By Barry Janoff
June 18, 2014: Tiger Woods, who has been inactive on the pro golf circuit since undergoing back surgery on a pinched nerve in late March, is none the less quite active on the marketing and sponsorship circuit.
Two new alliances were unveiled today (June 18), one with Woods and the other with his Tiger Woods Foundation.
In the former, performance-lifestyle sports nutrition company MusclePharm Corp. said it has signed a multi-year endorsement with Woods. Under terms of the pact, the former world's No. 1 ranked golfer would appear in marketing and make personal appearances, and MusclePharm would get sponsorship of Woods' golf bag.
Financial terms of the partnership, which officially begins July 1, were not disclosed.
MusclePharm replaces Fuse Science in the category on Woods' roster and golf bag.
In a separate deal, Acura has signed on to become the official vehicle for the Tiger Woods Foundation. The multi-year pact includes "vehicle and philanthropic support" for the foundation's efforts in advancing education programs for underserved and low-income students.
Financial terms were not revealed.
Acura said it would have a "significant presence" at all three Tiger Woods Foundation supported golf tournaments, starting with the 2014 Quicken Loans National Tournament at Congressional Country Club, Bethesda, Md., June 23-29. Acura will be providing more than 180 vehicles for use at the tournament and will host product displays for guests at the event.
Acura also will have a significant presence at the Deutsche Bank Championship (Aug. 27-Sept.1) and the World Challenge (Dec. 1-7).
Other Woods sponsors include Kowa, NetJets, Rolex, Nike Golf And Upper Deck.
"[Tiger Woods] is an elite athlete possessing legendary work ethic and determination, as well as a focus on remaining in top physical shape."
"Tiger Woods is more than a golfer," Brad Pyatt, chairman and CEO for MusclePharm, Denver, said in a statement. "He is an elite athlete possessing legendary work ethic and determination, as well as a focus on remaining in top physical shape. We are excited to work with Tiger to bring more attention to nutritional science and how it can enhance strength and overall athletic performance — and most importantly — fuel athletes safely."
MusclePharm and Fuse Science have crossed paths in the sports endorsement territory before. The most notable incident may have been in 2011 when Fuse signed a five-year deal with then NFL Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick. Fuse canceled the deal two weeks later when MusclePharm claimed in a news release that Vick had signed an exclusive endorsement deal with them in the sports nutrition category.
In the automotive category, Woods himself had a long-standing alliance with General Motors' Buick brand, which ended after eight years in 2008 when the company was facing intense financial challenges. The next year, Woods began to lose other endorsement deals when a one-car accident over Thanksgiving weekend became the catalyst to revelations in Woods' personal life that led such companies as AT&T, Gatorade, Kellogg's and Accenture to either end or not renew their alliances.
At one time, Woods was pulling in about $120 million annually from endorsement deals. He is currently earning about $55 million from marketing deals, according to Forbes.
"The relationship with the Tiger Woods Foundation further strengthens Acura's already deep ties to the game of golf while benefiting an organization that is advancing educational efforts critical to this nation in the areas of math, science and engineering," Michael Accavitti, svp and division manager for Acura, said in a statement. "We look forward to working with the Tiger Woods Foundation over the next three years."
In addition to Woods, MusclePharm's endorsement roster includes Arnold Schwarzenegger and NFL players Eric Decker and Colin Kaepernick. MusclePharm is also the official supplement provider for UFC and USA Wrestling.
Regarding his physical status, Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg told ESPN this week that Woods "feels better each day and is extending his swing as he progresses."
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