Gatorade drops Tiger Woods
AP Business Writer
NEW YORK (AP) – Add Gatorade to the list of endorsement deals that Tiger Woods has lost.
A representative for the drink, sold by PepsiCo Inc., confirmed late Friday that it had ended its relationship with the golfer, who made a lengthy public apology last week for his infidelities.
“We no longer see a role for Tiger in our marketing efforts and have ended our relationship,” a Gatorade spokeswoman said. “We wish him all the best.”
The spokeswoman said Gatorade would continue its relationship with the Tiger Woods Foundation.
She declined to say whether his contract was terminated early because of trouble with his public image.
Gatorade discontinued its Tiger Woods-brand drinks in November, a decision made before Woods’ marital problems became known.
At the time, Gatorade stuck by him as a sponsor, but it too relented on Friday, becoming the third major endorsement the golfer has lost. AT&T Inc. and Accenture dropped Woods in the weeks following the tabloid frenzy of cheating allegations.
“We have been in discussions with Gatorade, and while we are disappointed they have decided to not continue with Tiger in their marketing plans, we appreciate their continued involvement with Tiger through his foundation,” Woods’ agent, Mark Steinberg of IMG, said in an e-mail.
The companies that have stuck most closely by Woods, Nike Inc. and Electronic Arts Inc. – which have invested specifically in his athleticism – reiterated their support last week when the golfer made his public apology.
Others, such as Procter & Gamble Co.’s Gillette and Swiss watch maker Tag Heuer, de-emphasized him in their marketing.
The CEO of Procter & Gamble said earlier this week that he doesn’t know whether Woods will ever appear in another Gillette commercial, saying the company did not need the “distraction” of using him in its advertising.
Gatorade owner PepsiCo, the world’s second-biggest soda maker, also owns the Tropicana, Quaker and Frito-Lay brands. PepsiCo’s shares rose 11 cents to $62.58 in after-hours trading Friday after closing the regular session up 17 cents at $62.47.