Even as Tiger Woods' sponsors continue to run ads starring the scandal-plagued golfer in national newspapers, commentators are questioning whether corporate partners such as Nike, Gatorade, Gillette, and AT&T will stand by him as the list of alleged Woods' mistresses grows. Can Woods, who's acknowledged "transgressions," hang onto his rich package of endorsement deals—which reportedly supply 90 percent of his income? (Watch a report about Tiger Woods' sponsors sticking by him)
Yes — the risks of dropping Woods are too great: Tiger Woods' sponsors are functionally like "part of his family," says celebrity branding expert David Schwab, as quoted by Golf Digest. They have "long-term relationships" with Tiger, and realize that severing his endorsement deals will anger his fans. "That's why brands typically weather the storm" when celebrity endorsers fall on hard times.
"Sponsors back Woods"
Their shareholders may not agree: Not long ago, it was the "wronged wife" who stood by her man, says Margareta Pagano at The Independent. Now, big-brand sponsors think that's their job, but their shareholders may well think there's a better way to sell shoes and razors than throwing money at spoiled celebrities.
"Does the brand maketh the sportsman?"
Rich male fans will stick by Woods, so his sponsors will too: Woods' appeal, says Peter Keating at ESPN, is strongest among upscale men, a demographic segment that's not about to "turn their backs" on Woods over alleged adultery. And companies trying to market produces to this lucrative demographic know this all too well.
"Woods is in no danger of losing sponsors"
SEE THE WEEK'S LATEST ON TIGER WOODS:
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• Who is Rachel Uchitel? A timeline of the alleged mistress's life