Tiger Woods & Nike Split after 27 years of partnership
In a surprising turn of events, Nike and golf legend Tiger Woods have officially announced the end of their long-standing partnership. The iconic collaboration that began over two decades ago has come to a close. Last Monday, Tiger Woods announced the split with a post on his social media thanking Nike with a photo of himself, his mother, and Nike founder Phil Knight.
Nike and Tiger Woods joined forces in 1996 when the golf prodigy turned professional at the young age of 20. The partnership quickly became one of the most lucrative and recognisable athlete endorsement relationships in the world. Tiger has sported Nike for 27 years and has achieved unparalleled success in the sport, amassing numerous major championships and arguably earning the title of the greatest golfer of all time.
Tiger’s deal with Nike amounts to $660 million in contracts, Tiger signed a $40 million deal with Nike as a young phenom in 1996. A five-year, $100 million contract followed in 2001, and his next pact with the athletic goods giant was worth $320 million over eight years. He signed his most recent deal with Nike, worth $200 million over 10 years, in 2013. Recently, Tiger has faced injury setbacks and personal issues that have impacted his performance and public image. Which many believe is what led Nike to reevaluate its endorsement strategy, looking to invest in younger athletes with potentially longer careers ahead.
Nike has reportedly been considering a move to shut down its entire golf division. The sporting company exited the golf equipment business in 2016, Tiger had to transition to TaylorMade golf clubs and Bridgestone golf balls. After recovering from a car crash in 2021, he moved to using FootJoy shoes to help with stability for his ankle but Nike apparel remained on his body from head to toe. Every iconic moment of Woods’ professional career includes the swoosh on his chest.
Tiger Woods is continuing his journey in professional golf looking to return to competitive golf at the Genesis Invitational, which is scheduled to begin on Feb. 15. The big question is which brand will step up to fill the void left by Nike. As Tiger is nearing retirement, I believe it’s in his best interest to sign a deal that will last far beyond his playing career. Just like Roger Federer who left Nike in 2018 for a 10-year, $300 million deal with Uniqlo that came with a 3% equity stake. Tiger could also start his clothing line which could do very well as Tiger is still the most well-known golf player there’s ever been.
The separation of Nike and Tiger Woods marks the end of a remarkable chapter in sports history. As the golfing legend navigates the next phase of his career, the industry awaits news of his next endorsement deal.