Before pro golfer Tiger Woods had a bizarre car accident outside of his Florida home late in 2009 and it was discovered that he had a slew of mistresses, which led to his divorce (and him handing over $750 million and custody of his kids to his ex-wife), he used to make quite a few bucks just smiling for the camera as well as using or wearing various products.
Woods made about $90 million annually through such corporate sponsorships as AT&T and Gillette and a major chunk of that disappeared when the sordid facts of his various affairs began to leak out. Since then, of course, Woods hasn’t won a big tournament and has fallen out of the top 50 golfers worldwide list for the first time since 2006.
But his corporate-sponsor comeback is now underway. Sure, he signed a deal to represent a Japanese muscle-rub company earlier this year, but now the big names are starting to come out. Well, OK, one big name: Woods has just signed on to rep Rolex, marking the return of the luxury watchmaker and A-list brands to Team Tiger.
Rolex commented on the deal in a press release that states, in part:
This association pays tribute to the exceptional stature of Tiger Woods and the leading role he plays in forging the sport's global appeal. It also constitutes a joint commitment to the future. Rolex is convinced that Tiger Woods still has a long career ahead of him and that he has all the qualities required to continue to mark the history of golf. The brand is committed to accompanying him in his new challenges.
According to to the Wall Street Journal, “Sports marketing experts say privately held Rolex SA is likely getting Mr. Woods for much less than the millions of dollars he commanded when he was untarnished and at the top of his game.”
While Nike has stood by him, Woods' agent Mark Steinberg told the Journal that Woods is also close to signing an endorsement deal with a bag company.
Woods had an endorsement deal with Rolex for about five years, the Journal notes, but then switched to Tag Heuer in 2002 for a price tag of “about $2 million annually for three years, according to people close to the company,” WSJ adds.
Tag Heuer only sent Woods packing a few months ago, opening the window for Rolex to climb back onto the arm of Woods.
Consider this not just an endorsement deal, but a ringing endorsement deal. Everybody loves a comeback.