods from his six-year endorsement contract.

The world's highest paid athlete on Friday admitted to marital infidelity and announced he is taking an indefinite break from professional golf to work on his marriage.  This follows claims from several women who say they had a sexual relationship with him. Media estimates indicate his leave of absence could cost the golf industry $591 million in losses.

"Golf needs Tiger Woods a lot more than Tiger Woods needs the golf," British publicist Max Clifford said.

The numbers prove that.  In October, Forbes magazine named Woods the first athlete to earn $1 billion.  He makes $110 million a year.  But just a quarter of it from his golf matches, the rest from endorsements. 

Fellow professional golfer John Daly says Woods has to return to the game. "Golf needs him, they need him.  Economic times as bad as they are, us trying to find sponsors for this, all over the world trying to find sponsors for golf tournaments.  Without Tiger Woods, it makes it very very difficult to do that," he said.

In addition to Accenture, Gillette chose to limit Wood's role in its $5 million yearly deal with him.  AT&T is evaluating its relationship.  Financial analysts say the decisions of these powerhouses could have a ripple effect on other company officials. 

"People who have paid among them more than $100 hundred dollars right now are going, 'Oh for crying out loud!'" Bob Garfield, editor of Advertising Age stated.

Garfield says they could eventually break their ties to golf's golden boy, while Woods takes his break from the sport.  And, that could drive the golfing industry into a tailspin. 

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