The end of an era is approaching, but have no fear, sports apparel icon Nike won't let its cash cow stray too far. It's been reported that Nike and Tiger Woods are close to signing anew, multi-year deal that could likely see arguably the greatest player in golf remain an endorser of the brand for the rest of his career.
The storied partnership has been in place since Woods turned pro in 1996, signing on to a reported $40 million, five-year deal to wear the sporting brand's apparel. While Woods didn't start putting Nike's golf equipment into play until 2000, the pair have successfully built a burgeoning brand for the retailer that extends to a whole line of Woods-branded apparel.
The new deal will keep Woods "emphatically at the top of the golf endorsement list, according to agent Mark Steinberg. "We're down to the very, very short strokes right now,” Steinberg toldESPN. “I would expect we would come out with some sort of joint announcement when we get the paperwork signed. I hope this is viewed as a pretty bold statement."
If the partnership between Woods and Nike is anything, it is indeed bold. Nike has stuck by Woods' side for 17 years as his meteoric rise to sports stardom was briefly interrupted by a mess of personal drama when Woods was ousted by mistress after mistress for being unfaithful to then wife Elin Nordegren, who has two children with the star. The very public defamation that followed cost Woods several high-profile endorsement deals with Accenture, AT&T, Gatorade, Gillette, TAG Heuer and General Motors, however the relationship with Nike never waivered.
The brand continued to support its star while Woods' career hit a low point in 2011, and even mustered up some drama of its own with a social media post that featured Woods and the tagline, "Winning takes care of everything."
With Woods back on his A-game—in the last 12 months, he’s won six events and four of those have come in the eight PGA Tour starts he’s made this year—not to mention the fact that he has reclaimed his spot atop Forbes' highest-paid athletes ranking, there's no doubt that whatever the new deal is for, it will be quite epic. So epic, that it inspired a late-night talk show spoof.