Tiger Woods’s Masters triumph will be rewarded with a new Nike deal worth in excess of £150 million, according to leading brand experts who claim he could start closing the gap again on Michael Jordan as the wealthiest sportsman in history.
The American’s remarkable comeback from sex scandals, a drug arrest and back injuries comes just months before his deal with the sports kit giant is up for renewal. Shortly after Woods’s triumph at Augusta, Nike shared a new advert, “Never stop chasing your crazy dream”, paying tribute to his feat, and marketing bosses claim the brand will be desperate to keep hold of the star.
Following a costly divorce, Forbes estimated Woods’s net worth at $740 million (£580 million) in 2016. He has some way to go to catch up with Jordan, whose estimated fortune of $1.4 billion continues to swell thanks to his named branding deal with Nike.
Russell Scibetti, of leading American sports sponsorship firm Kore, told The Daily Telegraph Woods could expect to secure a fresh deal worth in excess of $200 million over six years. Ronn Torossian, chief executive of New York public relations firm 5WPR, estimated Woods’s worth increasing by $20 million this year.
In addition, Hollywood filmmakers are expected to come in with offers to chronicle Woods’s recovery from 1,199th in the world rankings, having been close to quitting as he was treated for sex addiction and arrested at the wheel of his car with a cocktail of drugs in his system.
“The Masters was huge for Nike and huge for Tiger,” said Scibetti. He said Woods’s 15th major “has two effects”. “It changes the narrative a bit for the casual fan as they’re now seeing him as a champion and a father … and for the avid golfer it creates a narrative where all of a sudden that chase to reach Jack Nicklaus and win 18 majors now feels realistic.”
Scibetti believes Nike would have offered Woods a reduced deal had he not won on Sunday. His contract with the sports giants comes up for renegotiation every six years.
“A lot of numbers I saw had Michael Jordan approaching $2 billion and Tiger is about halfway there … I think he can close the gap, but Jordan does keep earning,” he said.
The fallout from the 2009 revelations of his extramarital affairs cost him endorsement deals with Gatorade, AT&T, General Motors and Gillette. However, sensing a comeback, a steady stream of sponsors has returned.
Torossian agreed that the “Tiger Woods brand is back”, but said he believed the lurid details of his extramarital affairs will still deter him from reaching the same earning potential that made his estimated wealth swell to almost a billion dollars by 2008.
“From a marketing standpoint, it’s unlikely Tiger Woods will return to the apex of his career, even if he keeps winning on the golf course,” Torossian said.