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Quick Study: Nike Was Smart to Continue Endorsing Tiger Woods

• November 15, 2013 • 12:00 PM

Tiger Woods plays from the rough during the third round at the Emirates Australian Open in 2011. (PHOTO: <a href=

Keeping an eye on the (very profitable) ball.

Despite his inconsistent athletic achievements and scandal-shredded reputation, Tiger Woods scored a new endorsement contract with Nike this summer. Recent research suggests that’s a smart move for the sneaker maker.

According to Carnegie Mellon scholars writing in the journal Marketing Science, Nike paid Woods $200 million from 2000 to 2010 to endorse their golf-related products. Over that period, the researchers found, Nike sold nearly 10 million more golf balls in the U.S. than it otherwise would have, recouping 57 percent of Woods’s fee in domestic golf ball sales alone.

While the fallout from his off-course antics “generated relative loss in terms of revenue, profit and sales” over the six months following the revelations, the researchers conclude the company would have lost even more had it ended its relationship with the golfer, adding that “even in the midst of the scandal, Nike was actually better off with Tiger Woods than without.” Woods may not always hit the green, but he sure rakes it in.

Tom Jacobs
Staff writer Tom Jacobs is a veteran journalist with more than 20 years experience at daily newspapers. He has served as a staff writer for The Los Angeles Daily News and the Santa Barbara News-Press. His work has also appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and Ventura County Star.

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