Tiger Woods has experienced his first loss of sponsorship after more than two weeks of bad publicity.
Business consulting firm Accenture said in a statement Sunday that it will end its six year relationship with the world’s top golfer, which featured his presence in more than 23 countries.
“For the past six years, Accenture and Tiger Woods have had a very successful sponsorship arrangement and his achievements on the golf course have been a powerful metaphor for business success in Accenture’s advertising,” the company said on its Web site Sunday. “However, given the circumstances of the last two weeks, after careful consideration and analysis, the company has determined that he is no longer the right representative for its advertising.”
Accenture said it was immediately shifting to a new ad campaign, which will start early in 2010.
Until now, most of Woods other sponsors have stood by him, despite an seemingly non-stop stream of reports about his infidelity with more than a dozen women. Late Friday, Woods said he would be taking an indefinite leave from golf to focus on his family and repairing his marriage with Swedish model Elin Nordgren. One of his top sponsors, Gillette, quickly announced that it would be pulling back on its Tiger-related ads, though it stopped short of saying it was dropping Woods as an endorser.
Woods was cited for careless driving two weeks ago after driving his SUV into a tree outside his Orlando home. Reports of the accident led to speculation about the relationship between he and Nordegren, and since then tabloid reports have exposed more than a dozen women who claim to have been involved with him.
Woods has not spoken publicly, but had apologized online for “transgressions” and has acknowledged infidelity. He said in a statement that he was taking a break from golf to focus “on being a better husband, father, and person.”
EA Sports, Gatorade and Nike have said their relationship with Woods remains unchanged. Gatorade said it was discontinuing its Tiger-branded “Focus” drink, but the decision was made prior to the recent string of bad news.
Ads featuring Woods have been scarce in recent days, but it’s hard to know the reasons why, as he never had much of a presence on TV this time of year.
The loss of Accenture, however, suggests that Woods has lost his luster in at least one section of the corporate world. Is this an isolated case, or is this the first of many dominoes to fall?