Wednesday, December 2, 2009
CNBC sports business reporter Darren Rovell answers five questions on how Tiger Woods's admission of "transgressions" may affect his endorsement deals, financial strength and public image.
Will any of Woods's major sponsors try to back out of financial agreements because of his admission?
Nike has issued three statements of support since the accident occured. That should tell you something about how Tiger's biggest sponsor is standing by his side. As of now, I see no companies that Tiger is with bailing out. He's just way too valuable. It's why he makes $100 million a year in endorsements. If he continues to be Tiger Woods on the course come next year, trust me, they'll want him.
Did any of Woods's endorsement deals include "morality" clauses?
I'm not privy to each contract, but most contracts of this stature have morality clauses. It should be said, though, that those morality clauses are ambiguous, and if a contract gets severed because of it, it will often wind up in a court anyway because its up for the legal system to determine if it was just cause.
What should Woods's next move be?
I can't answer that because I don't know what more is out there, if anything. I think he knows that even though he wants privacy, today's media environment doesn't allow for that.
How have other athletes rebounded from similar situations?
There's really no direct comparable here. No active athlete has been as big as Tiger Woods and had this happen to them. People are going to bring up Kobe Bryant because of the affair. But Kobe had a legal case against him. When the legal case was dropped and the civil charges were settled, Kobe continued to do great things on the court and be an incredible spokesman and he's bigger today than he was before he was accused of anything.
Is there any way Woods can profit from this?
This is thrown out there sometimes, that this makes the athlete more vulnerable and, therefore, maybe more like us. That this makes Tiger, who was seen as the perfect person, more human. I don't think he or the companies he is with see this as a positive, but at the end of the day, it likely won't be as much of a negative if Tiger can continue to be the force he was before all of this happened.