Tiger Woods and Nike break up

One of the sports world’s biggest power couples is calling it quits. No, we don’t mean Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift. 

What happened: After 27 years, Tiger Woods and Nike have ended their partnership. The unbelievably lucrative endorsement team-up has reportedly netted Woods ~US$500 million and helped make him the world’s top-earning athlete for 10 straight years from 2002 to 2011.

Why it’s happening: The split is not as shocking as it appears. Nike is looking to cut $2 billion in costs, and golf spending is an obvious area to draw back from, as the company stopped making equipment in 2016. It still makes golf gear, like shirts and shoes, though.

  • In recent appearances, Woods swapped out Nike cleats for FootJoy, which he said were better for him after sustaining injuries in a near career-ending car crash in 2021. 

What’s next: Even at his advanced age — 48 is mighty old for a pro athlete — and lack of recent success in tournaments, Woods is still the world’s most famous golfer and a valuable advertising asset. If he ever won another major, a new sponsor would reap the rewards.

  • When he won his last Masters back in 2019, the value of the on-camera exposure generated for Nike was estimated to be worth about $22,540,000.  

Big picture: Sponsorship money makes the sports world go 'round. Many athletes — now including U.S. college athletes — depend on sponsorship deals for their livelihood. And for brands, few things can attract more eyes to a product than sporting events.—QH