Gatorade Drops Tiger Woods

Beverage Giant Had Earlier Discontinued Line of Branded Sports Drinks

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Seems Gatorade was less than impressed with Tiger Woods' public apology.

The sports-drink giant has dropped Mr. Woods, who in a televised news conference last week publicly apologized for his transgressions after details of his numerous marital infidelities surfaced following a one-car accident he was involved in on Thanksgiving night. The beverage brand is the third sponsor to walk away from the embattled golfer, who also said he was staying off the links.

Tiger Woods was Gatorade's first golf endorser.
Tiger Woods was Gatorade's first golf endorser. Credit: AP
"We no longer see a role for Tiger in our marketing efforts and have ended our relationship," said a Gatorade spokeswoman. "We wish him all the best."

Gatorade first brought on Mr. Woods in 2007. He was the beverage brand's first golf endorser, and the deal was reportedly worth $100 million over five years. "Gatorade has been part of my game plan for years, whether I'm training or competing, so this is an ideal match," Mr. Woods said at the time.

Late last year, Gatorade decided to discontinue the Tiger Focus line of beverages, a decision it said was made before the scandal erupted in December. The company said at the time that it had ditched the line to make room for "our planned series of innovative products in 2010."

The Tiger line had not been performing well, with volume down 34% in the first 10 months of 2009, according to Beverage Digest figures.

The Gatorade spokeswoman said the brand's partnership with the Tiger Woods Foundation will continue.

Accenture and AT&T have also dropped Mr. Woods. With Gatorade now out of the picture, Procter & Gamble's Gillette brand is one of a handful of major corporate sponsors still standing by their man, even though the brand has scaled back on advertising that utilized Mr. Woods. On his personal website, tigerwoods.com, Mr. Woods lists his official sponsors as Nike, EA Sports, Gillette Champions, Tag Heuer, Golf Digest, NetJets, Upper Deck and TLC Laser Eye Centers.

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