Woods Signs Blockbuster Deal with Nike

ByABC News
September 15, 2000, 5:42 PM

Sept. 15 -- Tiger Woods formally signed a new five-year endorsement contractwith Nike today as industry analysts tried to answer the $100million question.

Is a golfer worth that much money?

Part of that answer rests with what Nikes ultimate goalsreally are, said Bob Williams of Chicago-based Burns SportsCelebrity Service, which matches athletes with corporate sponsors.

The good news is they found Michael Jordans replacement asthe most marketable athlete in the world, and the best athlete inthe world.

Air Apparent?

The downside, Williams said, is that golf is a niche sport thatdoesnt reach the masses and doesnt have the television ratingsthe NBA pulled in during the Jordan era.

How much growth is there in golf? Williams said. And howmuch can Nike capitalize?

The deal is worth an estimated $100 million over five years,according to a source close to the negotiations who spoke oncondition of anonymity. It is believed to be the richestendorsement contract in sports, depending on how that is defined.

Williams said Jordan made as much as $25 million a year,depending on sales. Former heavyweight champion George Foremanrecently sold his likeness to Salton Inc., which makes barbecuegrills, for $137.5 million in cash and stocks.

But that was a lifetime deal. Woods new contract expires in2006, when he will be 30 and just hitting the prime of his career.

The value Nike received on the first contract caused me tocome to my conclusion that it would be chump change, his father,Earl Woods, said of the five-year, $40 million deal that raisedeyebrows in 1996.

And this contract will be chump change compared to the nextone, because Tiger is only going to get bigger and better.

Measuring Woods Worth

While not discussing specifics of the contract, Nike GolfPresident Bob Wood said money was not the best way to measureWoods worth.