Tiger Woods is restructuring his contract with Nike to more than double its current value, paying him between $80 million and $90 million in the next five years, according to a published report.
Nike's decision to renegotiate the deal was accelerated by two of his TV commercials including one depicting Woods bouncing a golf ball off a club head, Golf World magazine reported in its Aug. 27 editions.
Woods' original five-year contract with Beaverton, Ore.-based Nike, signed in 1996, was for $40 million. Since signing that eye-popping deal, Woods won the 1997 Masters and this year's PGA Championship, reached the world No. 1 ranking and raised public consciousness about the sport of golf.
Woods also has a contract with Titleist to play its clubs and balls, and Titleist officials felt the TV spots created the impression that Woods was endorsing Nike's golf ball.
Titleist sued Nike on June 25 in U.S. District Court in Boston, alleging the ads violate Woods' exclusive contract to endorse Titleist balls and clubs.
Golf World also quoted unidentified sources at Titleist as saying that the Fairhaven, Mass.-based company will cut its financial obligation to Woods in half, to $2 million a year, and will no longer have its name on his golf bag.
Mark Steinberg, who handles Woods' affairs for International Management Group, told the magazine that the conflict between Nike and Titleist over the ads was the impetus for both deals to be restructured.
"There would have been renewal talks in the next eight to 12 months anyway, but this way there are no lawsuits and no damage to Tiger Woods, Nike or Titleist," Steinberg told Golf World.
The magazine quoted the Titleist sources as saying the company long felt it wasn't getting enough exposure for the money it was paying Woods because his hat and shirt contain either the Nike swoosh or the logo of his clothing line.
Golf World also reported that American Express or Rolex are likely contenders to replace Titleist as the name on Woods' golf bag.
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