Back

Tiger Woods’ Crash Forces Sponsor Flexibility

T
he car crash that left golfer Tiger Woods severely injured may not only impact his playing career, but also the commercial endorsements that come with it.

Woods was the victim of a car accident in California last week and is currently recovering from serious leg injuries.

The 45-year-old is arguably the sport’s best-known figure and has been on the end of some of golf’s largest endorsement deals.

Between June 1 2019 and June 1 2020, Woods was the eighth highest-paid athlete in the world, according to Forbes.

His endorsement total of USD$60 million (AUD$77 million) was equal to NBA star LeBron James.

This is supplementary to a comparatively small figure of USD$2.3 million (AUD$2.96 million) salary made from playing golf in that same period.

According to sponsorship analytics firm Apex Marketing Group, Woods’ victory at the 2019 Masters generated over USD$23.6 million (AUD$30.4 million) in exposure for his sponsors.

Woods’ current sponsors – including Nike, Monster Energy, TaylorMade, and Bridgestone Corp – are now faced with dealing with his uncertain playing future.

With it unlikely sponsors would completely cut off their deals with the American golfing star, there will be other avenues for commercial partners to generate value.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Baker Street Advertising sports marketing executive, Bob Dorfman, said there is a multitude of post-professional endorsement opportunities.

“It will be a great human interest story for every advertiser,” Dorfman said.

He cited options including involvement in appearance fees, speaking engagements, and even sponsorship of his young son.

Woods’ accident also saw tension amongst fans and sponsors at the WGC-Workday Championship last week.

Many Nike athletes wore black and red outfits to pay tribute to Woods as he recovers.

Athletes of other brands, however, did not participate, causing a stir on social media.

Some called the tribute oversensitive and unnecessary, with others finding issue with non-Nike athletes not participating.

However, as American golfer Max Homa made clear, his sponsorship obligations meant he had no red or black apparel to match his fellow competitors.