New York: With Tiger Woods announcing an “indefinite break” from professional golf to focus on his family, his major sponsors like Accenture, Gillette and AT&T have started to distance themselves from the disgraced golfer.
Woods, whose annual income from endorsements and golf totals over $100 million, has been a star campaigner and brand ambassador for many companies, which also include Nike and TAG Heuer.
Woods in a statement on his website said : “After much soul searching, I have decided to take an indefinite break from professional golf. I need to focus my attention on being a better husband, father, and person.”
Gillette soon followed with a statement saying it will “limit” Woods’ role in its campaign. Woods used to appear in a Gillette commercial with Derek Jeter and Roger Federer.
In a statement Gillette said, “As Tiger takes a break from the public eye, we will support his desire for privacy by limiting his role in our marketing programs.”
AT&T in a statement said “We support Tiger’s decision and our thoughts will be with him and his family. We are presently evaluating our ongoing relationship with him.”
Woods’ image as also any reference to him have been removed from Accenture’s website. Accentures’ marketing strategy earlier revolved around Woods and it used to feature a tagline “We know what it takes to be a Tiger” and “The road to high performance is not always paved.”
The ramifications of Woods’ sexcapedes is likely to fall on his other major sponsors.
At present the sponsors of Tiger Woods include—Accenture, AT&T, EA Sports, Gatorade Tiger, Gillette, Golf Digest, NetJets, Nike Golf, TAG Heuer, Tatweer: The Tiger Woods Dubai, TLC Laser Eye Centers, Upper Deck, PGA Tour.
Analysts believe that most of the marketing tie-ups are multimillion deals and it would not be easier for firms to cut those alliances suddenly without any legal hassles.
Wood’s statement further added that : “I am deeply aware of the disappointment and hurt that my infidelity has caused to so many people, most of all my wife and children. I want to say again to everyone that I am profoundly sorry and that I ask forgiveness. It may not be possible to repair the damage I’ve done, but I want to do my best to try.”
A fortnight back when the news about Woods’ infidelity surfaced his sponsors had stood beside the pro and issued statements in his support.
“Tiger and his family have Nike’s full support,” Nike had said.
Another major sponsor Gatorade had said in a statement, “We wish Tiger well as he recovers and look forward to seeing him back on the course soon.”
According to Sports Illustrated, Woods earned $105 million from sponsorship deals last year -- more than double any other athlete in the world.