I hear golfing superstar Tiger Woods is having some problems with ladies lately. At last count, ten women of varying degrees of virtue and morals have publicly claimed that Woods has broken his marriage vows with them. There are text messages. There are voicemails. His wife reportedly attacked Tiger with a golf club. It's going to be a rough Christmas this year at the Woods' home. But for now, Tiger can wipe his tears away with piles of money from his lucrative endorsement deals. So far, only Pepsico has dropped Tiger, and they say it has nothing to do with the scandal... yeah, right. Of course, around here we're more interested in video games -- Specifically, Tiger Woods PGA Tour series of golf games from Electronic Arts. How long will EA keep Tiger?
EA issued a statement last week saying:
"Our strong relationship with Tiger for more than a decade remains unchanged. We respect Tiger's privacy, we wish him a fast recovery and we look forward to seeing him back on the golf course."
But that was before the most recent infidelity accusations were leveled at the golfer. Although EA still stands by their statement, some think Electronic Arts will soon drop Tiger from the payroll. Here's how Michael K. Ozanian, National Editor at Forbes, put it:
"Sponsors like Gillette and Electronic Arts are going to drop Tiger Woods regardless of what they are saying now. Near term, Tiger is done as a corporate pitchman."
As early as yesterday, EA re-affirmed its commitment to Tiger, and it is true that the very lucrative golf games that bear his names cease to exist without his likeness -- after all, can you even think of the name of a current golfer that comes close to the recognizability of "Tiger Woods?" I can't.
But I think EA will drop Tiger. I think, over the next month or so, as more detailed revelations come out about Woods, all of his sponsors are going to run from him like his clubs are made of plutonium, and EA won't want to be the only company endorsing the tainted "Tiger Woods" name.
My co-worker Patrick Klepek disagrees and thinks EA will stand by their man, but Patrick is dead-stinking wrong and I'm willing to make a wager to that effect. Any suggestions for what we should bet?