Nike Brand Stands by Tiger Woods

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Nike at footasylum Nike has given the controversial golf star its unequivocal backing.

It seems for some, no matter what you do in life, if you’re a celebrity that’s all that counts. Celebrities can go through incredibly bad bouts of publicity and still come out winning. And it seems Nike has taken this approach to one of its leading sporting stars – Tiger Woods. Nike has come out strongly after the Woods episode, with the chairman of Nike giving his ‘unequivocal backing’ to the golfer, saying his troubles were a ‘minor blip’.

Nike Say Woods Infidelities a ‘Minor Blip’

Endorsements and sponsorship deals can be incredibly valuable for both the star and the brand as Nike has shown year on year from Michael Jordan to Tiger Woods. It seems his wife may not be sure about standing by her man, but Nike the brand is. Woods is, Nike thinks, a sure bet. Talking to the Sports Business Journal, the chairman of Nike Phil Knight said: “When his career is over, you'll look back on these indiscretions as a minor blip.”

Nike Pay $40m a Year

Nike said that this kind of publicity blip is part of the sponsorship game. However, the fact the golfer will be taking an indefinite break from the game must put some doubt into Nike’s approach. Other brands have said in light of this they will limit their use of the golfer in their marketing – some have severed links entirely. Nike however has invested everything in the man, and as such perhaps has to take the gamble to stand by him. There is a complete range of Nike golf sportswear branded around Woods and Nike have paid him $40m a year since 1996 for being their figurehead for their new golf apparel.

A Risky Endorsement?

There’s no doubt that Nike’s association with Woods has helped build up its brand. It has a long history of endorsing sports stars that perhaps other brands would have seen as a risk, including John McEnroe, Michael Jordan and Ronaldo. Some brands take the approach that it’s only his sporting success that matters. Like Nike, the watchmaker Tag Heuer are also standing by Woods, saying they don’t care about Tiger’s private life. Others believe that the infidelities only work towards building an even bigger presence for the celebrity. Nike knows that he is still the world’s best golfer. It has been estimated with the support of Nike and other big brands; Woods is paid around $100m in endorsements every year. Whether that level of investment will continue will remain to be seen, but Nike is standing its ground.

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